As viewers we know this is the fifth episode of six, and so the story cannot be wrapped up this week.
DI Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker) doesn’t have this benefit; she and DS Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar) are tied down to police procedure and following the clues as they appear. Are they any closer to the truth about Jimmy Sullivan’s death?
Appear they do and they are now substantial. Following a call from Eric Slater’s son, the police choose to interrupt Eric’s 45th anniversary bash with the news he is suspected of burying a body at the end of the garden. In the midst of his denials he is ignored and in come sniffer dogs and dozens of police with nothing to do except guard a now empty house.
Tom Courtenay plays Eric with a superior distance from events making him seem all the more chilling. This does give Stuart and Khan plenty of time to sit and chat while we get to watch how the other four suspects lives are progressing. Meanwhile, Eric makes a pitiful proclamation: “It’s just not true.”
This is the moment when he shows the most emotion we have seen. Is the truth circling a guilty man? Is this the truth we seek, denied?
Elsewhere, the life of Father Greaves (Bernard Hill) is now in pieces. He is left fully-exposed before his family as they learn of his life of crime, illegitimate family and the contempt with which he has treated them.
Stolen jewellery is just one example of many and this is a well-crafted story of a man making a mistake many years ago and the consequences taking him on a path of continued errors he can never escape from. On the plus side it seems he didn’t kill Jimmy Sullivan.
Trevor Eve’s entrepreneur, Sir Philip Cross, should be pleased when the press announces the arrest of Eric Slater (the inevitable body has, indeed, appeared in his garden). He would celebrate but there’s the matter of the hitman he has hired to ‘sort out’ one of the Fennicks, the gangland family he once worked for in the 1970s. He fails to do this and the reactions of his two offspring are delightfully contrasting.
Again it feels as though the Cross family deserved a series of their own.
What is true is the central pairing of Walker and Bhaskar are under-explored, and yet ready for a follow-on series. It’s a ready-made formula now; two diligent police, doing a solid job with no frills, in massive contrast to many other police shows. Subtle yet compelling.
The fourth suspect, Liz Wilton (Ruth Sheen) does feel like she is in a different show, one exploring the harsh reality of gangs in London and homelessness. We know a lot of what drives her, but not everything. Her apparent end grabs us – why has she jumped? What more is there she didn’t want to face? Is she dead?
Before we can wrestle with this, our attention switches back to Eric Slater, who gets to end the show with the news we want to hear:
“DCI Stuart. I need to tell her I didn’t kill them. But I know who did.”
Aired at 9pm on Thursday 5 November 2015 on ITV.
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