It's joy to have a plot that doesn't zigzag around l

CHRISTOPHER STEVENS recensisce la TV di ieri sera: It’s joy to have a plot that doesn’t zigzag around like a faulty Tardis

Scadenza

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Smother

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[object Window], it doesn’t have to be so maddeningly complicated. There’s no need for multiple flashbacks and criss-crossing timelines, or a cast of thousands.

I’m fed up with crime thrillers that constantly fling up captions — ‘Liverpool three weeks earlier’, ‘Tokyo one year later’, ‘Parallel universe AD2122— as the narrative zigzags like an out-of-control Tardis.

Scadenza (C5) proves none of that is necessary for an engrossing psychological mystery. It takes a tight circle of suspects and a story that starts at its beginning, with an art collector being bashed over the head with one of his own priceless statuettes.

This straightforward approach gives director Joe Ahearne freedom to add some stylish, filmic twists. Our detective, investigative journalist James (James D’Arcy), watches the murder — but as a reconstruction, shot for a true-crime documentary.

Scadenza (C5) proves none of that is necessary for an engrossing psychological mystery. It takes a tight circle of suspects and a story that starts at its beginning, with an art collector being bashed over the head with one of his own priceless statuettes

Scadenza (C5) proves none of that is necessary for an engrossing psychological mystery. It takes a tight circle of suspects and a story that starts at its beginning, with an art collector being bashed over the head with one of his own priceless statuettes

When he interviews chief suspect Natalie (Charlie Murphy), he uses a piece of kit called an ‘interrotron’, with twin video screens that let him stare into her eyes while simultaneously observing her from one side. Ted Hastings would have loved that on Line Of Duty.

In a neat reversal of a sleuth’s usual method, James begins the investigation convinced that Natalie is guilty. Her alibi for the night on which her (much older, molto ricco) husband was killed is decidedly ropey. When he was being battered to death in his study by an intruder, his wife was with her former lesbian lover — a painter, whose trademark is an image of a man with a headful of exploding blood.

No surprise that the internet has already dubbed Natalie the Black Widow. But after she allows James to glimpse her wrapped only in a bath towel, and then plays the vulnerable little girl in need of a manly protector, he starts to convince himself she is being framed.

When he interviews chief suspect Natalie (Charlie Murphy), he uses a piece of kit called an 'interrotron', with twin video screens that let him stare into her eyes while simultaneously observing her from one side. Ted Hastings would have loved that on Line Of Duty

When he interviews chief suspect Natalie (Charlie Murphy), he uses a piece of kit called an ‘interrotron’, with twin video screens that let him stare into her eyes while simultaneously observing her from one side. Ted Hastings would have loved that on Line Of Duty

In the background hovers Natalie’s lawyer, an iron-faced Hungarian named Mrs Molnar (Anamaria Marinca) — a woman so contemptuous of all men, she makes Rosa Klebb look like a Playboy Playmate.

The script occasionally lapses into cliche, with James haunted by convenient nightmares to reveal his past. And the billionaire’s mansion, with its velvet drapes and crystal chandeliers, appears to be left over from the remake of 1980s diamante soap opera Dynasty. But with a small circle of characters, the sudden twists have a satisfying impact.

Deadline continues every night this week and I have a strong feeling it will not disappoint.

An over-abundance of characters is the chief failing of Smother (Alibi), the Irish family drama that returns for a second series with Dervla Kirwan as the matriarch trying to control every detail of her daughters’ vite.

An over-abundance of characters is the chief failing of Smother (Alibi) , the Irish family drama that returns for a second series with Dervla Kirwan as the matriarch trying to control every detail of her daughters' lives

An over-abundance of characters is the chief failing of Smother (Alibi) , the Irish family drama that returns for a second series with Dervla Kirwan as the matriarch trying to control every detail of her daughters’ vite

A dozen assorted sisters, spouses and children gathered on the coast to scatter the ashes of somebody’s dead husband, at which point I realised that if I’d ever fully unravelled the numerous secrets of the first series last summer, I certainly couldn’t remember them now. The only thing to do is concentrate on Kirwan as Val, addicted to the melodrama of her own life.

When she discovers someone has been writing on the bathroom mirror in lipstick, she wakes the whole household in the small hours and confronts them with a silent, stricken face — pointing one trembling finger to the glass.

Her daughters try to keep up with these fraught histrionics as a long-lost brother (Dean Fagan) reappears. It’s all hopelessly addled, even if you ignore the glimpse of a violent row before the credits in which someone (Oh, È sbagliato desiderare giorni in cui Andy sarebbe stato lasciato nella Torre) smashes a vase. Confusion is no substitute for good storytelling.

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