Wiltshire, 1860. A toddler is found brutally murdered near the elegant house of the respectable Kent family. The case becomes the subject of a frantic national interest and the Home Secretary requires the newly formed Scotland Yard Detective Branch to send its best sleuth. The commissioner chooses Inspector Jonathan "Jack" Whisher.
« Master Saville has been taken. »
The Suspicions of Mr Whicher is a two-hour one off crime drama adapted from the best-seller written by Kate Summerscale about the Road Hill House murder (the book won the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction). Paddy Considine (Red Riding, The Bourne Ultimatum, Hot Fuzz) stars as real-life character Jonathan Whicher, Britain's top investigator of his time and inspirator of many Victorian literary detectives.
The humble looking working-class inspector takes his toughest case yet, with the murder of the three-year old Saville Kent. Investigating the darkest secrets hidden behind the apparent respectability of the Kent family, Whicher is confronted to the scrutiny of newspapers, prejudices, and the hostility of the local police (« Of course this is not London, this in an English village. A world apart ».) Not only his reputation is at stake but the one of the Detective Branch too. His hierarchy, the judicial system and public opinion want a culprit as quickly as possible.
ITV revisited with absolute brilliance its Brideshead days with Downton Abbey. Now The Suspicions of Mr Whicher follows the glorious footsteps of the great Thames Television or Granada period detectives, with the modern resonance of a solid story served by a fine cast alongside the excellent Paddy Considine: Peter Capaldi, Alexandra Roach, Charlie Hiett, Emma Fielding, William Beck, Tom Georgeson, Tim Pigott-Smith, etc.
The production values are superb, the music of Rob Lane is beautiful and of the level of Barrington Pheloung's work on Morse and Lewis. The Suspicions of Mr Whicher is adapted by Neil McKay (Mo, See No Evil: The Moors Murders) and directed by James Hawes (DCI Banks: Aftermath, Doctor Who). It is exec produced by Mark Redhead, produced by Nigel Marchant, and made by Hat Trick Productions Ltd for ITV. BBC Worldwide is the international distributor.
Nearly 6 million viewers (1) welcomed Mr Whicher. Well, it's time for him to be more suspicious.