Media Partners | Contributors | Advertise | Contact | Log in | Saturday 1 April 2023

BBC's The Victim is a refreshing take on the popular British drama


Share This Article:

The BBC mini-series The Victim is full of originality, emotion and unpredictability, successfully navigating the previously unexplored territory of child criminality.

Image Credit: BBC

Over four episodes The Victim tells the story of Anna Dean, a grieving mother seeking to avenge her son, Liam, who was murdered 15 years earlier. The killer, Eddie J. Turner, lives a new life under a new identity, having been just a child himself at the time of the murder.

Though the new identity of Liam’s killer is is uncertain until the end of the series , a man called Craig Myers is brutally attacked after  his image and address is circulated online. With Dean accused of instigating the attack on Myers, it is uncertain who the real victim is: the woman whose son has been murdered or the man who may have been falsely accused?

Creator Rob Williams has confirmed that The Victim is not based on one true event, but it is difficult to not see the similarity between the plot and certain real-life cases. As such a sensitive topic, it was important for Williams to get a story about child criminality, new identity and victimhood right. With Liam’s killer having served his time, the series explores the moral implications of a new identity and inspects how lives are changed forever after such a heinous crime.

The attack, interspersed with courtroom scenes, makes for a bold opening, leaving viewers somewhat disorientated from the beginning. At times it is exhausting to watch due to the absence of comedic relief (I don’t think Tom Carpenter’s vulgar comments can be counted) but it feels appropriate due to the dark subject matter.

Driven by a stellar performance from Kelly Macdonald, who plays Anna, the story is an intimate insight into life after the loss of a child and the repercussions of a renewed identity. James Harkness, who plays the man accused of killing her son under a new identity, gives an equally convincing performance as Craig Myers. Unfortunately, other members of the cast give performances that pale in comparison, but this fails to take away from the overall effect.

Whilst the line between victim and criminal seem clear at times, it takes viewers on a turbulent ride where no one seems to be entirely innocent. The only true victim seems to be Liam, the young child killed over a decade prior to the events in modern-day Scotland – the nuances in each character making you warm to people you would never expect to.

While some may find the ending unsatisfying, it is raw, realistic and emotive. The Victim has its fair share of twists, but none of them felt gratuitous – each one contributes well to the stunning finale carried by Harkness and Macdonald. The finale ensures that the series remains poignant and not driven by the desire to shock.

Questions may be left unanswered, but there is something enticing about a series where not everything is neatly laid out for the viewer. In reality, so many crimes are left with loose ends without justice being served, and this makes The Victim so much more convincing than so many other dramas.

Whilst the likes of Bodyguard and Line of Duty are exciting, sexy and bold, they sometimes lack the necessary dose of realism that The Victim has. It makes viewing uncomfortable to watch, but with no clear protagonist or antagonist, it’s a refreshing approach to the world of British drama.

The Victim is available on BBC iPlayer now.

Articles: 29
Reads: 202312
© 2023 is a website of Studee Limited | 15 The Woolmarket, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 2PR, UK | registered in England No 6842641 VAT # 971692974