TV Review: The Drowning (Channel 5)

I’d follow Deborah Findlay anywhere but Channel 5’s schlocky drama The Drowning might have been a step too far

“I understand how it feels to lose someone”

The premise of The Drowning, Channel 5’s newest original drama, seemed intriguing enough and its first episode mostly delivered on that promise. At a family picnic, 4 year old Tom goes missing, drowned in a lake, and his mother’s life naturally shatters. Nine years later, Jodie spots a teenage boy who bears a scar on his face that looks just like one Tom has and becomes convinced that it is, in fact, her son.

Directed by Carolina Giammetta, Luke Watson and Francesca Brill’s drama has clear designs on aping the Nordic Noir vibes of many a Scandi-drama, not least in its beautiful colour palette, but it is let down by some horrific writing choices that see it veer far closer to trashy thriller than affecting crime drama in the vein of, say, Unforgotten.

The plot is just full of unnecessary contrivances as Jill Halfpenny’s Jodie moves heaven and earth to prove that ‘Daniel’ is in fact ‘Tom’, inveigling her way into his high school as a music tutor. It wouldn’t be so much of a problem if the show wasn’t posing as something so seriously-minded but time and again, details are just brushed aside as she makes it onto school property without a DBS, secures a fake one in the blink of an eye, gets access to police witnesses and that’s before we make any mention of DNA tests.

Throw in an utterly preposterous twist of a resolution which throws away any of the goodwill that might have accrued over the previous three episodes and you’re left sorely disappointed. With names like Rupert Penry-Jones, Jade Anouka and the wonderful Deborah Findaly in the cast, I’d high hopes for The Drowning but they were all left floundering. Avoid.

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