|James Purefoy as William Travers. Pics: (C) ITV|
ITV1, Monday 6 June to Friday 10 June, 9pm
The writer and creator of this drama, author Anthony Horowitz, says it's based on a simple question about barristers – 'How do people live with themselves when they get a horrible killer off on a teachnicality.'
ITV is devoting five consecutive nights to tell the story of Horowitz's psychological thriller, making it the TV event of the week. James Purefoy takes the lead as William Travers, a criminal barrister who is living in Ipswich and recovering from traumatic events that have shattered his belief in the legal system.
|James Purefoy and Dervla Kirwan (as Jane)|
DS Wenborn – aggressive, snarling
In tandem with their story, we meet DS Mark Wenborn – a show-stealing shift from actor Charlie Creed-Miles. Wenborn's aggressive, snarling, constantly eye-balling his poor partner, DC Nick Taylor (Obi Abili). As one colleague tells Wenborn, he's a bastard – but a very watchable one, not above calling an elderly witness a 'daft old bat' to her face. Wenborn's idea of treating his wife is to show her postmortem murder photos…
During the opening episode, we see William's comfy middle-class life, his kids, his boat, the nice home. But we learn that he longer takes murder cases, that he has trouble sleeping and is haunted by an incident at Ipswich train station when he spots a man on the opposite platform and, agitated, decides to follow him.
|Obi Abili (Taylor) and Charlie Creed-Miles (Wenborn)|
New murder case
The intrigue quotient is upped considerably during the second episode, when Travers is reluctantly pulled into representing another murder defendant. It's his old friend, Martin Newall, who is accused of killing a much younger office colleague in a hotel room. Though they haven't seen each other for years, Newall plays on their old friendship to secure Travers' services.
|Nathaniel Parker as Martin Newall|
With Wenborn investigating the murdered farm labourer near where Travers lives, and Travers involved in a new and very murky case, the drama is bulging with jeopardy and the characters vulnerable. Anthony Horowitz is a skilful storyteller and has come up with a potent mystery here.
The production is also well made, with terrific theme music from composer Magnus Fiennes.
Cast: William Travers James Purefoy, DS Mark Wenborn Charlie Creed-Miles, Jane Travers Dervla Kirwan, Martin Newal Nathaniel Parker, DS Nick Taylor Obi Abili, Natalie Chandra Sasha Behar, Maggie Wenborn Kirsty Bushell, Jeremy Forbes-Watson Nick Dunning, Philip Spaull Robert Whitelock, Terry Cooper Ian Burfield, Kate Travers Lisa Diveney, Caroline Newall Camilla Power, Robin Miller Adam Grant, ACC Stephen Packard David Schofield, Lucy Wilson Jayne Wisener, Alan Stewart Joe Cole, Susanna Susannah Doyle, John Slater Peter Ferdinando, Michael Bankes Andrew Tiernan, Pamela Stewart Amelia Lowdell, Gemma Lawrence Imogen Stubbs, PMO Adam Christie Hilton McRae