Katherine Kelly’s lead performance is excellent but I’m not sure there’s enough here to justify reviving Innocent into an anthology series
“Everything they stole from me, I want it all back”
Three years after its first series, Matthew Arlidge and Chris Lang’s Innocent returns to ITV, re-emerging as an anthology series. So we’re now in the Lake District, focusing on the murder of 16-year-old Matty Taylor for which teacher Sally Wright has done several years inside. Five years down the line, new evidence has exonerated her and laced with vengeance, she returns to Keswick to reclaim what she believes is hers.
Initially, it’s an intriguing twist on the format as Katherine Kelly plays Sally with all the spikiness and rough edges that you would expect from someone who believes they’ve been wrongfully imprisoned. Removing children from the equation, which instantly created sympathy for Season 1’s ‘victim’ David, there’s a more visceral sense of injustice permeating this narrative, which is paired with Kelly’s impassive forthrightness as Sally.
Naturally there’s a hunky husband that she’s lost (the delectable Jamie Bamber) to his new partner Karen (the excellent Priyanga Burford). And a job that she’s intent on regaining, with an improbable determination to work in the exact same school where she was, regardless of all the muckraking around alleged affairs with Matty before his death. And though it is always best to dispense with this kind of nit-picking, she gets her DBS clearance to work there again incredibly quickly…!!
Reinvestigating the case of Matty’s murder is down to Shaun Dooley’s DCI Braithwaite, a curiously retrograde interpretation of the investigating officer which falls into many of the tired clichés of the male, pale, stale kind of way. It means there’s less drive to the unravelling of the truth of what happens and ultimately, less impact to the revelations that eventually come pouring forth, which felt a little predictable this time around. Not sure this second season was really warranted on this evidence.