The Victim

If The Victim were a US production it would probably wind up as a vigilante thriller with a Hollywood star as an aggrieved parent out for justice.

But this BBC production is set in Edinburgh and consciously greys the lines between right and wrong, perpetrator and victim.

Kelly Macdonald stars as nurse Anna Dean, whose son was murdered at the age of 9, fourteen years before the action of this 4 part series. Still deeply affected by such trauma, she never felt justice was served when his teen killer pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 7 years in juvenile prison.

When the action begins bus driver Craig Myers (James Harkness) is assaulted after a “Justice for Liam” campaign online pinpoints him as the killer now living in Port Glasgow with a new identity.

But DI Stephen Grover (John Hannah), who is yet to prove if Myers was the man released 7 years earlier, traces online evidence back to Anna’s home. Suddenly a mother enduring the loss of her child, is now complicit in an apparent revenge-attack.

Anna isn’t about to shirk from a fight, nor hide from media attention.

“I don’t ever want people to forget,” she insists.

The script by Rob Williams (The Man in the High Castle, Killing Eve, Chasing Shadows) juxtaposes the crime plot with the courtcase surrounding it, in flashback / forward scenes.

Also featuring are Karla Crome as Craig’s concerned wife Rebecca Myers, Joanne Thompson as DS Lisa Harvey and Isis Hainsworth as Anna’s daughter Louise, who is studying law and fights back against police enquiries.

Director Niall MacCormick, who clearly loves a hand-held camera, divides our sympathies between mother, assault victim and police. But be warned, the colloquial accents are thick on the ground.

Kelly Macdonald and John Hannah are the stand-outs here in a case where there are few winners.

The Victim airs 8:30pm Mondays on BBC First.

4 Comments:

  1. Quite intrusive handheld camera work, without stabilisation, that tilted panned, drifted and shook for no real reason; was nauseous and I had to stop watching a couple of times.

    Apart from that it was ok, if a bit obvious in parts.

  2. Parts of The Victim are slow burning especially in the beginning, and I found it hard to empathise completely with the principle characters plight though the relentless Anna Dean is well played by Kelly Macdonald as was the cryptic Craig played by James Harkness. If you are able to stay with the show past the first two episodes it’s highly recommended.

  3. Love your opening sentence of this review. I’ve always liked that the UK can bring us these understated yet brilliant types of series that the US couldn’t ever do, it’s just not in their reputar. Happy Valley is the most recent one that comes to mind and I really hope they end up doing a third series.

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