Critical Condition: Mrs Wilson

Mrs Wilson | TVNZ 1, 9.30 Sunday

☆☆☆☆ Mrs. Wilson is an entertaining but daunting experience. Heavy on drama but light on action, the piece methodically deconstructs a widow’s reckoning of her late husband when all of his deceit comes crashing down around her after he’s gone. Every time she finds out something horrible about him – and there’s a lot – we aren’t privy to his actual actions, just her pained and difficult-to-watch reaction.” — Variety.

☆☆☆ “It is a great story – we may know whodunnit but the how and the why tugs us onwards – but it is also a slow, melancholy meditation on how much and how little we can know about each other; about the traps that love and trust lay down for us and how much you can get away with if you simply decide that the normal rules shall not apply to you.” — The Guardian.

☆☆☆☆ Mrs Wilson owes its existence entirely to the actor Ruth Wilson. She pushed for it to be made and she is its star. The series is highly personal to her, being the story of her bigamist grandfather, Alex (Iain Glen), and his third wife and her grandmother, Alison (Wilson), who only discovered his secret lives in the hours and days after his death in 1963. But those expecting the worst (I must admit that I was) need have no fear. It’s excellent.” — New Statesman.

☆☆☆☆ “The fact that all this is based on the story of Ruth Wilson’s own grandmother (which means Wilson is playing her father’s mum) undeniably adds a certain frisson — or possibly a whole new level of weirdness. Even without that, however, this would still be a powerfully intriguing piece of work; and at a time when even most good dramas feel like they’re slightly showing off, a refreshingly understated one.” — The Spectator.

☆☆☆Mrs Wilson is an interesting flip to the common fictional narrative where someone discovers their loved one has been a spy all these years. It feels like something William Boyd might have written, although you wonder how it’s going to adequately explain the interior life of Alex. The psychology of duplicity is a murky theme, but the fact that I feel a burning wish to know more about Alec suggests how well this melancholic mystery is working.” — The Times.

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