The Guilty: “Consistently interesting and consistently uneven!”
© ITV/Hartswood Films
Night turns to day, in one of a beautiful time-lapse, whilst DCI Brand questions here suspect, Tom Rose, the “creepy, Catholic handyman” as one officer describes him, and the Reid family fall to pieces and her own life seems to be going through its own turmoil as it’s revealed she hasn’t returned home since her trip to Germany.
It’s an introduction that brings together the three key storylines that have run through The Guilty.
Rose’s story is convincing – he cared for Callum whilst he was kidnapping and killing him – and he seems to know enough about the death, but could he possibly have done it? However, the affair between Daniel Reid and his mistress is taking away from her powers of deduction, let along the issues with her own family.
Facts and ideas are drip-fed from conversations with suspects, teasing the viewer as the scene cuts and, inadvertently, robbing the story of its much-needed tension, intermingled with revelations of childhood autism rocking the Brand family and suggestions of abusive children as a flashback (out of nowhere) shows one child trying to drown another in the bath!
With Rose released, he doesn’t help himself by visiting the Reid’s home whilst Claire Reid is home. The whole affair is exacerbated by the press getting hold of the details and things…
Rose kills himself, closing the case, whilst Brand has her own suspicions and goes on the hunt, based on some overlooked information,
With the investigation revealing more details, red herrings and plot points, the big reveal comes as a bit of a surprise, though seems tacked on – it’s only through flashbacks in this episode that it makes sense and, even then, it’s more suggestion than actuality. Then, we lead to something much darker… and the Reid family finally crumble.
If there’s one criticism to make about The Guilty, it’s that it was consistently interesting and consistently uneven. Three storylines that seemed to be vying to be the most important, with the too much family and not enough crime drama.
Well shot, if somewhat laboured, there’s only so much forlorn looks, slow motion and time-lapse that the viewer can take before it becomes tedious. The flashbacks should have helped the structure of the story but ended up feeling disjointed and thrown in so as to fill time, as opposed to further the story.
The Guilty had one saving grace; the performances of Tamsin Greig and cast. For those who only know Greig and Darren Boyd from comedy, it’s refreshing to see that they are performers of depth and gravity. It’s just a real shame that the rest of the series didn’t match the performances.