As life on Mars expands, and the Star Cops come together once more, they face a race against the clock to stop a deadly conspiracy…

Star Cops has been a series, like many with Big Finish, that goes from strength to strength with each set. Starting with the grand reintroduction, then to the climactic battle, then to exploring a new environment, all whilst keeping the healthy balance between the sci-fi setting and police procedural style of the stories. But for this set, with the full crew back and ready to take on any task that comes their way, we are thrown deep into an interwoven series of events that would make most TV series blush. Will it make a successful landing, or will it crash on re-entry?

Bodies of Evidence by Andrew Smith

Pryia and Paul have arrived on Mars. But they have been there for a long, long time. The same time as Nathan, Colin and Pal. Their trip to Mars is not just for setting up a base of operations. It’s a bigger story involving a crashed ship, discovered bodies, and a massive conspiracy that will rock the team to their core…

Big Finish - Star Cops: Mars 2 - David Calder, Linda Newton, and Trevor Cooper
Star Cops: Mars 2 – David Calder, Linda Newton, and Trevor Cooper (c) Big Finish

Part prologue, part side-quel, part its own thing, Smith’s opener gives us a lot to digest in sixty minutes. Smith showcases his understanding of the genre by balancing every necessary plot thread. Not only that, he provides alternate angles and revelations to scenes from the previous set, showcasing the interconnected nature of this mini-series. Helping that are the exceptional cast. David Calder, Trevor Cooper and Linda Newton return to their established roles from the first set. Philip Olivier and Rahkee Thakrar also return and all are a delight to hear. Additionally the supporting cast of Mark Elstob, Sarah Borges, Issy Van Randwyck, Mark Oosterveen and Oliver Dimsdale flesh out the story with each adding to the grand mystery being unveiled…

Human Kind by Helen Goldwyn

Events are escalating on Mars as the Star Cops look further into the conspiracy patchwork they find themselves within. A terrified medic knows a deadly secret, but wants protection before revealing the goods. A meeting is held of all the colony’s inhabitants to determine if the Star Cops are to remain. Amongst all that, the glorified entrepreneur responsible for setting up the Mars Project has arrived, and he is not a fan of the Star Cops. Things could not be worse for the team. Until one of them is taken…

Big Finish - Star Cops: Mars 2 - Philip Oliver
Star Cops: Mars 2 – Philip Oliver (c) Big Finish

Director Helen Goldwyn takes the quill for this middle episode and gives us another perfectly balanced episode, handling multiple plot threads whilst keeping the pace up and the listener enthralled. Whilst the general plot may be cliched for a set like this, Goldwyn manages to make sure they are kept fresh and tense as the plot progresses. All of the regular and guest cast return for this episode alongside new addition Jessica Regan. This cast help the story advance, especially with Dimsdale’s new role as a noted colonist helping the Star Cops to discover the truth behind these events, all of which are about to come to a head…

The Highest Ground by Andrew Smith

The truth is out and Mars is now under siege. Power is abused on the lawless red planet and all the Star Cops are within the line of fire. It’s a deadly race against time. But with no rules, can the Star Cops win?

Big Finish - Star Cops: Mars 2 - Rahkee Thakrar
Star Cops: Mars 2 – Rahkee Thakrar (c) Big Finish

Not much can really be said for Andrew Smith’s epic finale that brings together everything from not just this set, but the first Mars set too. It’s tense, thrilling and exceedingly well done. To say anything further would be to enter spoiler territory. Smith’s work is, and has been, exemplary for this range and we can only hope that Star Cops continues. The regulars and main guests of Elstob, Van Randwyck and Dimsdale in particular give their all for this finale and make it a pure delight to listen to as the truth is unveiled…

The Sound Of Space

Alongside the voices provided by the cast, the music and sound work of Howard Carter and Steve Foxon must also be praised for keeping the listener sucked into the atmosphere (or lack thereof, it is Mars after all) of each episode. Despite the limitations of the grounded setting it feels very much like an environment inhabited by humans, instead of a far off and alien world created for Doctor Who. A futuristic and fantastical score is also a delight to hear across the set.

Overview

From writing to performances, sound design, music, and direction, this set joins the range as whole in the category of an absolute joy to listen to and experience. Even for those who have not seen the original series, it is an engaging and fantastic series, perfectly accessible to newcomers. The only thing we can hope for now, is that this is not the end of adventures for Commander Spring and the Star Cops. If it is, then at least it had a fantastic run. If not, then we hold our breath for the next space faring adventure…

Star Cops: Mars: Volume 2 is available to purchase now on collectors edition CD and digital download from the Big Finish Website and other stockists.

Big Finish - Star Cops: Mars 2 (Cover)
Big Finish – Star Cops: Mars 2 (Cover)

Synopsis

It’s the near future, and mankind has expanded its presence in space. Maintaining law and order beyond Earth is the responsibility of the International Space Police Force, known colloquially as the Star Cops. Their leader is Commander Nathan Spring.

There are no Star Cops on Mars, and Nathan Spring intends to put that right. He travels to the red planet hoping to rally the colonists’ support for setting up an ISPF office, but he faces resistance from those who feel Mars has no need of police.

Soon, though, Nathan and his officers are involved in incidents of theft, violence and murder. They may get the chance to prove they’re needed, if they can get through their investigations alive.

2.4 Bodies of Evidence by Andrew Smith

On the moon, shortly before Nathan, Kenzy and Devis leave for Mars, disaster strikes when the shuttle Ganymede crash lands on the lunar surface.

The tragedy becomes something more sinister when Priya finds dismembered bodies hidden in the shuttle. But attempts to investigate are obstructed by higher authorities on Earth.

Before Nathan departs for Mars, he instructs Priya and Paul to investigate the crash, in defiance of his superiors’ orders. If they don’t find the evidence they need, it could be the end of all their careers.

2.5 Human Kind by Helen Goldwyn

A scared medic, on the run from her colony, seeks the help of the Star Cops. She offers information about a crime, but she demands legal immunity, and guarantees for her safety before she’ll talk.

A visitor from Earth seems particularly determined to stop the Star Cops gaining a foothold on Mars and calls a meeting of colony leaders in an attempt to end their efforts once and for all.

When one of his officers is kidnapped, Nathan begins to wonder who he can trust on this planet.

2.6 The Highest Ground by Andrew Smith

The conspiracy is revealed, and its leader is desperate to silence the Star Cops.

An armed squad closes in on Nathan, his officers and their Martian allies, leading to a siege in the shadow of Olympus Mons, the highest mountain in the solar system. And a violent confrontation on its slopes.

It’s time for some to decide where their loyalties truly lie before it’s too late…

Cast

  • David Calder (Nathan Spring / Box)
  • Trevor Cooper (Colin Devis)
  • Linda Newton (Pal Kenzy)
  • Philip Olivier (Paul Bailey)
  • Rakhee Thakrar (Priya Basu)
  • Sarah Borges (Professor Amy Bell)
  • Oliver Dimsdale (Jude Molina / Jean Arnaud)
  • Mark Elstob (Byron Lachman)
  • Mark Oosterveen (Lewis Reynolds)
  • Jessica Regan (Neve O’Connell)
  • Issy Van Randwyck (Barbara Holmberg)

Credits

  • Written by Helen Goldwyn and Andrew Smith
  • Senior Producer: David Richardson
  • Cover Art by Simon Holub
  • Director: Helen Goldwyn
  • Executive Producers: Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs
  • Music: Howard Carter
  • Producer: Emma Haigh
  • Script Editors: Andrew Smith and Guy Adams
  • Sound Design: Steve Foxon
  • Based on the format created by Chris Boucher

Star Cops: Mars 2 is available to purchase now from the Big Finish website as a collector’s edition box set, priced at £24.99, or as a download for £19.99.

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Jack Ryan
Jack (real name John, calls himself Jack as a pun on Tom Clancy’s character) is a reviewer from Wexford, Ireland. An avid fan of sci-fi from five years old, with an unhealthy addiction to Doctor Who for the past thirteen years. His speciality for review is Big Finish audios, which he has had an even greater addiction to for the last six years. Other claims to fame include a Bachelor of Science in Applied Computing, a co-organiser for the WexWorlds Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror, and Gaming Festival, regular tweetalongs and riffings of Who every Thursday evening, and once nearly sent Matthew Waterhouse to hospital with a concussion.

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