An independence referendum in Catalonia created a whirlwind of controversy in Spain. A Category 5 hurricane called Irma tore up parts of Florida and the Caribbean. And Pink’s ‘What About Us’ stormed the charts. September 2017 feels like a lifetime ago when you look back at it. In television terms especially, two and a half years is an eon.
In this age of streaming and binge watching, delayed gratification can be a hard sell. When entire series are available to enjoy during one lazy Sunday afternoon, the idea of waiting a week to be drip fed a series isn’t always all that appealing. We are, it’s fairly safe to say, rather spoiled for TV entertainment these days.
Thank the gods of television for recaps, then. Where would we be without them? Those little reminders of what we watched seven days ago can be lifesavers. But when the gap is some 130 weeks? Well, we’re going to need more than a sixty second package of short clips to remind us what went down.
Liar was something of a surprise success for ITV back in the autumn of 2017. And when something’s a hit on the box, expect another series. If that series takes some 30-odd months to appear, expect to need a somewhat comprehensive reminder of what happened first time around.
For an in-depth summary of the events of Liar’s maiden season, try this handy run-down on the Radio Times website. Or, if you have the time, your best bet may well be to watch or rewatch the thing on ITV Player.
In a nutshell, though? A man and a woman end up back at his house after a date. She later says she was sexually assaulted. He claims what happened was consensual. The central premise posed a question… who is the ‘liar’? Laura or Andrew? Was it date rape or a false accusation?
Wisely, with #MeToo only a month away from dominating social media and then the cultural zeitgeist, Liar’s BAFTA-winning writers Harry and Jack Williams (The Missing, Baptiste) decided that a series investigating sexual assault and the difficulty the legal system often has in prosecuting those responsible for it was the more interesting of the two possible stories.
The he said/she said set-up quickly turned into a regular thriller once we discovered that it was Ioan Gruffudd’s Dr Andrew Earlham that was the titular liar and not Joanne Froggatt’s school teacher Laura. Fast-forward some five episodes and we learned that Earlham was actually a serial rapist. And, soon, a dead one.
The question now is this – who killed him…?
This may seem like a rather easy question. It’s Laura, isn’t it? But, as we learn here in Liar series 2 episode 1, Earlham’s crimes made him more than a few enemies. With 19 known victims, the list of suspects that new lead investigator DI Karen Renton, played by a fierce Katherine Kelly, has to sort through is fairly considerable.
Kelly could well prove to be the series highlight, only this opener is never more watchable than when the former Corrie actress is in full-on BBQ mode, grilling Froggett’s Laura on a high heat. She does so in some style, all leather jackets and (nicotine) chewing gum.
There’s a fair amount of flair and panache being shown off with the cinematography too. The Kent coast has never looked so alluring. Even with a dead doctor dumped on it.
On the basis of this first hour of series two, Liar will keep us watching and guessing. We’re certain there will be plenty of plot twists and surprise developments to come. Whether or not it can regain its initial novelty value and identity seems unlikely, though.
What made Liar series 1 so interesting was its central concept. That’s gone now. In its place is just a rather standard whodunit. Luckily for the drama and us, we’ve got Joanne Froggett, Katherine Kelly and also Siobhan Finneran (Happy Valley, A Confession) to keep it from being too run of the mill.
The storytelling is also little confusing. You really do have to pay attention when watching. Flashbacks allow Earlham’s murder to be explored more here, but they do also skew the chronology a fair bit. Pair that with the fairly lengthy gap since the first run and Liar isn’t always the easiest crime drama to follow. That said, you have to imagine it’ll settle down as of episode 2.
If we said we’re as excited by this as we were the first time, we’d be liars. However, it’s no fib to say that we’re looking forward to its next five instalments.
Did you tune in for Liar series 2 episode 1? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!