Fourteen years ago, Anna Dean’s nine year-old son, Liam, was brutally murdered by a teenage boy, Eddie J. Turner. For Anna, the punishment didn’t fit the crime. After spending seven years in a juvenile facility, Turner was released with a new identity. She’s made it her mission to track him down and expose him for his crime.
Someone anonymously posts online identifying Craig Myers (James Harkness) as Turner, listing his address and phone number along with the message: “Don’t let evil live.” When Myers is viciously assaulted, Anna is accused of writing the post and charged with attempted murder for provoking the attack. DI Stephen Grover (John Hannah) is perhaps the wrong police officer to investigate the case. Falsely accused of a crime himself, he becomes obsessed with proving Myers’ innocence and seeing that Anna is convicted.
This four-part Scottish series, written by Rob Williams, and directed by Niall McCormick, is aptly named. Liam most certainly was a victim. Anna made herself into a victim, unable to move on from her son’s death. But watching Myers’ suffer a violent beating and then having his life destroyed by what could be a false accusation, he lands in the victim column, too.
Kelly Macdonald, who was riveting in Line of Duty, perfectly captures the anger, obsession, and despair felt by a grieving mother. Even though she could be sent to prison, she’s willing to take that risk if Myers, under oath in court, admits that he’s Turner. Even more than that admission, however, she wants to know why he killed Liam.
Myers’ wife, Rebecca (Karla Crome), initially stands by her husband. But when her daughter’s stuffed bear is burned and found nailed to a post, they move out, adding to Myers’ misery. Meanwhile, Anna’s family is falling apart. Her daughter, Louise, a law student, does not support what Anna is doing. Louise also breaks up with her boyfriend, Danny, when it’s revealed he has a connection with Liam’s death. Anna’s husband, Lenny (Jamie Sives), pleads with Anna to stop, noting that their young son, Ben, is acting out because he feels neglected. Anna, however, is bent on revenge and she’s supported by her ex-husband and Liam’s father, Christian (Cal MacAninch), an alcoholic, who has just been released from prison.
Because Turner was in witness protection, those who know his true identity and where he lives are legally bound to keep that information secret. However, the private detective Anna hires, Mo Buckley (Pooky Quesnel), finds a way to get to the truth. But what will that truth reveal? Is Myers Turner? Or has Anna targeted the wrong man with devastating results?
Tension keeps building until the very end when Anna finally gets some of the answers she’s been seeking. However, Liam is still dead and whether those revelations will give Anna closure so she can finally move on is the question that remains.
The Victim can be streamed on BritBox.
Photos courtesy of BritBox.
Top photo: James Harkness as Craig Myers, Kelly Macdonald as Anna Dean, and John Hannah as DI Steven Grover.