Two Days in Ostend
The End of the Tunnel
The Victim’s Trial
A New Perpetrator
Under Suspicion is an interesting 5-part true crime documentary, examining the case surrounding Belgian politician Bernard Wesphael. Back in 2013, he was accused of murdering his wife Véronique Pirotton while on a 2-day getaway in Ostend. With strange noises coming from their hotel room and a pretty shaky story, Under Suspicion sets out to answer one big question – just what happened in that hotel room?
The first episode acts as a detailed re-enactment of the events leading up to the murder, including eye-witness accounts from other hotel guests and narration from Wesphael himself. This 2-day vacation soon turns to a hellish nightmare when Pirotton – according to Wesphael’s statement – commits suicide inside her hotel room while he’s asleep.
With Wesphael accused of murder and forced to stand trial, the other 4 episodes diversify the perspective to include police officers, family members and more, diving deep into the collected evidence. There’s a toxicology report, pillow fibers found on Veronique’s face and lots of eye-witness accounts that leave you wondering quite what to believe.
All of this builds up to a very open conclusion that leaves it up to you to figure out what really happened. In a way, this documentary feels similar to The Staircase or The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
While the documentary itself is solid, the series has a tendency to repeat crucial bits of information repeatedly and by the end it does become a little grating. It also doesn’t help that some of the camera work during interviews is all over the place. Regularly, the camera will flit from close-ups to medium shots and then a bizarre side-on view that feels more distracting than it needs to be.
Having said that, the series does have some highlights and these mostly come from the creative way everything is brought together to examine the case. Handwritten letters, text messages, CCTV footage and even heavy expository text on screen (accompanied by a bass drum sound) all combine to help give this some much-needed visual flair.
With an open ending and a brisk five parts to get through, Under Suspicion is a decent enough true-crime binge but fails to stand out next to so many others in this category. It’s certainly not a bad series but it doesn’t quite do enough to captivate your imagination next to so many other hard-hitting docs on the platform.