Welcome To The Pressure Cooker
Episode 1 of the United Kingdom portion of Criminal begins with arguably the best slice of drama on offer in this series. We begin with Dr Fallon inside an interview room repeating the words “no comment” toward allegations of him sexually assaulting and killing his teenage stepdaughter.
As the two interrogators try a myriad of different tactics, Tony tells Fallon that No Comment doesn’t legally make him innocent. With two hours left to get a confession from him, things are going right down to the wire. It’s here they learn that from the Doctor’s report from the victim shows Fallon’s stepdaughter wasn’t a virgin. Tony then goes on to ask Fallon outright if he was having a sexual relationship with his 14-year-old step-daughter Nicky. At this point, he visibly shows signs of being rattled, as he grabs the pen and begins nervously twirling it before his lawyer asks for a 5 minute break.
At 5.53pm we reconvene the interview and the interrogators, Tony and Hugo, get right on the case by bringing up photos of the incident. With 23 hours now gone, the police in the room next door worry they’re not going to get Fallon to admit the truth. This prompts Detective Paul Ottager to enter the room as Hugo leaves, staring straight into Fallon’s eyes for an extended period of time as he sits down.
It’s here we learn the victim’s skull was knocked into 17 pieces while Ottager tells him they have good grounds to charge Fallon, given his “no comment” pleas. He tells them that if this goes to trial, the jury would probably find him guilty. It’s a more direct tactic and one that has Fallon on the edge of potentially divulging the truth.
This finally sees him snap and begin talking. He tells them that Andrews, the coach who was at Nicky’s netball games, is responsible for killing her. She admitted to Fallon that she was having an affair, prompting them to fight in his hotel room. After pushing her through a glass coffee table, he goes on to say that’s how she hurt her wrist. Knowing that Nicky planned on outing their relationship, he goes on to deduce that this may have been the catalyst for her death. Fallon continues his story, telling them that the bruise would have had to develop over time and between breakfast and going to see Andrews, there’s no way he could have killed her.
After another momentary break, Tony heads back inside the room where he brings up the receipt from a nearby garage. It turns out he had the car cleaned along with filling up petrol. It’s here he brings this back to the story involving the Doctor’s bag, which Fallon conveniently forgets about as Paul informs that there’s 3 minutes left to get a confession. Hurriedly, he tells Fallon that Nicky was in the boot alive and he decided to frame Andrews for what happened as he was an easy scapegoat.
With 45 seconds to go, Tony unleashes a barrage of evidence against him, including marks on the plaster of Nicky’s arm and a detailed account of what happened. Unfortunately, it’s here we run out of time. They tell Fallon he’ll be charged with rape and murder and as he’s taken away, Fallon tells Paul his daughter is lucky to have a Father like him. However, as it happens Paul doesn’t actually have a daughter.
As we close out the episode, our detectives shut off the lights as a solitary camera remains fixed on the empty interview room.
Criminal gets off to a great start here, with an episode chock full of drama and tension. At times you really believe that Fallon is telling the truth too but as the evidence begins tumbling out at the end, you realize how easily the police could be manipulated and how difficult it is to get the real stories out. It actually acts as an appreciation for what the police do and the reveal at the end involving Paul lying about having a daughter is a really nice touch that only adds to this.
With some decent camera work and good acting across the board, Criminal delivers one of its best episodes here, propped up by a great bit of acting by David Tennant.