WHEN THE AWFUL TRUTH WILL OUT
This six-part crime drama is based on the true story of how police detective Steve Fulcher breached protocol and sacrificed his career to catch a serial killer in 2011, following his investigation into the disappearance of 22-year-old Sian O’Callaghan. It’s a refreshingly different take on the traditional tale of manly heroism it could easily have been.
Martin Freeman stars as Fulcher in a performance that’s initially difficult to take seriously but soon becomes grimly convincing. The script, by Jared Pope, focuses on the victims, in particular the women whose lives were horribly shattered by the revelations of Fulcher’s investigation.
Sian’s divorced mother, Elaine (Siobhan Finneran) quickly comes to realise that, at best, her daughter may have been kidnapped and at worst will never be seen alive again. Elaine’s down-the-road neighbour, Karen Edwards (Imelda Staunton) has searched for years for her missing drug-addicted daughter Becky and soon becomes intertwined with the seemingly unconnected events of Sian’s disappearance and the media frenzy that surrounds it.
Fulcher is determined to ensure justice for Sian and this leads him down a path that places him increasingly in conflict with his bosses. This ultimately forces him to make a significant personal sacrifice as he refuses to allow bureaucratic protocol to stand in the way of the justice the community demands.
It’s all very British in the grim mix of its nasty, depressing atmosphere and the terrifying actions of some of the characters, as well as in the consequences of these actions on a disparate group of ordinary people whose lives are shattered irrevocably by the facts that slowly come to light. A Confession is sad and often ruthless in its measured excavation of the case and its aftermath but it’s also buoyed by a back story that fleshes out the characters of the victims and their relationships with their families. This serves as material for the broader, more difficult questions regarding the meaning and value of the justice afforded by the system to those affected by the crimes.
The series eschews cheap thrills and predictable plotting in favour of a far more interesting approach focusing on the small yet excellently drawn group of characters who are overwhelmed by horrific events.
’A Confession’ is available to binge on Showmax now.