True villains in this piece are scriptwriters
IN some shows you know who the victims and villains are right from the start. Just as you knew that Gwyneth Paltrow’s character wouldn’t survive the movie Se7en with her head intact.
In that case, it was probably her character’s incessant whining that gave it away. Who wouldn’t have wanted her dead?
But Love Lies Bleeding keeps viewers guessing about a tragic accident that sparks a bloody chain of events 30 years after the fact.
Actor turned crooner turned actor again Martin Kemp plays Mark Terry, a multimillionaire builder struggling to rebuild his marriage after the death of his baby son from sudden infant death syndrome.
One- time childhood friend Stuart Milburn ( played by Hugo Speer) comes back into Terry’s life after a long absence.
Milburn was sent away to live with relatives after a clandestine visit he and Terry made to their schoolteacher’s house one night resulted in the man’s death.
Rekindling their friendship, the pair go out for a drink when Terry learns his wife Zara ( Claire Goose), has been having an affair. He wakes up in another woman’s bed after a long, boozy night to discover Zara, who had been depressed, is dead. Milburn, who is now a detective, says Terry offered to pay him $ 100,000 to kill her.
A series of twists and turns unfolds as Terry attempts to piece together what happened that night and the next day, and exactly who he can trust. Things heat up when he is arrested and his solicitor suggests he sign over power of attorney to someone who can protect his $ 60 million fortune if he goes to jail.
Under the guiding hand of David Drury, whose television credits contain a long line of crime thrillers, Love Lies Bleeding is tightly directed, leading the viewer from one unlikely event to the next.
What it lacks in originality along the way it makes up for somewhat with an interesting twist in the tale, resulting in an unexpected exploration of the morality of the main characters.
Kemp is quite good but takes something of a back seat to the other characters as the story progresses.
Speer, whose other credits include an appearance as Detective Inspector Dan Jennings in Silent Witness in 2007 and the role of Sergeant George in the 2005 miniseries based on Charles Dickens’s novel Bleak House , is well cast if a bit wooden as Inspector Milburn.
It’s heartland Hallmark territory, but a cleverer script and a more likable cast might have elevated it above the average.
A bit wooden: Martin Kemp in Love Lies Bleeding