TV Review: A Confession (ITV) – Season One

A Confession is a six-part drama on ITV which follows the true story of DS Stephen Fulcher (Martin Freeman) and his hunt for missing 22-year-old Sian O’Callaghan (Florence Howard) which took place in 2011. Fulcher intends on catching the killer even if it costs him his career and reputation. But whilst his actions ultimately lead to the arrest of prolific serial killer Christopher Halliwell (Joe Absolom), much to the relief of two grieving mothers, Elaine Pickford (Siobhan Finneran) and Karen Edwards (Imelda Staunton), a loophole in the system soon sees the subsequent downfall of his career.

Overall Season Rating:

We all love real-life crime dramas these days, but A Confession tells a different side to the story. Instead of focusing on the darker themes of finding a serial killer, of the motives and actions of a person with psychopathic traits, the series focuses on the emotional turmoil that is involved in a case such as this one: the heartache of the families involved, the committed and painstaking efforts of the police forces who seek justice, and the selflessness that some detectives give above their own private lives and careers.

The story of Stephen Fulcher is a remarkable one. He is the kind of detective that we would all want to be leading a case if it involved somebody that we personally knew. Yet to see the way that Fulcher’s actions were criticised and used against him is incredibly eye-opening.

This is not only a great series because it gives us an insight into a deeply saddening true story, but also because it brings to light the changes that need to be made in the judicial system and the profound questions that need to be asked when the police are found at such a life or death crossroad.

You can buy A Confession on DVD here

The casting for this series is brilliant. Freeman gives a great authoritative performance in the central role and Absolom looks so much like the real-life Halliwell that it’s impossible not to be unnerved by his performance. But it’s Finnernan and Staunton who really give this their all.

The strength, courage, love, and desperation shown in these mothers’ characters is what will hardest. Staunton, especially, completely takes me breath away with her role in this series. She’s a great actress, one that I recognise mostly from the Harry Potter series in which I completely despise her character. Yet here, she completely breaks my heart.

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About Charlie Morris

Proofreader and film blogger living in Cornwall.

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