The Suspicions of Mr Whicher

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher is a British series of television films made by Hat Trick Productions for ITV, written by Helen Edmundson and Neil McKay. It stars Paddy Considine in the title role of detective inspector Jack Whicher of the Metropolitan Police.[1] The first film, The Murder at Road Hill House (broadcast in 2011), was based on the real-life Constance Kent murder case of 1860,[2] as interpreted by Kate Summerscale in her 2008 book The Suspicions of Mr Whicher or The Murder at Road Hill House.

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher
Suspicions of Mr Whicher.jpg
The Suspicions of Mr Whicher DVD cover
Based onThe Suspicions of Mr Whicher or The Murder at Road Hill House
by Kate Summerscale
Written byHelen Edmundson
Neil McKay
StarringPaddy Considine
Tim Pigott-Smith
William Beck
Nancy Carroll
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of episodes4
Production
Running time95 minutes
Production company(s)Hat Trick Productions
Release
Original networkITV
Original release25 April 2011 (2011-04-25) –
14 September 2014 (2014-09-14)

Subsequent episodes are fictionalised accounts of Whicher's career as a private enquiry agent. McKay wrote the first of these, The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: The Murder In Angel Lane, which was filmed in early 2013 and was broadcast on 12 May 2013. It was followed by two episodes written by Edmundson, The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: Beyond the Pale, broadcast on 7 September 2014, and The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: The Ties that Bind, broadcast on 14 September 2014. Considine later announced on Twitter that the show would not be continuing.[3]

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: The Murder at Road Hill HouseEdit

SynopsisEdit

When three-year-old Saville Kent is found murdered in dreadful circumstances at the family home in Wiltshire, Commissioner Mayne (Tim Pigott-Smith) sends Scotland Yard detective Inspector Jack Whicher (Paddy Considine) to investigate the crime. Local Superintendent Foley (Tom Georgeson) believes that the murder is an 'inside job', committed by Saville's nurse Elizabeth Gough (Kate O'Flynn), whom he suspects the child had seen in bed with a man, possibly the child's father, Samuel Kent (Peter Capaldi) but whom he is forced to release due to lack of evidence.

When Whicher arrives, Foley, suspicious of this outsider and his progressive police methods, reluctantly agrees to help. The focus of Whicher's investigation is a torn and blood-stained piece from a woman's undergarment that had been found during the initial search for the missing boy. Constance Kent (Alexandra Roach), Samuel Kent's sixteen-year-old daughter from his first marriage, claims that one of her three night-gowns had been lost by the laundress. When Dr. Stapleton (Ben Miles), the family's doctor tells Whicher that Constance, like her late mother, is mentally unstable and resentful of Saville, her father's son from his second marriage, she immediately becomes Whicher's prime suspect. It is discovered that Constance and her younger brother William Saville-Kent (Charlie Hiett) hate their stepmother Mary (Emma Fielding) — who had, in fact, been employed as their former nanny, with whom their father had had an affair while their mother was dying.

He visits a schoolmate of Constance, Emma Moody, who tells him that Constance enjoyed hurting Saville. As the circumstantial evidence builds, Whicher arrests Constance, he having been convinced that she had killed her half-brother out of revenge against her father for his treatment of her mother and his neglect of her and William, but he fails to get a confession from her or William. Whicher desperately seeks Constance's missing nightdress, which he believes she wore while murdering her half-brother, as the key evidence to proving her guilt.

He suspects Constance disposed of the blood-soaked nightdress after the murder, and tricked everyone into believing it had been lost by the washerwoman. However, he cannot find the nightdress and at her trial, her lawyer discredits Whicher's case by wilfully misrepresenting it. Emma Moody is called as a witness, but she lies and states that Constance adored her half-brother, and Constance is acquitted. Whicher accuses Mr. Kent of abetting the wrongful acquittal.

Whicher's reputation is destroyed. He suffers a breakdown and leaves the police force. Five years later, in 1865, Constance confesses her guilt to a clergyman, the Rev. Arthur Wagner (Antony Byrne), and is re-tried. In court the Rev. Wagner gives a declaration that he must withhold any information on the grounds that it had been received under the seal of "sacramental confession". At the same time it is revealed that Superintendent Foley had withheld evidence from Whicher during the original investigation. This time Constance Kent admits her guilt, but refuses to corroborate Whicher's theory that her brother was also involved in the murder.

Constance Kent is sentenced to death. However, viewers are informed by means of captions that due to public outcry after the trial the sentence is commuted to life in prison, that she is released after serving twenty years, and that she emigrates to Australia where she dies at the age of 100.

CastEdit

The drama was directed by James Hawes and was written by Neil McKay, based on the book The Suspicions of Mr Whicher or The Murder at Road Hill House by Kate Summerscale.

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: The Murder In Angel LaneEdit

The second film in the series was made in 2013. Paddy Considine returned as Whicher, now a private inquiry agent.[4] Olivia Colman co-starred.[5] The script was written by Neil McKay. It was directed by Christopher Menaul with Mark Redhead as executive producer, and Rob Bullock as producer. It was filmed on location in Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire, and central London in early 2013.

SynopsisEdit

Former police Detective Inspector Jack Whicher (Paddy Considine) finds wealthy Susan Spencer (Olivia Colman) searching for her 16-year-old niece Mary Drew in a low public house in London's notorious Angel Lane. She enlists his services to find her niece. Mary is found brutally murdered in Angel Lane, robbed of a family heirloom and having recently given birth to a child, Spencer persuades Whicher to work for her privately to investigate the murder.

The search begins for Stephen Gann (William Postlethwaite), Mary's 19-year-old lover and the father of her child. Whicher finds the missing child at a refuge for fallen women run by Roman Catholic nuns which had taken her in. Some days later he confronts Gann, who in a struggle pulls a knife which appears to be the murder weapon and makes his escape, leaving the knife behind.

Whicher seeks the help of his former colleagues in the Metropolitan Police, including 'Dolly' Williamson (William Beck) and Commissioner Mayne (Tim Pigott-Smith), but, with the exception of Inspector Lock (Shaun Dingwall), they warn Whicher off from interfering in what is a police matter. When Whicher visits Miss Spencer’s country home he learns that her father had been murdered by Gann’s father.

Whicher’s investigation takes him to a lunatic asylum, to question Gann's grandfather, where his suspicions lead to a fresh grave being reopened but without finding the body he expects to be found hidden in it. Shaken by his failure and convinced that he no longer possesses the skills necessary to solve the crime Whicher decides to give up the investigation but then discovers a new clue after Mary Drew’s funeral when he finds Stephen Gann at Mary's grave. Whicher seems to be close to solving the case and returns to the asylum where he is accused of being mentally unstable and after a struggle is strapped into a straitjacket and locked up at the instigation of Dr Casement (Alistair Petrie) and Inspector Lock.

Stephen Gann's grandfather is also an inmate in the asylum. He finally reveals the identity of Susan Spencer's father's murderer. It was his other son, Gann's wealthy uncle, Thomas, who was also the father of Mary Drew. Whicher makes his escape and confronts those responsible for her murder in a chilling finale.

CastEdit

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: Beyond the PaleEdit

SynopsisEdit

Mr Whicher is approached by Sir Edward Shore MP, who had been Home Secretary when Whicher was dismissed from the police force (he signed the dismissal letter). Sir Edward wants Whicher to look into threats made against his son Charles, who has recently returned to London from India with his wife and children. Charles is being pursued by Asim Jabour, an Indian seeking money or revenge, now passing as a lascar (Indian sailor) in the Docklands.

Sir Edward wants the affair dealt with secretly, not by the police. But then Asim is found murdered, and Whicher demands that the Shores tell him the whole story and identify the dead man to the police. Whicher's investigation uncovers betrayal and interracial secrets in both Docklands and upper-class London.

The historic Chatham Dockyard in Kent was used as a film location for some of the London streets and docks.[6]

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: The Ties That BindEdit

SynopsisEdit

Whicher follows a married woman through London to a secret assignation. He is bearing witness to an open and shut case that will lead to divorce for Sir Henry Coverley from his wife Lady Jane. But, when the co-respondent is killed, a simple case soon spirals out of control, embracing love, desire, gambling, corruption, theft and an illicit passion that leads to murder.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ The Suspicions of Mr Whicher on the Paddy Considine website]
  2. ^ "The Road Hill Murder". The Ballarat Star. 20 November 1953. Retrieved 1 January 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  3. ^ Mr. Whicher will not be returning... Considine's tweet, 13 October 2014
  4. ^ 'Paddy Considine to reprise role in Suspicions of Mr Whicher sequel' Metro 6 December 2012
  5. ^ 'Olivia Colman joins the cast of The Suspicions of Mr Whicher' ITV Press Centre 11 January 2013
  6. ^ Kent Film Office (28 August 2014). "The Suspicions of Mr Whicher (2014)".

External linksEdit