WARNING: spoilers for Trust Me episode 1 below.
Broadchurch star Jodie Whittaker might well be the new Doctor Who, but she’s very much just a nurse in the BBC’s tense new drama series for Tuesday nights, Trust Me. Not that that stops her pretending to be a doctor. Not at all…
Whittaker plays nurse Cath Hardacre in this gripping, if slightly odd, four-parter. After being forced out of her job for threatening to blow the whistle on some rather unscrupulous and neglectful NHS practices, Cath cooks up a cunning plan. She finds herself devising a rather hastily put together yet impressively Machiavellian plot to assume her eloping friend’s identity and pose as a doctor working in Accident and Emergency.
Cath’s ambitious (and, let’s face it, ever-so-slightly preposterous) plan has her moving from Sheffield to Edinburgh to start a new life with her young daughter Molly – and away from her hangdog loser of an estranged husband Carl, played perfectly by a long-faced and bearded Neil from The Inbetweeners, Blake Harrison.
The series was written by a real-life A&E doctor, Dan Sefton. His CV boasts some impressive ITV dramas like Good Karma Hospital and Mr Selfridge. His medical background means that the A&E scenes are extremely believable. And more than a little disgusting at times. There are two particularly wince-inducing scenes involving dislocated ankles being realigned which are not for the faint of heart.
Whittaker doesn’t really offer us any clue as to how she might play the Time Lord (or should that be Time Lady?) here, giving a kind of ethereal and distant performance as Cath/Alison Sutton. It’s a light and deliberate touch which suggests a woman caught up in a web of lies and deceit that, although spun by herself, isn’t borne of greed or cynicism.
And that appears to be where Trust Me (aka Trust Me, I’m Not a Doctor) is coming from. It poses some interesting questions about the morality of lying. How much trouble can an honest person get into when they tell a lie? And how can one act of deception change someone?
While we’re on the subject of people pretending to be someone else, it has to be said – Jodie Whittaker has a real knack for accents. She had the west country voice down in Broadchurch and she totally nails the South Yorkshire brogue here.
This debut episode has things going pretty well for Cath – or ‘Ally’ as we should be calling her now. But there’s virtually zero chance that the rest of this series won’t see her house of lies tumble down all around her. And while the plot here may seem a tad unbelievable to some, we think it’s an intriguing idea and one we’re excited to see develop.
We think it’s worth mentioning a quick final note on the idea of ‘bogus’ doctors. It may seem a hugely implausible concept, but there have been dozens of confirmed cases of non-qualified staff conning NHS bosses and working in hands-on positions in hospitals.
So perhaps the plot of Trust Me isn’t quite so ‘preposterous’ after all…
Did you tune in for Trust Me episode 1? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
WARNING: spoilers for Trust Me episode 2 below. Still catching up? Read Steve’s review of episode 1 here.
The second episode of BBC One’s four-part psychological thriller Trust Me aired this Tuesday evening and saw ward sister Cath Hardacre sucked further into her whirlpool of lies as she continued to fraudulently pass herself off as an emergency room doctor.
Cath, played with a clever blend of detachment and warmth by new Doctor Who Jodie Whittaker, is pretending to be Alison, an A&E doctor friend of hers who has run away to New Zealand to take up sheep farming (such are the demands of working on the front line of the NHS, it seems). But the ‘real’ Alison’s aversion to her job resetting broken bones and getting vomited on in an Edinburgh hospital isn’t shared by Cath. Until the jobs start getting a little too involved for her, that is…
You see, that’s one of the problems with pretending to be a doctor when you’re working in a busy casualty unit – you’re not really a doctor. Cath’s a nurse, but she’s out of her depth. As a patient’s seizure in a lift soon demonstrates. She panics and screams an admission to one of her nurses, “I don’t know what to do!”
The emergency ward scenes are fraught, exciting, nerve-wracking and – at times – pretty darn grim. So they definitely feel ‘real’. Writer Dan Sefton is a former Accident & Emergency doctor, which explains the spot-on tone of these sequences. And it’s during Cath’s high octane medical blagging that Trust Me really shines. Backed by an excellent synth-heavy score, you could cut the tension with a scalpel.
Her relationship with colleague Andy is beginning to develop into something a little more serious. But, let’s face it, illegally assuming someone else’s identity isn’t a great start to any romance, is it? As the episode goes on, Andy grows more and more suspicious of Cath. And rightly so, of course.
Cath also has an ID-obsessed MD, an overly-friendly line manager, a loser ex and even a dogged journalist from her hometown sniffing about her scrubs. All desperate to talk to her and all more than capable of discovering her lies and unravelling her brand new life.
Trust Me could seem ludicrous, were it not for the fact that ‘fake doctors’ do actually slip through the net at times in real life. And also were it not for the impressively human and subtle performance of its star, Jodie Whittaker. The Broadchurch actress doesn’t play her character like a scheming, lying sociopath. Instead, she makes Cath a sympathetic figure. She’s a nurse, deep down. Someone who lives to care for people. To make them better. She even blew the whistle at her last place of work, such was her concern for patient welfare. So when her actions put people’s safety in danger in Edinburgh, you really get a sense of the turmoil that Cath is going through. It’s almost as if the whirlpool has turned into an unstoppable maelstrom and she can no longer escape.
As the net draws in on Cath and Andy appears to be set to rumble her, might there be a twist in the tale? Is ‘Dr. Perfect’ everything he seems? Is anyone really who they seem? We think, with two episodes to go, we might just discover that it’s not just nurse Cath that’s masking her true self…
Did you tune in for Trust Me episode 2? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
WARNING: spoilers for Trust Me episode 3 below. Still catching up? Read Steve’s review of episode 2 here.
Well, it took a full two episodes for someone to finally Google her and realise that she’s not the hero doctor that her new friends and colleagues take her for. But, luckily for Cath Hardacre, her life as Dr. Ally Sutton isn’t over just yet. That internet researcher happens to be Dr. Andy Brenner (Emun Elliot), Cath’s handsome new squeeze – and it seems he’s happy to go along with The Big Lie. Proof that love is not only blind, it’s deaf, dumb and incredibly naive too.
As Jodie Whittaker’s scheming but sympathetic ward sister Cath said goodbye to her dying father back home in Sheffield, her new boyfriend uncovered her deception. He invited her for a weekend away to ‘talk about a few things’ at a remote cottage of his in the Scottish countryside. With sweeping aerial views of the car and a tracking shot of Cath’s young child as they entered the place to a rather ominous score, Trust Me suddenly went all Shining on us. But luckily Andy kept away from the axes, instead swinging a proposition at Cath: ‘Let me help you.’
The first two episodes were really vehicles for both Cath’s story and Jodie Whittaker’s talent, but as we head towards a conclusion, the drama’s more peripheral figures have started to shine. Elliot is excellent as Andy, playing him with an air of ever-so-slight menace that never really explains itself. Blake Harrison finally gets more than two lines as Cath’s ex, a man who could unravel everything if he gets the transfer to Edinburgh he’s pushing for. Lois Chimimba and Michael Abubakar, as the two potential lovebird A&E nurses, add a touch of lightness too.
But it’s Born to Kill actress Sharon Small as Cath’s boss Bridget that this third outing really hinges around, especially towards the end as Cath becomes implicated in something nasty that’s against everything she stands for. It’s tough for Cath to agree to, but will her favour to her new friend and boss give her the leverage she may later need to get out of the hole she’s dug for herself?
A ward sister stealing a doctor’s identity and passing herself off as such may have seemed a rather incredible storyline a fortnight ago. But now? Three hours of absorbing and gripping drama later, you’re left with no hint that you’re watching melodramatic nonsense. Excellent writing, fleshed-out characters and the kind of directorial flair you rarely see on British television all see to that.
You’ve got to imagine that there’s very little chance of Cath getting away with it all though, haven’t you? The vultures are well and truly circling. Will Andy break? Is the death cover-up going to bring heat? Or could it be Karl’s appearance in Auld Reekie that spells the end to the charade?
Or… Maybe. Just maybe… Cath gets away with it. Only, for a deceitful, deceptive and duplicitous sort, you can’t help but root for her.
While we wait to see what next week’s dramatic closer has it store for us, let’s pontificate. How do you see it all ending? We’d love to hear your thoughts!
Did you tune in for Trust Me episode 3? Let us know your verdict in the comments below!
WARNING: spoilers for Trust Me episode 4 below. Still catching up? Read Steve’s review of episode 3 here.
Hospitals. They’re not exactly fun places to visit, are they? If you’re in one, you’re either ill, visiting someone you love who’s ill or you work there. And, whichever one of those three it is, chances are that you’re in for a pretty rough day. The BBC’s medical thriller Trust Me just wrapped up its final episode and perfectly illustrated just what stressful environments Accident & Emergency departments in particular can be. Though, hopefully, over-dramatised the kind of people that work there…
We already know that Jodie Whittaker’s character Ally Sutton/Cath Hardacre is an imposter – a nurse illegally posing as an emergency ward doctor – and that her new colleague and boyfriend Dr. Andy Brenner is more than prepared to break his Hippocratic Oath and put the public at risk by covering up for her. We also found out last week that Ally’s boss Bridget is an alcoholic who treats patients while under the influence. And just for good measure, in the concluding part of the series, a ward nurse gets arrested for stealing from some of the sick people she’s treating. A motley crew indeed.
“I don’t wanna lie. I’m not a liar!” Ally shouts at one point. Seemingly without irony. But it’s a telling line. Cath has assumed Ally’s identity so absolutely, perhaps because she’s been in denial about the whole ruse. She isn’t comfortable lying, so she’s convinced herself that she actually is Dr. Alison Sutton.
The net predictably draws in on our fraudster doctor as the episode goes on. There’s the investigation into the botched tracheostomy from last week and another bad mistake as she misdiagnoses her kindly next-door neighbour Mona’s impending heart attack. Plus, of course, her ex Karl’s imminent arrival up from Sheffield.
As the final part of Dan Sefton’s tense thriller goes on, things look to be heading one way, but soon take a sharp turn around a corner. The final fifteen minutes of Trust Me are a white knuckle ride that we won’t spoil too much for anyone who’s yet to catch up with it. But, suffice to say, things really come to a head with Karl and Andy set a course for one another.
We’ll put it this way, though – Dr. Andy Brenner does something towards the end that makes his light-fingered, drunk and fibbing colleagues look like angels…
As with episodes 1, 2 and 3, we’re served up a rather odd mixture of realism and escapist spectacle. Trust Me certainly has high drama in parts and doesn’t exactly feel like a documentary. But the tone and feel of the set, scenes and characters are so disconcertingly authentic. You almost felt as if you’re actually in the scenes sometimes. At least you might have been able to feel like that were it not for the near-constant lens flares that this fourth episode had. Every bright light on the ward shot out a huge horizontal line right across the screen. You’d assume it was a purposeful style choice, but it was still pretty distracting nonetheless.
The climax might disappoint any viewers out there who were desperate to see our anti-heroine get her comeuppance. In fact, ‘Dr. Sutton’ gets away pretty much scot free in the end. Not only that, but with her boss stepping aside with ‘stress’, she gets a promotion…
Trust Me ends with Cath confidently uttering the line, “Hi, I’m the senior doctor. What’s the problem?”
We’ll never look at doctors the same way again.
Did you tune in for Trust Me episode 4? Let us know your verdict in the comments below!