Glossy Pulp
65%Overall Score

The body of Axel Collins, a DJ in Ibiza, washes up 20 years after he disappeared, prompting his sister Zoe to travel from England to the party island to uncover the truth. This glam, drug-fuelled Spanglish crime drama is the latest outing of Alex Pina, the creator of Money Heist.

It’s a fleet-footed suspense drama

Axel Collins moves from Manchester to Ibiza as a teen and then vanishes. Twenty years later, he’s corpse surfaces. His sister Zoe, who was all along under the impression her brother had abandoned the family, decides to play Nancy Drew. In Ibiza, Zoe gets enmeshed in a web of Axel’s acquaintances who aren’t what they seem.

The ten-part drama moves between past and present to lay out the circumstances of Axel’s death and the possible perpetrators. For instance, Axel’s body is recovered from land that belongs to the influential Calafat family, making the family suspect numero uno. Calafat patriarch Andreu orders a discreet probe since his daughter Kika and Axel had had a scene. Andreu finds reason to believe son Oriol could be the culprit. In a bid to prove himself innocent, Oriol inadvertently ends up making a powerful enemy, the equally influential Martinez family.

The show is a parade of drugs and skin

There’s an overkill of drug depiction and nudity in order to paint a picture of the decadent, debauched life on the island.

Axel is a compulsive hedonist. He uses drugs and music to cope with his mother’s loss as a child and his father’s iron-fisted parenting. He moves to Ibiza seeking freedom and fame, which he earns but decides to give it up for another pleasure. He thrives on the endless parties and narcotic highs and is clearly dissociated from reality until he realises that he’s beyond a point of no return.

Similarly, his thrill-seeking friends have a good time until the rude shock of Axel’s fateful birthday party, the day he went missing. Flashbacks explain the relationship between the friends and their various deadly secrets. Axel moved to Ibiza with Anna, David and Marcus. Anna and Marcus were married. Marcus, a DJ, continues to play music at clubs and sells cocaine on the side to help pay his home mortgage. Anna hosts sensual parties for the elite with her fiance, George. David took a spiritual turn after Axel’s disappearance. He travelled to India, where Axel was rumoured to be, and sought solace in spirituality when he didn’t find his friend.

Ibiza changes Zoe just as did Axel. She left her square life with her husband and daughter to chase her brother’s murderer and acted uncharacteristically in the process. When she finds the killer, she realises that that the resolution was not worth the effort.

WATCH OR NOT

White Lines doesn’t match Alex Pina’s global phenomenon Money Heist. In fact, it seems more a vehicle for showing the pleasures of island life, an element that’s almost perverse in these times of lockdown. However, the beautiful setting and people and the pacy story are precisely what makes the show binge-worthy pulp.

Creator: Alex Pina
Cast: Laura Haddock, Nuno Lopes, Marta Milans
Season: 1 (2020)