After seven years in a high security prison, David Collins' conviction for the murder of his wife, Tara, is overturned due to a technicality, or as his lawyer puts it, an appalling miscarriage of justice. Able to start his life again and begin to repair relationships with his family and friends, David hopes to finally be allowed to mourn his wife's death. As a new investigation is launched, headed by DI Cathy Hudson, dark secrets of abuse, affairs and money troubles rise to the surface. From jealous sisters to disgruntled lovers, these secrets rip fragile relationships apart at the seams. But one question remains: is David Collins truly innocent?
Directed by Richard Clark, Innocent is a four-part whodunit that is half by-the-book, paint-by-numbers, nothing-you-haven't-seen-before, and half superbly and realised and expansive family drama. The show begins with David Collins (Lee Ingleby) being acquitted for the murder of his wife, having already spent seven years in jail for the crime. Viewers are never left in any doubt as to Collins's innocence, which does have the unfortunate side-effect of making the characters who are convinced of his guilt seem either naive or antagonistic-by-default. Collins's quest to uncover the truth and learn why people he trusted lied during his trial is never especially gripping, with no real urgency, no major twists, and a decided sense of "is that it?"
Where the show really succeeds, however, is in the depth of Matthew Arlidge and Chris Lang's depiction of the secondary characters whose lives are changed irreparably as the effects of Collins's release ripple outward; his brother Phil (Daniel Ryan), with whom he moves in; his sister-in-law Alice (Hermione Norris), whose testimony that he beat his wife was an important factor in his conviction; her amiable husband Rob (Adrian Rawlins); DCI William Beech (Nigel Lindsay), the original lead investigator, who may (or may not) have suppressed evidence; DI Cathy Hudson (Angel Coulby), the new lead investigator, who also happens to be Beech's girlfriend; Collins's children, Jack (Fionn O'Shea) and Rosie (Eloise Webb), who were adopted by Alice and Rob after the trial; Tom Wilson (Elliot Cowan), Collins's former best friend, whose failure to provide him an alibi led to his conviction; Melissa Wilson (Hannah Britland), Tom's wife, who suspects he knows more than he's letting on; and Louise Wilson (Christine Cole), Tom's ex-wife, who left him after she discovered his affair with Melissa. Each of these characters are given a fair amount of dialogue, screen time, and character development as the show lets the whodunit plot fade somewhat into the background, and it's here where the narrative is at its most enjoyable. It's not going to change your life, but it's worth a look.
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