Critical Condition: The Trial: A Murder in the Family

The Trial: A Murder in the Family | TVNZ 1, 9.30 Monday

☆☆☆ “The idea is to explore the internal workings of a criminal court through a made-up case. A fictional university lecturer stands trial for murdering his estranged wife. They, and various witnesses, are well played by actors. The barristers are real and play themselves … From my memory of jury duty, it mostly feels authentic, and the invented murder has the firm untitillating smack of ordinariness.” — The Telegraph.

☆☆☆☆ “The case is a good one, with loads of emotional appeal, twists, another man, possibly another suspect, an unborn child, now never to be born. … It is all utterly absorbing, and we are still a long way off the big deliberation in the jury room. I’ve no idea what the verdict will be, but I think they will get it right. I know I will be there to witness it.” — The Guardian.

☆☆☆☆ The Trial is far removed from the theatrics of glossy TV courtroom dramas such as Law & Order or The Good Wife. Indeed, in many ways, with its drab municipal backdrop and the reluctance of witnesses to weep and wail in the box, it ought to be a yawn. In reality though — and with the help of smart editing — it provides a gripping insight into how cases are argued in court.” — Financial Times.

☆☆☆☆ “If only The Trial had had the courage of its possible eventual conviction and simply filmed this process. Instead it is souped-up with interviews, CCTV footage, police interrogations and lunchtime chats between the barristers and their juniors. Individually the scenes feel authentic enough. Cumulatively they detract from the realism of the exercise by refusing to acknowledge the law’s longueurs.” — The Times.

☆☆☆☆ “Channel 4 launches a groundbreaking new docudrama this week, and judging from the first episode, it’s bound to be your next TV obsession. We’ve all become fascinated with true crime documentaries like Serial and Making a Murderer in recent years, while classic crime dramas and whodunnits, from Sherlock to Midsomer Murders, have long been a staple. The Trial: A Murder in the Family brilliantly combines the two – a ‘true crime, not true crime’ if you will.” — Digital Spy.

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