DVD Review: The Guilty

Upon its release, The Guilty was frequently compared­, usually
negatively­, to the far more celebrated and honored television series
Broadchurch. There are several reasons for this. Both series focus
on the investigation of the murder of a young boy. Both have a
determined female detective investigating the case while balancing
work and family life. Both investigations uncover shattering secrets with

the potential to destroy families. In both series, a small, seemingly close and innocent community is torn apart by suspicion.

For all of these similarities, there are good reasons why Broadchurch
became a television phenomenon in England, whereas The Guilty proved
far less popular. The Guilty is composed of only three episodes, each
45 minutes long. The storyline moves back and forth between 2008 and 2013. In the earlier timeline, we see four-year-old Callum Reid (Daniel Runacres-Grundstrom) vanish after a neighborhood barbecue, and in the later timeline, we discover that his family has
been waiting five years for him to be found. All hopes of a happy
ending are dashed when a nearby construction project unearths Callum’s
body, and suddenly all of the dark secrets of a small residential
neighborhood are exposed as the police start digging around for

As the investigation unfolds, DCI Maggie Brand (Tamsin Greig) uncovers
sordid affairs, travels to Germany to track down a long-lost witness,
and deals with her own son’s autism-spectrum diagnosis. This last
revelation is meant to add to the emotional and professional burdens
Brand has to endure, but there’s no real payoff for the plotline. I
thought of three different ways that her son’s autism could have
inadvertently helped Brand realize the truth and solve the case, but
as it stands, it’s a missed opportunity. One other problem with the plot
is that only a few of the characters are sufficiently developed to make them satisfying suspects, so savvy viewers will not have many potential villains to consider.

The Guilty is an interesting mystery, though it lacks the vivid
characterization or memorable dialogue that makes for a superlative
television experience. Viewers will find it reasonably diverting fare,
but the miniseries’ competence never comes close to greatness.

The Guilty

BBC Home Entertainment


$24.98 DVD

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