A solicitor must represent a privileged bratty woman on trial for murder in a new UK drama.

A small part of me wonders if Showtrial has the wrong title.

Three episodes into a five episode series and nobody has yet stepped inside a courtroom.

Thankfully none of this detracts from the drama unfolding in a new UK drama by writer Ben Richards (Outcasts).

The story surrounds the death of Hannah, a young woman found dead after a student ball in Bristol.

Arrested for the crime is classmate Talitha (Céline Buckens), a brattish daughter of wealthy businessman (James Frain).

Assigned to the case is duty solicitor Cleo Roberts (Tracy Ifeachor), but it’s a very tenuous working relationship between lawyer and client. Talitha shows her little respect and little interest in proving her innocence.

DI Cassidy (Sinéad Keenan) leads the investigation, although her superior (Sharon D. Clarke) calls the shots, with DI Thornley (Kerr Logan) given the task of breaking the news to Hannah’s mother. The other key player is a third teen Dhillon (Joseph Payne) who was seen at the student ball with the two girls, and whose mother (Lolita Chakrabarti) happens to be a British politician.

If the police are convinced Talitha is at the centre of the crime, hence the Showtrial title, then it is Cleo who has the task of proving everybody wrong. And as you’d expect in any legal drama, all the cards are stacked against her… untrustworthy client, powerful father making demands, her own employer and mounting evidence that paint a grim picture. But like a character who could have stepped out of The Good Fight, she will rail and tug against those pulling her in all directions.

It’s Tracy Ifeachor that makes this story sing however Céline Buckens is suitably obnoxious in the difficult role of the accused. Under director Zara Hayes, the ensemble is strong throughout and definitely not cast for star power.

In a world of social media and clickbait, Ben Richards explores the themes of privilege going on trial and whether guilt or innocence is judged too readily, or even by association.

By episode three I would have welcomed a little more momentum in the plot, and ideally a few courtroom scenes where our hero lands a few punches and surprise revelations (you know the drill).

But Showtrial is another strong offering from World Productions (Line of Duty, Vigil, The Pembrokeshire Murders) that will keep you guessing.

Showtrial double episode 8:30pm Thursday on Seven.

4 Responses

  1. Came here to find out about the title after someone else mentioned that it was misnamed. Surprised to find it is about a legal case. To me a “showtrial” involves dogs racing around and jumping over obstacles, such as at the Royal Easter Show. I would never have watched on the basis of the title.

  2. The Showtrial title is the media term to attract attention, lawyers trying to avoid a trial by media is a fairly common theme in these type of shows. I do recommend this series, the characters look to be well acted and I do like the very elegant Tracy Ifeachor as Cleo Roberts. On another subject, I have to say I missed Ben Richards ‘Outcasts’, hopefully I shall get to see it, being a sci-fi fan.

  3. I don’t think the makers understand the meaning of the term “Show Trial”-it doesn’t mean a high profile trial or trial of the decade or century. It refers to an action with a predetermined outcome for political reasons by govt entities regardless of any evidence that may or may not be allowed . See Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union for examples aplenty.

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