wed 22/05/2019

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: The Murder in Angel Lane, ITV | reviews, news & interviews

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: The Murder in Angel Lane, ITV

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: The Murder in Angel Lane, ITV

Could ITV be setting up a series with its returning 19th-century detective?

Paddy Considine returns as the softly-spoken detective, Mr Whicher

The disgraced ex-cop turned private investigator has become such a trope of contemporary noir that the fate of the first great modern detective, following the events of his first televised outing, is not particularly surprising. The Murder in Angel Lane has Paddy Considine reprise his 2011 role as the titular detective, but this time the mystery he is charged with solving has sprung entirely from the pen of Appropriate Adult’s Neil McKay rather than being inspired by true-life events.

Forced out of the police on mental health grounds by the events of his last televised adventure, former Detective Inspector Jack Whicher now lives with his niece and doesn’t seem to do much, while not exhibiting any signs of money trouble. One night in a seedy London bar, he thwarts the attempted robbery of a well-to-do country gentlewoman. Susan Spencer (Olivia Colman, pictured below right, with Considine) is trying to track down her missing 16-year-old niece, Mary. When the young woman is found murdered in an alleyway, missing a family heirloom and having recently given birth to a child, Whicher can’t help but get caught up in the case - working both alongside and against his former colleagues of the Metropolitan Police.

Paddy Considine and Olivia Colman in The Suspicions of Mr WhicherFor a good hour of this feature-length drama, the investigation proceeds at a gentle pace. Wilcher as played by Considine is soft-spoken and clever, coming to conclusions long before his former colleagues and willing to share despite their hostility. Mary’s missing child is located within the first five minutes, at the Church-run home for fallen women where she was last seen. The baby’s 19-year-old father, with a history of violent behaviour, is all but set up as the murderer and we are introduced to the usual range of predictable, secret-harbouring characters - a role that Colman’s face seems determined to typecast her in despite herself. This business-as-usual fare comes to a halt the first time Whicher’s easy-going demeanor cracks in a short, effective outburst while questioning a suspect. After that point the convoluted, incestuous secret histories of two families begin to unravel, crosses are doubled and at least one character you didn’t suspect emerges at the heart of a conspiracy going back nearly 20 years.

From the back streets of 19th-century London to sumptuous country manors, via a spot of gravedigging and an ominous psychiatric institution, The Murder in Angel Lane is perfectly set and skillfully directed. Considine’s broody detective is easy enough to care about that later scenes take on a truly shocking quality, and there’s a quiet chemistry between him and Colman that hints at something worth exploring in future shows.

No, there’s no official signs of Mr Whicher’s Suspicions becoming a franchise - but I’d be very surprised if it hadn’t crossed the mind of whoever’s in charge of commissioning ITV’s drama programming. With so many period dramas and crime dramas taking up primetime slots, the combination would be perfect. Of course whether this level of quality and casting can be sustained on a weekly basis is questionable, but I doubt we’ve seen the last of Mr Whicher yet.

This business-as-usual fare comes to a halt the first time Whicher’s easy-going demeanor cracks

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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