Joe and Trevor are brothers and builders, trying to build stable lives along with their stable structures.
Grafters: The Complete Second SeasonDistributor: Koch
Cast: Robson Green, Stephen Tompkinson, Darren Morfitt, Lesley Vickerage, David Westhead
Network: Independent Television
First date: 1998
Grafters second season offers undeniable proof that with its solid main characters, even though circumstances have changed, the program’s high quality remains. This time, brothers Joe (Robson Green) and Trevor Purvis (Stephen Tompkinson) work on different projects, surrounded by entirely new people, yet they’re no less enjoyable to watch.
For Season 2, Trevor and Joe’s main project is a schoolhouse conversion, rather than the private residence featured in Season 1. Purvis and Purvis Master Builders must now involve more people and rely upon more than just their own strong hands, to realize their dreams.
For those new to the series, a “grafter” is British slang for a worker. In the Purvis brothers’ case, this work involves refurbishing houses and other structures. Joe is the most skilled grafter of the two, but he doesn’t have the emotional stability to run a business on his own. Although he hates to admit it, he needs his brother Trevor to survive.
And these brothers have an unusual bond. Joe is the brains of the organization, in addition to being the most handy. Furthermore, he’s highly ambitious, although these ambitions oftentimes get him into strangling messes.
Trevor, on the other hand, is timid and lacks Joe’s unstoppable confidence. Yet Trevor also has heart and integrity, two characteristics sorely missing from Joe’s personality profile. At one point during this second season, Joe tells Trevor he’s the only person in the world he can trust. And during their many trials and tribulations, where even the siblings’ uncle takes advantage of them, it’s hard to disagree with Joe’s blunt statement.
You may recall how in Season 1 the Purvis brothers had a few run-ins with a rival handyman group. But for Season 2, they encounter a true enemy. Nick Costello, played by David Westhead, is a contractor who loves competing with -- and badly beating -- Purvis and Purvis Master Builders at their own game. So much so, in fact, when he tries to demolish Joe’s camper, he unknowingly nearly kills Trevor, who is still inside when he lifts the brakes and pushes it down a hill. Giving the Purvis brothers an enemy may be a smart plot device, but the Costello character is a little too over the top at times. In fact, he comes off like a cartoon villain.
During this second season, Trevor finally gets divorced from his wife. And while he is hurt when he learns that his ex-wife has moved far away, taking his beloved son with her, he also meets a new love. But even this joyous life change is problematic, as his new bride-to-be turns out to be Nick Costello’s younger sister.
Joe also gets involved with a new love interest. But his new belle is also an architect working on the schoolhouse project. Furthermore, she has a young son and an estranged husband who doesn’t want to be out of her life just yet. Thus, both Joe and Trevor are forced to mix work with pleasure, which can’t help but cause problems in both arenas.
Joe and Trevor are imperfect people, with unpredictable lives. They often make bad choices and lack a few essential character traits for success. Yet it’s impossible not to pull for them. They aren’t TV hunks, and everything doesn’t always turn out right at the end of each episode. Instead, their lives are usually messy, just like yours and mine.
Joe and Trevor love each other as only brothers know how to love, with plenty of jealously, fights, and misunderstandings. Green and Tompkinson are so good together, they could be playing brothers in almost any other situation and I’d watch them with the same interest. I can picture them as two cops together on the police force, or a pair a fireman fighting the flames side by side. They just happen to be builders here, where trying to build stable lives – and not just physical structures – is the ultimate goal.