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I TALK Innocent

Whist the best dramas of 2018 (so far) have been on Sky Atlantic (Save Me) and Channel 4 (Kiri), ITV are finally delivering the goods with Innocent, a new four-part drama which will be stripped across four consecutive nights.

Written by Chris Lang (Unforgotten) and Matthew Arlidge (Silent Witness), Innocent tells the story of David Collins (played by Lee Ingleby, The A Word) who seven years ago was convicted of murdering his wife Tara but after a third trial falls through he's acquitted on a technicality.

We learn early on that the only person to have stood by him and believes his innocence, is his brother Phil, played by Dan Ryan (Mount Pleasant).

But now that his brother's been released, how much longer is he prepared to stay loyal? What consequences could his loyalty have when those around him are all certain of his guilt?

At the prospect of meeting the man accused of murdering her sister, Alice, played by Hermione Norris (Cold Feet) says "If I was ever in the same room as that man, I would try and kill him" which sums up her feelings towards him perfectly.

For Alice there’s no doubt of his guilt and she’s utterly devastated by the prospect of David’s appeal.

Together with her husband Rob (Adrian Rowlins, Girlfriends) they're now parents to David’s two children; Jack who's now 15 and his younger sister Rosie, now 12. Unable to have children of their own, Tara's death offered Alice the family unit she so desperately longed for. As well as a comfortable lifestyle, very different to the one she had when Tara was alive.

But how will David's release affect that family dynamic? Will Jack reconcile with his father? Is Rosie right to be terrified of him? And surely questions have to be asked about whether or not Alice had more to gain from Tara dying than most. Could her desperate need for a family have been her motive?

Upon leaving court, David threatens to expose those who have lied in a bid to find his wife's real killer and get his children back. The series centres around David's innocence. But is he innocent? At times I'm certain that he isn't but at others I'm certain that he is.

And we've got Lang's script to thank for that as well as a stellar performance from Lee Ingleby, usually known for playing the everyman father in series like Our Zoo and The A Word.

Accused of a murder he's adamant he didn't carry out, he's a man full of rage and has a lot of questions to ask those closest to him. Why didn't they stand by him? And why have his children not wanted.

The script for the first episode is so rich in detail and character that everyone we encounter in the first episode is a suspect, each with a credible story that would pinpoint them as responsible for Tara's murder or at the very least the reason David was imprisoned.

Also starring in Innocent are Nigel Lindsay and Angel Coulby as DI William Beech and DI Cathy Hudson who has taken over William's investigation into Tara's death. But will she be able to uncover anything new?

There's enough in the first episode to keep me watching the rest of the week and unusually for a UK drama, Innocent has already aired in five countries starting with The Netherlands and New Zealand in January and then Australia, Denmark and the USA in March.

Quite why ITV have held on to Innocent for so long I don't know. I initially thought this could have been because they thought it wasn't up to scratch but in actual fact it's on course to easily become ITV's strongest drama of the year so far.

Innocent airs Monday 14th - Thursday at 9pm on ITV


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