True vil­lains in this piece are scriptwrit­ers

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv - Love Lies Bleed­ing 9pm, Hall­mark

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.

Lara Sin­clair

A bit wooden: Martin Kemp in Love Lies Bleed­ing

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