Persons of Interest
Episode 1 of Suspicion begins in Midtown, New York City with a kid grabbed in the middle of a hotel hallway. The thugs are all wearing masks. In view of the cameras, Leo Newman is stuffed into a suitcase. With the security footage uploaded onto a site called Go Leak, the NYPD have flagged four specific British suspects whom they believe were involved.
We then jump across to England where we see several different characters about to start a day like no other, oblivious to the storm about to be kicked up around them. And it doesn’t take long before the video goes viral.
Several different characters end up watching this video, which make up the bulk of our ensemble. In the Thompson household, deep in South East London, Natalie prepares for her wedding.
Meanwhile, a van driver called Aadesh prepares for his day, hiding his dire finances from his wife. It turns out he’s been in New York for a meeting with new clients, which is particularly awkward given they don’t have any money.
There’s also a university student called Heather who’s put on the spot by her professor, Tara, after laughing at the suitcase video. Tara is soon arrested though when police show up.
Over in New York, Leo’s mother, Katherine Newman, tasks an FBI agent called Scott Anderson to find her son. All he has to go on is that he studied at Oxford, which obviously brings him across to London. And quickly, he scoops up all the suspects from their current settings.
Interestingly over at the Thompson household, Natalie messages an unknown number who messages her mum. It’s from a loan shark.
On the eve of her wedding, Natalie heads out and meets the man whom she owes money to. She needs to pay the full amount plus interest and to “text when good.” Eventually she agrees to meet at Selby Road, where Natalie catches up with her mum’s contact and agrees to pay up. Only… they’re being followed.
After losing her tail, Natalie shows up back home again and prepares for her wedding. Unfortunately, she’s arrested just as she’s about to walk down the aisle. As she’s bundled into the back of her car and taken to Bishop’s Gate Police Station, Natalie is complicit with what’s happening
Another character interspersed around all this drama is Sean, a man on a flight that touches down in Berlin. Noticing police arriving at the plane, Sean convinces the flight attendant to let him use the toilet. Eventually she succumbs to his pleasant attitude.
As he heads inside, Sean grabs a different passport, changes his look and manages to slip off the flight completely undetected. The door to the lavatory is kept locked and police soon bust in… only to find it empty.
All the suspects are rounded up (minus Sean who slips through security and steals a motorcycle) and that’s where we’re introduced to Vanessa Okoye, who happens to be a senior investigating officer from the Anti Kidnap and Extortion Unit.
Through a slick rotating shot, we see four main characters read their rights, including how they can have a lawyer present if they so wish. None of them want to, but as they sit in their holding cells, the camera pans across to Scott in the US, who contemplates whether they have the right guys.
The Episode Review
Suspicion gets off to a pretty shaky start, with more cuts than a Transformers action sequence (okay maybe not that bad.) The editing is all over the shop and while I appreciate the intention here is to intentionally distort the story and make this confusing, it actually takes a long time to get a feel for what’s happening and that detracts from the enjoyment.
How on earth they deduced that these four guys are the suspects in the masks is beyond me, especially given there are billions of people on the planet but I’m sure we’ll find out over time.
The cinematography is pretty good, although the dialogue at times borders on preachy and at worse, feels completely unnatural. The editing, as mentioned earlier, is the biggest culprit here and the unnatural reactions from all of those arrested is either a sign that they’re hiding something or, again, playing into the unnatural characters at the helm of this one. I’ll let you be the judge of that!
One thing’s for sure though, Suspicion’s ambitions to be a competent and enthralling thriller will rest on the next few episodes and how the story comes together. We shall see.