Top Boy (2011– )
2 user

Episode #1.4 

Dushane is shocked that Sully still has the gun which killed three people but he refuses to go along with Raikes' plan to sell him out as a liability. Overhearing Vincent,Heather's ... See full summary »


Yann Demange


Ronan Bennett (creator), Ronan Bennett


Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Ashley Walters ... Dushane
Kane Robinson ... Sully
Malcolm Kamulete Malcolm Kamulete ... Ra'Nell
Giacomo Mancini ... Gem
Shone Romulus Shone Romulus ... Dris
Letitia Wright ... Chantelle
Sharon Duncan-Brewster ... Lisa
Kierston Wareing ... Heather
George Wood George Wood ... Andre
Nicholas Pinnock ... Leon
Geoff Bell ... Bobby Raikes
Olivia Musangi Olivia Musangi ... Precious
Elarica Johnson ... Sophie (as Elarica Gallacher)
Juliet Oldfield ... Camilla
Xavien Russell Xavien Russell ... Michael


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Dushane is shocked that Sully still has the gun which killed three people but he refuses to go along with Raikes' plan to sell him out as a liability. Overhearing Vincent,Heather's Vietnamese buyer,refusing to give her the price she wants for her weed,Ra'Nell persuades Dushane to pay the required rate and shows him a sample of its quality. Heather goes to hospital and gives birth,admitting to Lisa how she involved Ra'Nell in her scheme. Lisa rings Leon,who tries to prevent Sully from stealing the marijuana from Ra'Nell but in the fight that follows Sully shoots and kills Leon.Dushane visits Raikes on the pretext of giving Sully up but shoots him and makes it look like suicide. He gives Ra'Nell the money for the weed,which he passes on to Heather and,as Ra'Nell,Gem and Gem's girlfriend Chantelle go into business with Vincent,Dushane,having got Raikes out of the way,is now the kingpin of the estate's drug-peddling industry, the Top Boy. Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Thriller

User Reviews

Season 1: Falls way short of the "UK's The Wire" hype, but still a solid if obvious drama
12 May 2012 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

I watch this four part series mainly because several critics had been writing about it while dropping the name of one of my favourite shows – HBO's The Wire. Could this be the UK's answer to that show they pondered, suggesting that Top Boy shares qualities and quality with that show; this plus the case list was enough to make me check it out and unfortunately I found that critics with column inches to fill for a feature section are not at their most reliable. Top Boy is not The Wire, the theme of drugs and crime are shared but beyond that there is no connection and I have no idea why some critics suggested they should be mentioned in the same breath – and I shall certainly not be after this.

Top Boy's plot is a simple one which draws in quite a few characters and situations, some of which work, some of which do not and seem unnecessary for the most part. Dushane and Sully are two middle-management drug dealers looking to make money; when their stash gets stolen they have to get out from under the debt, which they do but it motivates them to think bigger – leading to bigger problems. Meanwhile, one of the kids on the estate they run, Ra'Nell, finds himself all alone when his mother is checked into a mental hospital. There are other things going on as well – the pregnant friend growing weed in her flat, Ra'Nell's friend and so on. Not all of it works but it does sort of create the sense of a total picture rather than just a specific story of crime – problem is though, that for all its talk of realism and grit, it really just is a drama/thriller in the traditional mould.

This is not to say that it is a bad drama though, because it is actually pretty effective and enjoyable for what it is, but it is not more than this. The plot device of a dealer owing money to his boss is not an uncommon one and it never feels particularly fresh but it does work as the heart of the show. The supporting threads tend not to pull around the core to make it stronger, but rather often distract from it. It works but there is not a lot of commentary or complexity in here and as a story it more or less goes where you expect it to; this is a crime drama from the UK, not an insight into life in the poorer parts of London. The director Demange may have spent years researching his characters to make them realistic but I'm not sure it was time well spent given that he drops these characters into a fairly standard plot – but the cast do seem to benefit from his direction. Walters continues to be a reliable actor and he leads the show well. Kano is a bit more rough and tumble but he holds the attention. Kamulete is great though and he deserved more than he got in terms of his part in the show – often he seemed sidelined and unimportant in a show that marketed itself around his character. Mancini is good and I liked Wright a lot for her cuteness but also her vulnerability. Wareing has been better elsewhere and does seem too wholesome to be doing what she is doing. Odd find of the season though is Benedict Wong in a tiny role – not sure why he bothered considering the much bigger projects he has been in and has coming up.

Anyway, Top Boy is not the complex and intelligent drama you heard it was and certainly the comparisons made are undeserved, however that is not to say that it is a bad show. It works as a crime drama with tension, a good pace and generally good performances; approached on this level it is perfectly fine, it is just the nonsense hype that brought an air of disappointment to the viewing of it.

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3 November 2011 (UK) See more »

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