Criminal Record – Season 1 Episode 1 “Emergency Caller” Recap & Review

Emergency Caller

Criminal Record Episode 1 begins with a car driving through the city of London. The man driving is Daniel Hegarty, and he’s working as a chauffeur, with a couple in the back of his car. Hegarty reveals that he’s actually a police officer. They are surprised to learn this and start asking him questions about it. Hegarty doesn’t reveal his reasons for moonlighting as a chauffeur, but he does share a story about his day job, which shocks the couple. 

Elsewhere on the same night, a woman enters a phone box and makes a call to the police. The police dispatcher is called Jasmine Peters, and she listens as the woman is scared for her life because of her abusive partner. Jasmine tries to get a location on where she is and encourages her to reveal her name and the name of her abuser, but she refuses. The woman claims her partner has threatened to kill her just like he did his ex-girlfriend years ago. She claims another person was prosecuted for the murder before she hangs up. 

Jasmine reports the call to DC June Lenker, and she follows up by watching the footage. She is also intrigued by the link to an old case and looks into it. So asks DCI Roy Chambers about it but he tries to dissuade June from following it up. Chambers tells her Daniel Hegarty was the SIO on the case and advises her to send him an email to enquire about the case. June searches the database for men who went to Whitecross prison for similar charges and stumbles upon Errol Mathis, who is serving 24 years for murder, just like the woman in the phone box said. 

June visits DCI Hegarty’s office, rather than sending the email, and discusses the issue with him. He listens to the details about the caller but attempts to dismiss it. Hegarty claims all the information she told Jasmine about the case was already in the public domain. He claims Errol was a ‘poor man’s OJ,’ which irks June as it comes across as racist. 

Back at home that evening, June mentions the OJ reference to her white partner Leo, who plays devil’s advocate and thinks she’s barking up the wrong tree. We also meet her 12-year-old son, whom she gives a big hug to. 

Hegarty gets in touch with Chambers and tells him to do anything to stop June from digging into the murder case. We see him walking his dog at night and returning home. A woman is sleeping on the sofa, and he covers her up with a blanket. It isn’t revealed who this woman is. 

The next day, June tries to log into her account but has been locked out. Soon after, she is called into Chambers office, where two people from the Professional Standards Division are there to speak to her, informing her of a random investigation into her searches. June thinks Hegarty is behind it to stop her looking into the case. She sees it as a challenge and goes to meet a woman called Sonya, who worked on Errol’s case. June learns some interesting information about the court case. For instance, the bite marks on the victim’s body did not match Errol’s sample. However, Errol confessed to murdering the victim whose name was Adelaide. 

June is pretty set on this case being prejudiced by racism, and she learns that Errol’s son Patrick testified in the case, claiming to hear sounds behind a door where the murder took place. We learn about Patrick, that he was arrested for possession at 12 years old but was let go, and has now turned his life around and turns up for a new job working in a kitchen and is approached by his grandmother, who then passes her phone to him with Errol on the line, but he hangs up, refusing to talk to him. Elsewhere, Jasmine gets another call from the same woman from the beginning of the episode. This time, she gives her name as Maria. She calls June and patches her into the call with Maria.

The episode ends with June telling Maria to hold her keys up with the sharp end and to scratch her abusive boyfriend in the face as he enters the room to attack her. She races to the block of flats where she is to save her, but as she turns up, Maria has been thrown from the 9th floor of the flats and lies dead on the floor. 

The Episode Review

Episode 1 sets up an intriguing premise for this new crime drama on Apple TV+, and the two central performances are both strong, with Peter Capaldi and Cush Jumbo squaring off against each other as detectives Daniel Hegarty and June Lenker, as the latter looks into an old investigation where she thinks a man has been wrongly convicted.

There are aspects of the case that have been ripped from the headlines, and a couple of interesting nods to the OJ Simpson case with one joke that amuses an otherwise dark episode. It’s entertaining stuff, but there is one moment where junk science is used to explain why a suspect is innocent, which if you follow your true crime, it’ll irritate you. Other than that, it’s a decent watch and intriguing enough to keep watching.


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You can look forward to a full season review when this show ends!

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