Last week’s instalment of the BBC’s dark but ruggedly beautiful new crime series Hidden, episode 4, was something of a mid-series break for everyone. A bit of a holiday if you like, albeit a really rather disturbing one. Whereas the previous three hours had flitted between the police investigation, the DI’s private lives and the sinister goings-on over at Dylan Harris’ farm, the fourth slice of Hidden just focused on Harris, his overbearingly terrifying mother Iona and his mute but cute little daughter Nia. Suffice to say it creeped the audience at home out even more than before. It was very much time spent in the lair of the beast.
Episode 5 took us back to more familiar ground and the investigation by lead investigator DI Cadi John (played with absolute aplomb by Hinterland actress Sian Reese-Williams). Slowly but surely they’re on Harris’ trail, but while he might not exactly be a Moriarty-style criminal mastermind, his clan’s off-the-grid lifestyle does make them almost invisible.
That said, the trail is warming up a little. Cadi and her partner Owen have glimpsed Harris, spotting him eyeing up Lowri before his bungled kidnapping attempt. They’ve even tracked down the owner of his red pick-up truck – a shifty and unhelpful type called William Parry – a former employer of Dylan’s who can’t quite remember him and quite obviously dislikes the police. It turned out to be a frustrating end to a rather decent lead.
Cadi has slightly bigger things to worry about, though. As her father’s health further deteriorates, she realises that he, a former police officer himself, may be involved in a previous investigation from 2005, the murder of Anna Williams. A murder which could well be linked to her current case. It seems that her father Huw’s investigation could just turn out to paint the old man in a pretty poor light indeed…
There are lots of things to admire about the way Hidden goes about its business. We’ve mentioned before how the background stories of Cadi and Owen and Dylan and even the more peripheral characters brilliantly round them all and provide drive and personality and understanding. There was something else that really struck us this week though and that’s the sheer realism of it all.
Cadi’s boss is remarkably unremarkable. She’s professional, polite and helpful. She’s how a Chief Inspector would be in real life. There’s no dramatic showboating, no shouting, no threatening to take badges or anything silly like that. Touches like these really bring you into the action and immerse you. These kinds of details set apart superior crime dramas like Hidden. Not everyone has to be a stand out ‘character’. Often, when dramas attempt this it becomes a little try-hard and overbearing.
We didn’t see a huge amount of Harris’ character this week, but from the little we did glimpse, it appears as though the mask is beginning to slip somewhat. His chilling behaviour towards his new victim Megan is becoming increasingly callous and inhuman. Anyone who remembers Rhodri Meilir’s early career and part in the BBC One sitcom My Family might be taken out of the horror a wee bit when they recall the daft lodger character he played in that. Still, Meilir puts in one helluva performance here – the man plays the haunted figure of Dylan Harris perfectly.
Next week promises to delve more into Cadi’s father’s role in potentially locking up the wrong man for Anna Williams’ murder and allowing Harris and Iona to continue their reign of terror from their Brothers Grimm fairytale cottage. Which should, as Huw’s death draws ever closer, make the case just that little bit more personal for Cadi.
Did you catch Craith/Hidden episode 5? What did you make of it? Let us know in the comments below!