The Wrong Mans 2×01-2×02: The Boys Are Back


Hulu can be a wonderful place, especially since they have a tendency to showcase British television shows that would otherwise not be accessible to us Americans (legally, anyway). The Wrong Mans is one of those British shows. And while it is essentially a comedy, its story lines are quite complex and would normally belong in a drama. But the show, written by the two lead actors (Matthew Baynton and James Corden) blends both drama and comedy and has done that so well that it has made it to a second series.

The adventures of Samuel Pinkett (Matthew Baynton) and Philip Bourne (James Corden) continue in this four episode second series. After escaping the blast of a bomb attached to their car, Phil and Sam are put into witness protection in sunny, dry Texas and are believed to be dead by their families and friends. This is all done for their safety since it is believed that the Russians from the previous series are still after them. Phil has adjusted seemingly well to this new life (well of course he has because he’s James Corden), but Sam desperately wants to get back to England. Phil takes some convincing until he finds out that his mom (who he’s been checking up on via a payphone) has been put into a hospital. And thus begins their inevitably perilous journey back to England.



The best stories are usually about ordinary people thrown into extraordinary situations. Well, in this case, the situations are incredibly ridiculous. Some could say that it gets a bit over the top at times, but I think it all balances out because of the two main characters and how they react to these situations. James Corden and Matthew Baynton make great writing and acting partners. They’ve worked together before but this is the most substantial project they have collaborated on. James Corden is the sillier of the two, which is not a big surprise if you’re familiar with him and his work (and if not you should be because he’s pretty great). It’s not a huge character stretch for Corden, but it shows that he’s just very good at playing these types of characters (silly, a little stupid, but overall not a bad guy).

Matthew Baynton is probably more of the break out star of the show, especially since he’s not as well known as Corden. While his character, Sam, does have his silly moments, he is definitely the more grounded and sensible of the two. But luckily that doesn’t make him a boring character, just the more relatable one. Even though he’s not always on the same page as Phil, it makes sense for him and Phil to be friends (this is shown in the conversations they have together that don’t have to do with their unbelievable circumstances). Their chemistry is a big part of what keeps the show going, especially since it distracts from just how inconceivable their situation gets.



Continuing with their adventures, they end up in jail thanks to some dodgy passports and the fact that the person who supplied them with the passports (Carlos Espinoza, the very original choice of name for a leader of a drug cartel) used them as drug mules. In order to get out of jail and eventually back home, Sam and Phil must befriend another inmate who owes Espinoza a lot of money and find out where that money is and how to get to it. See, I wasn’t lying about the increasing ridiculousness of their situation. And to top that off, the second episode ends with them being rescued by two motorcyclists who get them on an airplane. They quickly find out that their rescue was not carried out by Espinoza. So of course the likely option is that they were rescued by accident.

These first two episodes are plotted out well, and for being a half our each they definitely feel longer (not in a bad way but in a “I wish they were longer” way). My one concern is that this series is only four episodes long, where as series one was six episodes (which was the perfect length). First of all, I want the show to keep going so four episodes seems way too short (darn the Brits and their super short comedies). Second, I have no idea how they’re going to wrap all of this up in just two more 30 minute episodes. It’s possible that there could be another cliffhanger, but that seems unlikely since these episodes take place close to Christmas. I don’t suspect the conclusion to be bad or disappointing, just rushed. But here’s to hoping that I am wrong.

Sarah Lord

is a college student in New York City. Her extreme knowledge of British comedians and TV shows almost surpasses her general love for film. When she’s not sitting in her apartment/nerd cave reviewing movies and TV shows, she sometimes makes time for long walks in the moonlight. Check her out on YouTube, Twitter and Tumblr as TheSplord.

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