THE VICTIM centres around vengeance for Anna Dean, a mother struggling for justice for her murdered child - and Craig Myers who is the victim of an attack during Halloween.
The opening scene immediately builds tension through the solemn atmosphere of people entering court to start a trial, which is instantly juxtaposed with the ordinary daily-life of Craig (a bus-driver) and Anna (a nurse), six months earlier.
The illusion of the ordinary characters is instantly shattered when Craig is attacked at his home, opening the door for supposed trick-or-treaters, by a Grim Reaper, leaving him in a critical condition in hospital.
The role of social media and the press is explored in The Victim, leaving a potent message about the impact of gross accusations on an alleged culprit and the susceptibility of the public to point fingers and smear names.
The motivation of the attack is made clear when a photo of Craig goes up online, labelling him the child-killer, Eddie J. Turner, who killed Anna’s nine-year old son. The accumulation of likes on the photo reveals both the need for the Eddie’s new identity to be unknown due to the wrath of the public, as well as the issue of who Craig really is.
Craig’s wife, Rebecca, sums up the overwhelming grappling of truth and identity in the episode, as she states in trial “How well does anyone know anyone in the end?”
D.I. Grover seeks justice for Craig, defending him due to the absurdity that he could be Eddie. He takes a stand against the vigilantism of Anna, not appeasing her because of the trauma she has been through in the past, like many other members of the police force. Seemingly a moral character, he too, like all the characters, is somewhat fractured by his past, as he has moved police offices due to an ongoing issue with a female colleague.
The murder of the nine-year old (Liam), seems to consume both marriages. We can assume Anna’s unpopular decision to plead ‘not guilty’ to Craig’s attack will ultimately cause a rift between her and her family, as well as ironically neglecting her other son in replacement of seeking justice for her dead son.
Similarly, the gloomy atmosphere of the court is also reflected in Craig and Rebeca Myers’ marriage as she spares a glance at him through teary eyes when she goes to take the stand during trial.
I thoroughly enjoyed watching The Victim and would recommend to viewers who enjoyed the BBC drama The Cry. It holds the same emotional intensity, explores power-dynamics within a relationship and the death of a child.
I found the acting of Kelly Macdonald, who plays Anna, to be particularly convincing, finding myself more drawn to her perspective than that of Craig’s, played by James Harkness. Perhaps this is the point of The Victim, as one finds themselves more sympathetic with the attacker than the victim because of the lack of justice they received.
- Watched on BBC One. 08/04/2019