BBC Two’s dark crime drama Murder breaks new ground in an increasingly crowded field.
It is made up of three stand-alone episodes.
The first—The Third Voice—explores the effect of murder on the living who are left behind.
It revolves around three deaths. Leo and Katrina Durridge’s young daughter Sonia died of meningitis while they were on holiday in Rome.
Leo can’t get over it and blames his brother-in-law Rafe who was looking after Sonia.
Detective Sergeant Corrine Evans has just arrived back to work.
She was signed off after trying to investigate her police partner’s death in a road-side hit and run.
The episode opens opens with an old film clip of a young girl, before the camera hones in on the first crime scene.
Leo and Rafe have just been pulled out of the river Tweed on the Scottish Borders after a fishing trip. Despite a few bruises and stitches Leo is alive—Rafe is lying on a coroner’s table.
Leo tells us the river bank collapsed—but a bystander says they heard a third voice.
The Third Voice is directed in a profoundly alienating way.
Each scene is filmed as a stand-alone clip, with only one of the protagonists talking.
This makes the dialogue intense, although it can also feel disjointed and hard to follow at times. New characters are introduced without warning.
But it is very powerful when you are exposed to the protagonists’ personal struggles. For example, Evans questions the coroner’s assertion that Rafe died from a stab wound from a six inch blade—and then complains bitterly to us about his mocking.
The writers pored over police reports of real crimes to put together the show.
Its power is in its forcing us to think about the issues behind the events.
That’s what makes Murder different from other crime dramas that have saturated our television screens.
Thursday 3 March, 9pm