It is clear from the first scene of BY Ray that DI Rachita Ray (Parminder Nagra) deals with racism, casual or worse, in her daily life.
The Birmingham police officer has long hoped to transition from the City’s Response Unit to Serious Crime, but after a successful intervention with a knife-wielding assailant, she is promoted to Homicide.
Entrenched with a new team, she finds herself directing a newly classified “cultural specific homicide” involving the death of a British-Indian. Hesitant about being brought in “to tick a box,” her desire to see justice takes precedence and she leads a mixed team of detectives, some rusty, some diverse.
He also assists PS Tony Khatri (Maanuv Thiara) whose community ties help break down barriers, especially when it comes to investigating a family who run a prestigious car company. But when family members are arrested, Ray is accused of “doing her dirty work” and cheating on her own.
His superior DCI Kerry Henderson (Gemma Whelan) wants the case resolved quickly…. Isn’t our hero always at odds with his boss? Yes.
“Everyone wants this to be a textbook, but it’s not,” Ray insists.
Meanwhile, Ray is secretive about her personal life with fellow beefy DCI Martyn Hunter (Jamie Bamber) and is tired of keeping their relationship undercover. He could expect a long wait with the way Ray operates.
Parminder Nagra underestimates his role all the time, which is reassuring if a little boring. In the only episode available to preview, the plot didn’t offer quite the twists and turns one might expect from producer Jed Mercurio.
But writer/creator Maya Sondhi brings a sense of authenticity to a side of policing that has been visited by shows like Unforgottenbut not many more.
DI Ray airs Thursdays at 9.40pm on SBS.