After Rahmat Suleimani (Moe Bar-El) and his girlfriend, Banaz Mahmod (Buket Komur), share a kiss at a tube station in London, she disappears. He reports her missing, while her parents deny that’s true. Newly promoted DCI Caroline Goode (a terrific Keeley Hawes) takes over the investigation and discovers, to her horror, that the young woman had come to the police five times in the preceding months, fearful that she would be the victim of violence at the hands of her family. Banaz had incurred the wrath of her father and brother after divorcing her husband and beginning a relationship with Rahmat. That moment at the tube proved to be the kiss of death for Banaz.
Based on a true story, Honour focuses on the misogyny that exists within many cultures that places at risk women who are targeted for violence, even death, when they fail to submit to restrictions imposed by their families. Banaz, a British citizen, was also let down by the police who failed to act on her claims that she was in danger. On one occasion, she even delivered a list of those she suspected were out to harm her. When she lands in the hospital after being beaten by her father, the female constable taking her statement, refuses to take her seriously, writing that she was “attention-seeking, hysterical, and self-harming.”
Goode knows she will get no help from Banaz’s Kurdish family, or the community which quickly closes ranks. Also, two of the men on Banaz’s list have fled to Iraq. Goode does, however, get cooperation from Banaz’s sister, Bekhal (Rhianne Barreto), who managed to escape the family to avoid an arranged marriage. However, she tells Goode she still fears she could be the victim of an honour killing, noting that her brother, Mahmod (Umit Ulgen), at one point assaulted her in the street. But her descriptions of the Mahmod family places the father, Ari (Selva Rasalingam), in Goode’s sights as the one who ordered his daughter’s murder.
After Goode arrests one of the key suspects, Mohammed Hama (Waj Ali), he foolishly makes calls to others while in prison. Those conversations are recorded and translated, revealing that Hama is openly boasting about how Banaz was raped, killed, and her body disposed of. But charges cannot be brought until her remains are found. Even after Hama is warned by his attorney that his conversations are being listened to, he continues to talk, ultimately giving away enough clues so that Goode and her team can locate the body.
During the trial, Ari, Mahmod, and Hama remain unrepentant. For her part, Banaz’z mother remains silent and supportive of her husband, perhaps fearful that she could also be killed if she comes forward with evidence. Bekhal and Rahmat do testify and are forced to enter witness protection because of future threats to their safety.
Goode is willing to “go to the ends of the earth,” to get justice for Banaz. She does just that, traveling to Iraq to track down the other two men responsible for the young woman’s death.
Honour can be streamed on BritBox.
Photos courtesy of BritBox.