Still catching up? Read Steve’s review of Liar series 2 episode 1 here.
The first series of ITV1’s Harry and Jack Williams-written crime drama Liar set up an interesting premise – who was the eponymous fibber, school teacher Laura (Joanne Froggatt)? Or high-flying surgeon Andrew Earlham (Hornblower himself, Ioan Gruffudd)? By the end of the first run’s successful six episodes, we found out – it was Earlham. He was a serial date rapist, a very nasty piece of work indeed. And, of course, a liar.
Fast forward some three years and the opener to Liar’s second series asks us that same poser again. Who’s the liar of the title? This time, however, we’ve more than just one person to pick from. We’ve a whole cast of characters from which to determine who isn’t telling the truth about killing the deranged doctor.
By the end of this second part here though, we’re asking ourselves who the real liar is… is it, in fact, anyone who’s claiming that this follow-up series is as good as the one some 8 million people tuned in for and enjoyed back in 2017…?
Let’s deal with the bad news before the good, shall we? This sophomore season of Liar doesn’t quite have the quality that its predecessor exuded. Compared to what came before it’s improbable, schlocky and, let’s be frank, a wee bit silly.
The good news? Well, it’s still more than watchable.
Critical thinking and logic are wonderful things. They help us understand the world and sort out dis – and mis – information from the real thing. When it comes to enjoying TV drama, though? Sometimes it pays to employ a trick commonly known as the ‘suspension of disbelief’.
For the sake of enjoying something, it can sometimes work out best to just sit back and watch somewhat passively. Let the thing wash over you. Enjoy the thrills ‘n’ spills and try not to let realism spoil the party. If you can do that, there’s plenty to like about Liar. If you can’t… well, maybe it’s time to switch over.
As the murder investigation and flashbacks to Andrew Earlham’s final days both build up, the more rationally-minded viewer could get bogged down in far-fetched plotting and let it spoil their fun.
There’s the addition of a baseball cap making Andrew all but invisible – akin to Clark Kent’s specs – as well as Laura leaving her window wide open when she’s being stalked by a sociopath with a motive to kill her.
There’s the exaggerated characterisation that could bug some people too; Katherine Kelly’s rather unlikeable detective is almost cartoonish in her verve and willingness to smash police protocol to get to the truth.
We’re not here for uber realism, though. This is a twisting, turning crime yarn. Alright, it has its flaws, but we’re still on board.
This second episode pushed the narrative further and got us to thinking about other suspects in Andrew’s murder. The bearded figure of Ian has been attacked by Kelly’s fearsome detective but doesn’t appear to be guilty. And the more we think about Carl having been responsible, the less it adds up. Although he does, of course, have a reason to kill the deceased. Currently it makes sense to look in the direction of Andrew’s old ‘friend’ (or accomplice?) Olly, played with an oily creepiness by Taken 3 and Legend’s Sam Spruell.
Liar won’t be the best crime drama of 2020, but suspend that disbelief for an hour a week and there’s plenty of reason to keep watching. We’ll be tuning in for next Monday night’s third instalment. Will you?
Did you tune in for Liar series 2 episode 2? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!