21st Mar2016

‘Murder: The Complete Series’ DVD Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Joe Dempsie, Karla Crome, Anne-Marie Duff, Peter Bowles, Robert Pugh, Michael Smiley | Written by Robert Jones


We tend to get used to the structure of crime based shows, they follow certain rules. With Murder: The Complete Series this is turned on its head by providing the stories in a documentary style, based on interviews after the case has finished. You’ll probably expect there to be a few twists, which of course there are many.

Featuring not only the series itself, but also Murder: Joint Enterprise we meet characters connected to the murders and they set their case. This can be family of the murdered person, witnesses or the accused person themselves, all ready to give their information over to us. We then have to decide exactly what has happened and who is the real culprit.

When we are given the facts in this way, as the audience it is easy for us to make our decisions on just what has happened. It probably comes as no surprise that we then learn more about the case which turns it all on its head. The truth is, we don’t know the full truth until we get the full story, which makes each episode entertaining.

Looking at the episodes the best of the lot is Murder: Joint Enterprise which was the BAFTA winning original episode that led to more episodes being commission. Starring Joe Dempsie and Karla Crome, the two young actors give excellent performances. The story in this episode feels more refined and intense. It is no surprise that this episode won awards and sowed the seeds for people wanting more.

What is nice to see though is that even if the newer episodes aren’t as good as Joint Enterprise, this doesn’t mean that they aren’t impressive. Taking away some of the need for drama and storytelling there doesn’t feel to be any wasted scenes. We are given the facts to the case, and we get this information straight from the people who are close to the face. They may lie to us at first and try to deceive us, but in the end we are given the truth. The fact we also get to see the murder itself at the end of each episode helps.

When it comes to the acting, not only are Joe Dempsie and Karla Crome good, but also the cast of the more recent episodes. Just looking at the list of actors which are included in Murder: The Complete Series shows the level of quality we are working with. Anne-Marie Duff, Peter Bowles, Robert Pugh, and Michael Smiley are just some of the names. With quality like this we get believable characters, whether we empathise with them or are shown the darker side of society. This is what makes a show like this work.

Murder: The Complete Series may not live up to the quality of Murder: Joint Enterprise, but with that episodes inclusion it makes up for a good set of episodes that really are worth your time to watch. We may have a lot of crime shows on television all trying to stand out from the crowd, but it takes shows like this to provide something a little different and most importantly make it work.

****½  4.5/5

Murder: The Complete Series is available on DVD in the UK now.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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