mon 04/12/2023

The Guilty, ITV | reviews, news & interviews

The Guilty, ITV

The Guilty, ITV

Another night, another cold case for your viewing pleasure

Tamsin Greig as DCI Mary Brand

Scientists may have found a cure for insomnia. It’s thinking up names for television detectives. Have you noticed how elephant-tranquilisingly dull they are? Alec Hardy and Ellie Miller. Len Harper. Denise Woods. Tony Gates, Steve Arnott and Kate Fleming. Sergeant Geoff Plank. DS Fiona Photofit. Oh go on then, couple of ringers in there, but the rest have lately been busting crime on a mainstream channel near you (see sidebar to ID them all).

Apparently they end up with these vapid non-names because the plausible ones are all taken by real coppers already. The TV companies are not allowed to use them because… actually why aren't they? Anyway, they check. ITV, which introduces a new crime drama as often as a chap in a red tailcoat announces arrivals at a society ball, must have a whole department working on it full time.

Meet DCI Maggie Brand. She is played by Tamsin Greig which is good news as unlike most TV actors Greig has mastered the rare knack of not looking like a member of Equity pretending to be a cop (see also Olivia Colman). DCI Brand is on the hunt for a child killer, again. That's because on a faceless housing development somewhere in suburbia the body of a little boy has been dug up under a tree, five years on from his disappearance in red wellies.

Whodunnit? In The Guilty, anyone could be guilty, even if it's only of neglect. Though everybody testified back then, the discovery of a body means they're all back under suspicion. A third of the way in, the suburban close is full of people looking a bit shifty. The nanny, the nanny’s sex-freak boyfriend, the neighbours who are Unhappily Married, the token old loner. And so on. The parents (pictured above right) are interpreted by Katherine Kelly, who is second wife to Darren Boyd, who is an actor, though you can't tell from his bedtime reading voice. You know when is then and when is now because 2008 is shiny and bright and everybody smiles and 2013 has had a washed-out colour-extraction filter slapped on it. A bit like life.

Meanwhile DCI Brand has a little boy of her own who is behaving a bit oddly, possibly because she’s so busy hunting child killers. Hark the clank of cops with thematically germane domestic issues. It’s all very competent, but this drama by Debbie O’Malley is essentially infanticidotainment. Watching it makes you feel slightly guilty. 

2008 is shiny and bright and everybody smiles and 2013 has had a washed-out colour-extraction filter slapped on it. A bit like life


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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Why is there no mention of the Director? Are they so insignificant nowadays? Ed Bazalgette is his name

If you read most TV reviews you'll find the directors rarely get a mention. TV is traditionally seen as a writers' medium, and film as a directors' medium. British cop dramas are shot fast on a tiny budget so - to generalise - they have less opportunity to stamp a signature. Other than the filters on the lens there wasn't much about The Guilty the directing is unintrusive.

The Guilty, ITV Does anyone know who wrote the fantastic piano music? There were no acknowledgements for the music.

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