Sunday Times



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.

 ?? PICTURE: SHOWMAX ?? Martin Freeman

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