A Confession review – a profoundly sad drama about suffering, strength – AuthenticAfrican

Posted on by Lucy Mangan

Martin Freeman plays the real-life police officer who destroyed his career to catch a killer in a drama that ignores manly heroism and focuses on the victims

I have noticed – and I feel it must be true, as life battered the wishful thinking out of me some time ago – the beginnings of a welcome trend in television drama, whereby the suffering of women is taking up more narrative time and space. Without being fetishised, as has most often been the case until recent years, I mean. Instead of using a rape or murder or some other awful violation as a mere plot point – often allowing a jaded detective to shrug off his detachment and enter the sleuthing fray anew – increasingly these horrors are given due weight, their impacts on the victim and their loved ones explored. They are more and more often (from one-offs such as Doing Money to series such as the recent I Am … trilogy) the subject itself. The likes of The Handmaid’s Tale, Big Little Lies and Fleabag get much of the glory and most of the headlines, but it is this more subtle but still seismic shift that offers hope that there has been a change in the attitude towards which stories are worth telling and which are not.

ITV’s new venture, the six-part drama A Confession, is an unexpected addition to this new order. It is, after all, the dramatisation of a true story that would play perfectly as a tale of manly heroism: how Det Supt Steve Fulcher chose to breach police protocol to catch a serial killer and in doing so sacrificed his own career and reputation.

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