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Innocent series 1 review

Episodes: 4

Premiered: 2018

Duration: 45 min

From Chris Lang, writer of Unforgotten, and Matthew Arlidge, author of the DI Helen Grace novels, comes a low-key but effective four-part crime drama that aired on ITV to an impressively-sized audience.

Innocent series 1 tells the tale of David Collins (Line of Duty‘s Lee Ingleby), a man convicted of murdering his wife. After serving just seven years of his sentence, Collins is acquitted on a legal technicality and released, much to the community’s horror. Is the seemingly nice David really a wronged man? Or is he secretly a violent, murderous sociopath? Is he guilty? Or is he innocent…?

Here’s our Innocent series 1 review.

Innocent episode 1 review

There’s a principle in law that states that a person is ‘innocent until proven guilty.’ It’s a fundamental concept about the assumption of guilt that’s easy to understand and apply. But how about when a person is found guilty of a crime and then later acquitted? Is it possible to just instantly change your view of that person and truly treat them as innocent? Well, that’s the interesting idea that ITV’s cleverly-titled new crime drama Innocent looks to explore.

Shot back in 2016, this four-part series has sat on the shelf for a couple of years but is finally airing on ITV 1 over four consecutive nights. From the minds and pens of the excellent crime writers M J Arlidge and Unforgotten’s Chris Lang, the story focuses around a man named David Collins, played by a rather off-puttingly goatee-bearded Lee Ingleby from Line of Duty.

We open with him being acquitted of the murder of his wife Tara, a full seven years after his initial conviction. We’re quickly informed that his release from prison is due to ‘a technicality’ – the handling of the forensic evidence was flawed – but Collins’ defiant speech to the gathered media demonstrates a man determined to prove his innocence. Or determined to lie to the bitter end…

And there we have our rather simple premise. A did-he-dunit, if you like. The courts have decided there isn’t enough evidence to prove his guilt, the jury can’t make up their collective mind and the prosecution have also given up. Collins is effectively now an innocent man. But that’s not how the court of public opinion treats him. In that court, he’s as guilty as sin.

His sister-in-law Alice (Cold Feet’s Hermione Norris) is convinced of his guilt, openly weeping at the acquittal. Her and her husband Rob adopted Collins’ two children after his imprisonment and she’s frightened he’ll attempt to take back the kids – something David immediately consults a solicitor about doing.

Hatred comes from all angles as David learns that his former co-workers and friends have also abandoned him, all assured of his guilt. Only his brother Phil is fighting his corner and prepared to stand up for him.

Our police types come in the rather unconvincing shape of Angel Coulby (Merlin) and Nigel Lindsay (Four Lions, Alpha Papa), the unconvincing aspect being that the former, a pretty and fresh-faced young detective inspector, is in a relationship with her significantly older and less fresh-faced colleague (no offence, Nigel). Even more oddly, DI Cathy Hudson is given the Collins’ case to investigate further after her lover DI William Beech is rather unceremoniously dumped from it. An obvious conflict of interests, one would imagine.

We’re expecting DI Beech to turn out to be a less-than-savoury character, by the way. Those furtive, shifty glances are a dead giveaway, aren’t they?

There are shades of Broadchurch to this week-long crimer, but will Innocent capture the public’s imagination in quite the same way? It’s solid and has an intriguing premise that we’re looking forward to being realised fully across the four episodes, but whether it’ll become a television classic remains to be seen.

Still, we’re only a quarter of the way through and we’re expecting plenty of twists and turns to come our way. Let’s see how the rest of the week plays out and just how innocent David Collins really is…

Our early theory? We’re going with David being innocent, but not his brother Phil. He could have been obsessed with Tara and became violently jealous, only defending his brother to further distance himself from looking guilty. That’s our hunch, anyway…

Did you catch Innocent episode 1? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!

Read Steve’s review of episode 2 here.

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Innocent episode 2 review

Catching up on Innocent episode 1? Read our recap here.

It would be a lot easier to work out who the murderer is in TV crime dramas if people stopped lying all the time, wouldn’t it? And, presumably, it’d make an investigating police officer’s job a whole lot simpler too. But, alas, life isn’t as helpful as that.

We’re now at the halfway point of ITV 1’s Innocent, the new week-long murder mystery from M J Arlidge and Chris Lang – the ‘mystery’ aspect being whether Lee Ingleby’s David Collins character is actually responsible for the murder of his wife or not despite being formally acquitted for the crime after serving seven years inside for it.

Episode 2 seemingly brought us no closer to uncovering the truth. Now, of course, David could be responsible. That big disclosure at the end of the series would be quite the reveal. But with so many other characters connected to the murdered Tara Collins, it’s hard to point the crooked finger of guilt at anyone at this early stage.

Alright, so onto the liars. We have plenty of them too:

Alice – Tara’s sister initially portrayed their relationship as rosy. But a quick dig around text messages between the two of them by DI Hudson’s team soon showed some serious animosity between the pair. Alice had even assaulted her younger sister shortly before she died. She also has a secret stash of Prozac she’s not telling anyone about and a rather creepy way of making her adoptive children call her ‘mum’, despite their real mother being her sibling and not having been dead a decade. She also lied to the police about the true nature of her infertility issue. She’s a shifty lady, to say the least.

Tom – David’s smarmy old pal lied to everyone about his affair with Tara. With good reason. He also lied about how Tara got her fractured cheekbone. Also with good reason. He’s a sleazeball that can’t be trusted, but is he a killer? Who knows. If he is, he needs to murder his interior designer.

DCI Beech – As DI Hudson soon discovers, her lover’s previous investigation into Tara’s killing skimmed over quite a few facts. Ideas were ‘massaged’, statements were embellished and certain unhelpful facts ignored. Why was he covering up so much? His claim is that it’s not unusual when trying to nail a murderer. ‘Inconvenient truths’ can often get in the way. But is there more to it than that…?

Rob – Alice’s sympathetic husband seems a nice guy and, to be fair, he’s seemingly kept his fibbing to a minimum. But as the last scene of episode 2 showed us, he is a dab hand at tying strong knots. Not unusual for a man working on a boatyard, admittedly. But, as we know, Tara’s body was ‘securely tied with rope’. Dodgy.

David – He seems legit, right? But he’s only just admitting that there were problems between him and his wife before her murder. That whole ‘blood on the coat’ thing still lingers too. He’s quick to violence as well. Could that be attributed to seven years of prison life? Resentment at his position? Or is he secretly a ball of rage that really is capable of murder?

Lies, lies, lies… Still, crime dramas wouldn’t be much fun without them, would they?

[OPENING CREDITS]

Police Officer: Did you do it?

Suspect: Yes I did.

Police officer: Right. You’re under arrest, then.

[CLOSING CREDITS]

We’ll be tuning in for part three of Innocent on Wednesday night at 9pm on ITV 1. See you there.

Did you catch Innocent episode 2? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below!

Read Steve’s review of Innocent episode 3 here.

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Innocent episode 3 review

Catching up on Innocent episode 1? Check out our recap here – then see what we made of episode 2…

Your brain splits into two when you’re watching a crime drama, doesn’t it? Metaphorically, we mean. Not literally, that would be extremely unpleasant. Half of you sits back rather passively, watching the action and enjoying the story as it unfolds. While the other half of your mind is frantically working away, desperate to work out what’s going on and pick out who the killer is and what their motive was. At least, that’s the way it is with us, anyway.

Our Dr Jekyll side has enjoyed the three episodes of ITV 1’s Innocent so far, with its tale of a man set free after eventually being found not guilty of the murder of his wife some seven years previous. Lee Ingleby’s David Collins character is an uneasy mix of soppy family man and wound-up ball of rage, but one that’s been a joy to watch.

While we watch Collins try to get his life back on track, we can’t help our slightly deranged Mr – or should that be Detective – Hyde persona from constantly trying to work out who’s really responsible. At the end of episode 2, we were led to ponder on whether Tom, the deceased’s brother-in-law, may have been responsible. And that’s not entirely off the table as yet, but we were also left with a nagging feeling that the twist in the tale could be that David really is guilty of his wife Tara’s killing. After all, it’d be quite the shocker…

If there’s one thing that this third instalment did, it’s all but dispel that theory. David’s slimy former pal Tom, we discover, had lied about his timings, effectively ruling David out as a suspect. And ruling himself very much in. But as odious as obstetrician Tom is, our Detective Hyde side isn’t convinced.

Alice has spent a fair amount of time under scrutiny and certainly had her reasons to want away with her often quite cruel younger sibling. But as highly-strung and emotional as Hermione Norris’ character is, can you really see her slaughtering a human, tying them up, dumping their body in water and then going all in on a lie blaming her sister’s husband for it? That all seems a little far-fetched to us.

So while our Dr Jekyll self will enjoy Thursday night’s fourth and final serving of Innocent with no idea whatsoever as to who killed Tara, our monstrous sleuth side will once more burst out. Part of him is, despite the evidence to the contrary, still a little suspicious that David really did do it – mostly because he believes that goatee beards are evil. But most of him is certain that David’s to-date very sympathetic brother Phil Collins is the killer. And not just because he never liked Genesis.

Let’s be honest – Phil’s skulked around for nearly three hours now all but avoiding suspicion. And if Rob gets furrowed brows for knowing how to tie nautical knots, then so too should the older Collins brother. He works (or worked) on a shipyard too, y’know. Plus let’s not gloss over the slightly odd story he told his teenage nephew about his ex-wife ‘moving away’…

How about you? With one episode remaining, who are you pointing the finger at? David? Alice? Rob? Tom? DCI Beech even? Or are you with our clue-seeking alter ego and giving shifty glances Phil’s way? We want to know…

Did you catch Innocent episode 3? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Read Steve’s review of episode 4 here.

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Innocent episode 4 review

You can find our previous recaps of the series here: episode 1, episode 2 and episode 3.

WARNING: The following review contains spoilers for Innocent episode 4. Proceed with caution…

Well, then. Tara’s killer’s in ‘cuffs and all is well. It turns out that David Collins really was innocent in Innocent all along. His wife’s murderer wasn’t her secret lover Tom, or her sister Alice. It wasn’t her be-bearded brother-in-law Rob, either. Or DCI Beech, DI Hudson, one of her young children or someone from Broadchurch. It was the only person left that could have done it. Tara was killed by David’s friendly-seeming brother Phil.

Not that we enjoy telling you that we told you so, but, well, we told you so…

“Our early theory? We’re going with David being innocent, but not his brother Phil.”

“We’re certain that David’s to-date very sympathetic brother Phil Collins is the killer.”

Okay, so that’s the bragging out of the way nice and early. Let’s get back to looking at the fourth and final instalment of M J Arlidge and Chris Lang’s intriguing ITV 1 crimer, shall we?

In truth, the final 45 minutes of Innocent was all leading up to The Big Reveal. We didn’t get a hugely satisfying resolution to the DI Cathy Hudson/DCI William Beech storyline, but then that was only a rather minor subplot that very few people will have been all that invested in. The audience only really had one question on their mind… Who killed Tara Collins?

We found out by a process of elimination, more than anything. As alibis and evidence exonerated the main suspects one by one, we were left with very few people to point a finger at. The police looked all but ready to throw in the towel too. Until Phil decided to out himself somewhat with a rare glimpse of his ‘other’ side in a short conversation with Cathy.

Quick tip for anyone who’s ever got away with bashing someone’s brains in with a hammer – don’t get cocky and dish out veiled threats to the police, eh? It’s the kind of thing that might just make you look a little bit like you definitely did it.

It was enough to rouse Cathy’s suspicions and she soon took those concerns to David. Initially dismissive of the theory, he eventually decided to put it to his brother. Who took very little poking before the truth burst out of him. Within seconds of being quizzed by his young sibling, Phil was the Niagra Falls of murder confessions.

Fittingly for the crescendo of the series, the confession scene was a highly-charged affair. Expertly acted by Lee Ingleby and Daniel Ryan, there was a real air of tension and realism to things. Especially in Ingleby’s physical handling of his brother. Anger and hatred were spewing out of him, yet there were no punches. He still couldn’t hurt his brother. Despite his admission that he’d gone Full Sutcliffe on his beloved bride.

We learned that the hammer blows came after Phil drove Tara home on spotting her stumbling home, drunk. Consumed by jealousy towards his young brother his entire life, Phil had driven down to the south coast – some 500 miles – just to revel in David’s misery after hearing that his wife had left him. While dropping Tara home, Phil made a clumsy sexual advance to her. Only to be rebuffed in a quite humiliating way.

“I’m low, mate, but I’m not that low…”

Those words were enough to tip Phil over the edge and into a killer.

So Phil wasn’t innocent. But David was. As were the rest of the suspects. Innocent was a solid week’s worth of criminal entertainment, with more than enough twists and turns to keep us hooked. It’s shorter run time made it difficult to really capture the public’s imagination in quite the way that a longer-form drama along the lines of Broadchurch of Line of Duty can, but it was a very welcome addition to the schedules nonetheless. We find Innocent guilty of being a rollicking good ride.

Did you tune in for Innocent episode 4? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

1 Comment

    Fantastic series couldn’t wait each night for the next episode good ending but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone else

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