Innocent episode 1 review

Lee Ingleby plays a prisoner whose conviction is overturned in new four-part ITV thriller Innocent. Spoilers ahead…

This review contains spoilers.

Hands up if you think David Collins killed his wife.

[Totting up] That’s a fair few of you, considering his conviction was just overturned – you’re clearly seasoned crime TV viewers primed to expect twists. DI Beech (Nigel Lindsay), you can put your hand down now, seeing as you’re the one who put David away for life. The same goes for Alice (Hermione Norris), the victim’s sister – we all know what you think from the way you were carrying on in court.

Those of you with your hands still up, what made you draw that conclusion? Was it the Cape Fear-style press-ups we saw David (Lee Ingleby) doing on the floor his brother’s coastal cabin? Or the efficient manner in which he set about punching a former pal at the boatyard? Perhaps it was the serial killer vibe he gave off when he let himself into his ex-best-friend’s place and awaited his arrival in darkness.

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The more forensically minded of you may point to David’s wife’s blood being found on his jacket, accusations of prior domestic violence, or his alibi being undermined by the aforementioned ex-best-friend who, we learn, David thinks was having an affair with his wife.

Now, hands up if you think somebody else killed Tara Collins.

[Counting] Not quite as many. Obviously you do, Phil, you’re David’s brother and you’ve been campaigning for his release for years. And David, son, stop it. Putting both hands in the air and bouncing up and down on your chair isn’t doing you any favours. Why not go back to gazing in wonder at the well-stocked chilled section of a corner shop while the rest of us work this out.

You’d stand in a state of beatific grace in front of a shelf of Spar shop melons too if you’d just spent a stretch inside. We all would. And, deprived of the simple pleasure of carpet for seven years, we’d also all press our toes into a deep-pile rug like children letting themselves sink joyfully into sand at the beach. Innocent, written by Unforgotten creator Chris Lang and Matthew Arlidge, and directed by Doctor Who’s Richard Clark, includes just enough small, true moments like those in episode one to smooth over an unremarkably generic plot.

A murdered woman, a man who may or may not have killed her fighting to prove his innocence… as premises go, it’s about as exciting and unusual as a kilogram bag of uncooked pasta.

Like a kilogram bag of uncooked pasta, Innocent is a staple that’s likely to be found in most homes around the country this week. ITV has made it easy for us by airing all four episodes in one big serving over the next three nights. We just need to be on our sofas at the same time each evening and a dollop of crime drama will be spooned onto our plates. It’s solid, reliable stuff. We know what it’s going to taste like, we know it’ll give us something to chew on, and we know that like most platefuls of pasta, it’ll fill a gap but we’re unlikely to give it too much thought once it’s over.

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Innocent continues this Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 9pm on ITV.