Undeniable, ITV, review: Psychological thriller fails to make a killing
Ellen E Jones
Ellen is The Independent's TV critic. She writes a daily review of Last Night's TV and a weekly 'Inside TV' column for the i paper, as well as a column on general topics for the main paper most Wednesdays. Ellen is a former Hollywood correspondent and a contributing editor to Little White Lies, she's written on TV, film, lifestyle, travel and politics for publications including the Guardian, The Times, The Sunday Times, Esquire and Total Film.
Tuesday 08 April 2014
Undeniable, which began on ITV last night, is the televisual equivalent of those paperback thrillers you buy in the airport and chuck away at your destination: serviceably diverting in the moment, instantly forgettable afterwards.
Claire Goose might not look back on playing Jane Phillips as a high point in her career (the former Casualty actress was No 94 in FHMs “100 Sexiest Women of the Year” poll, 1998, after all) but she’s believable enough as our heroine, a happily married woman, pregnant with her second child. As a five-year-old, Jane was the only witness to her mother’s murder and now, 23 years later, she believes she’s spotted the man responsible and is determined to bring him to justice.
Jane might have an easier time of it, if the man she’d fingered for this crime wasn’t a well-respected consultant oncologist and all-round affable chap. Andrew Rawlins (Peter Firth) also had a fiercely loyal daughter, Emma (Christine Bottomley), who just happened to be a criminal lawyer and just happened to look a little bit like Jane. Expect both these blonde daddy’s girls to have their relationships with their fathers tested over the course of this two-part drama.
For his part, Jane’s dad said he’d support his daughter, but he didn’t look too convinced. There was also the awkward matter of Jane’s history of mental instability and the two false accusations she’d made previously. At least her husband will stand by her. At least until he finds out she came off her anti-depressants and the contraceptive pill in a deliberate attempt to become pregnant with a son, just like her mother was when she died.
Writer Chris Lang’s script diligently ensured that even by the very end of this episode the story’s ultimate resolution remained unguessable, but just a few more hints or red herrings might have made the prospect of episode two more tantalising. Is cuddly Dr Rawlins actually a cold-blooded murderer? Or is Jane just hysterical? Preferably, the truth will turn out to be some diabolical combination of the two.
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