A Confession – ITV Mini-Series – Episode 3 Recap & Review


Not The Only One

Midway through the season, A Confession returns for a straight forward episode, one that sees Christopher’s confession cause a ripple effect across the station as the officers scramble to find Sian and another dead girl. For the most part, A Confession follows a pretty straight forward procedural format this week and it’s within this framework that the ITV drama does pretty well to maintain a good level of tension and drama.

With the camera continuing to wobble around, we begin with Steve asking Christopher where Sian is and offering him the opportunity to share that information with him. As he stares off into the distance, Steve tells him about the ramifications of his actions, prompting him to divulge directions to where Sian may be.

As the officers follow closely behind, Christopher takes them down country roads before turning left at a junction. After smoking a cigaratte, he nonchalantly informs Steve that Sian’s dead, mainly because the officers were getting too close to finding her. He goes on to say he rolled her down a bank which proves too much for Steve to hear. He gets Eddie to stop the car and proceeds to tell the other officers in the car behind what he’s just been told. Informing them they need to search the area, Steve heads back to the car where Christopher demands to be taken somewhere quiet.

He agrees, and away from the other officers he tells the Inspector that he killed Sian with a knife to the back of the head. Christopher then goes on to admit Sian isn’t the only one he’s killed; there’s another girl he killed back around 2003-2005 too. As Steve uncovers the horrifying truth out in a separate field, the other officers find Sian’s body.

Steve heads back to the family and informs them what he knows – Christopher is in custody and arrested. Although Steve managed to find another body, he broke protocol and didn’t let Christopher see a solicitor when he asked, leaving big question marks over the validity of his confession. Unfortunately, the solicitor plays on this fact too, questioning Steve’s handling of the investigation during the four hours he wasn’t granted access to him after being arrested.

After briefing the others on this development and trying desperately to pin evidence on Christopher given his earlier confession, two officers confront Steve outside and tell him the confessions weren’t PACE compliant and that could spell big trouble for him. He declines, of course, and proceeds to speak infront of the court where he asks for more time to collect forensic evidence. After his statement, Christopher’s lawyer asks him outright if he’s been recording their private conversations, which he declines again. As the court recess to deliberate what to do, Steve heads in to Christopher’s house with the intention of finding evidence to pin on him.

We then cut forward to 4th April 2011 with Steve bringing Christopher’s daughter in, wearing a wire, with the intention of getting him to repeat his confession. Knowing he’s being recorded, Christopher tells her to say no more while Steve receives confirmation of the DNA match for the second girl, proceeding to tell the family the bad news.

I’ve commented a few times on the camera work so I won’t get into that again but within that framework, there’s a really nice shot here of the family receiving the news about Sian in silence. As the camera hangs outside the doors, with the audio muffled, seeing the family’s faces turn from hope to anguish really soldifies the gravity of this case and how much of a toll this had on them. It’s an impressive, poignant scene and one of the stand-outs of this series that, so far, has been pretty run-of-the-mill in the way its woven this tale.

Of course, this happens to be ITV’s forte and the entire series has been pretty rigid by design. When you compare it to Manhunt however, A Confession just can’t quite match up to the same standards, especially on a technical level. Still, the story itself is heartbreaking and the accurate depiction of events does well to paint a portrait of what’s happened, which is certainly the strongest part of the series. As all eyes turn to Steve’s capability as an officer, the final three episodes look set to really push Martin Freeman to flex those acting muscles and showcase an officer under fire.


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