Series 2 of Liar shifts the focus from rape to murder but does little to raise this from bog-standard thriller territory
“Sometimes bad things happen and we just have to deal with them”
Was the world calling out for a second season of Liar? When the first apparently did such great numbers for ITV, it seems the decision was inevitable but it has taken more than two years for it to arrive and I’m not sure that it carries the same level of impetus with it – I don’t imagine ratings will have held up to anywhere near the same degree.
That first series did show much promise, complicating a rape story by presenting a he said/she said narrative that asked some big questions. But midway through, Liar tipped its hand and ended up as a bog-standard thriller and it is in that same spirit that it continues here. A bit of story-telling trickery allows for Ioan Gruffudd’s Andrew to return alongside Joanne Froggatt as Laura but I have to say I really wasn’t gripped.
Having been unmasked as a serial rapist, the final shot of the last episode saw Andrew’s corpse bobbing around in the atmospheric Kent wetlands and so naturally, Liar turns into a murder mystery this time around. Katherine Kelly’s hard-bitten DI rocks up to investigate the death and soon finds evidence pointing in Laura’s direction. But with so many potential suspects in town, cracking the case isn’t anywhere near as straightforward as that.
Thing is though, it’s kinda hard to care. There’s a chilliness to so much of the characterisation here that you don’t exactly find yourself rooting for any of them. I admire the determination not to make Laura particularly likeable but it can get a bit much, especially in her rocky relations with the police. Kelly’s Renton similarly overdoes the flintiness, the fallout of Laura’s sister’s affair burbles on without much impact, heck we don’t even get to care about the lesbians (Jill Halfpenny deserves better).
And as red herring is flung after red herring, as questionable rapist origin stories are aired alongside questionable portrayals of suicidal young men, there’s little to make this series stand out in the way the first episodes of the first season did. The reliance on flashbacks ends up dragging the pace down and worst of all, Kieran Bew’s Ian (representing well for handsome bearded chaps called Ian) is done extremely dirty (without giving anything away, just think about his treatment in Episode 2 and then Episode 6 and what that ends up meaning about the person in question – run Ian run!).