It’s been a long time since a television drama has taken me on such an intense rollercoaster journey, although I have a tendency to agree with the viewing public who feel that the ending was a disappointment.
The premise of the ITV drama was the fall-out following the stabbing of Alex Bowker (Albie Marber) who loses his young life on the operating table. Jon Allerton (Adrian Lester) the Surgeon in charge of the case has been drinking alcohol as its his birthday, but he’s called in to work to plug the staff shortage. Nobody should go to work after a few drinks, but he does and it’s set to haunt him. Dan Bowker (John Simm) is also intoxicated as he has received news of impending redundancy from his job. He arrives at the Emergency Department to find Alex being wheeled into theatre and Jon quite confident that all will be well.
When time ticks on and there’s no news, so Dan takes it upon himself to track down his son and walks in on a very ‘bloody’ scene. Sadly, it’s not long before he and his wife, Susie (Lyndsey Marshal) are given the bad news. Dan can’t get it straight in his mind, to him it’s more than simply bereavement – and he wants answers.
The three-part series which was shown on three consecutive nights saw Dan infiltrate every area of Jon’s life in order to get to the bottom of the reason for his son’s death. From getting a job at the hospital coffee shop to engaging in Psychiatric appointments with Jon’s wife, Lisa (Rowena King) – the man is on a mission and it takes a sinister turn. Jon and Lisa’s daughter Alana (Jade Anouka) is the target of Dan’s discontent, eventually. This turn left audiences quite literally on a knife edge as it seemed as though Dan was going to take Jon’s child’s life in exchange for the death of Alex on the operating table.
The series dealt with class differences, deception and diversity too. The capacity this piece had to be an exceptional television programme was immense, however it didn’t quite follow through on the promise I felt was made at the start.
Was Alex’s ultimate untimely death due to Surgeon’s error? Yes it was, although to begin with I had expected Jon’s admission to be a lie in order to save his daughter. However, yes the Surgeon was at fault and to close, we saw Dan just beginning to get his life back on track with a happy family around him. Whilst simultaneously in the luxurious Allerton home Alana is moving out to live with her girlfriend.
John Simm and Adrian Lester were undoubtedly well cast in the series and I was extremely impressed by Jade Anouka’s portrayal of daughter, Alana, she put heart and soul into her performance. In fact, the whole cast were strong and worked brilliantly as an ensemble with powerful scenes peppered throughout. It’s the overall storyline which was full of flaws and inconsistency which was the unfortunate distraction.