Impeccable writing, masterful acting and more twists than a helter-skelter at peak hours, ITV’s gripping anthology series is back!
By Jon Billinge, Writer
Good things truly do come to those who wait. After knocking us for six with series 1 of Innocent way back in 2018, writer Chris Lang (Unforgotten) has gifted us with another scintillating story of wrongful accusations, delayed exonerations and more OMG moments than we thought possible.
Sally Wright (Katherine Kelly, Liar), a schoolteacher rumoured to have had an affair with a 16-year-old pupil, finds things going from bad to worse when the boy meets a grisly end. The prime suspect, she’s convicted of murder and begins a lengthy sentence.
But her story is only just beginning, as new evidence exonerates her. A free woman, she returns to her hometown to pick up the pieces of her life. But her history is still fresh in the minds of the townsfolk, and the life she thought she had has moved on without her.
We caught up with the cast and crew of series 2 to dig deeper into the mystery. Read on for our revelations.
She didn’t do it
Yes, you read that right. No, it’s not a spoiler. Writer Chris Lang explains: “We wanted to eliminate the potential of her [Sally] being guilty really early on.” Unlike in series 1, where things were more obtuse, here, you learn early on that Sally is indeed innocent of the murder. Thus enters a whole new perspective, where the focus (at least at first) moves from considering whether the protagonist is reliable to immersing in her predicament – innocent yes, but returning to a world that’s long since turned it’s back on her.
Heavy themes, idyllic setting
Scouting for locations, the team settled on Keswick, a market town in the picturesque Lake District. The small-room (and typically earth-shattering) discussions typical of Lang’s work are here and present, but the wild, expansive nature of the locale allowed for the ultimate juxtaposition.
As he explains: “We could have shot it anywhere, in any small community. But the show needs some lungs, it needs air, it needs the audience to be able to breathe for a moment.” An early scene depicting Sally’s drive home from prison is a prime example. “[She] gets out, then climbs up a hill and touches the moss. You get this sense of a person who’s been incarcerated for five years breathing in.”
Every character is a character study
Lang’s knack for characterisation is formidable, and here his creations are vividly brought to life by a stellar supporting cast including Jamie Bamber (Marcella) as Sally’s husband Sam, Shaun Dooley (It’s A Sin) as the DC re-investigating the case and Priyanga Burford (Industry) as Sam’s new love interest.
From Sally’s unenviable situation of being free but forever tainted to Dooley’s tortured detective, there’s a maelstrom of past histories and plot links interweaving behind the scenes.
In a more lighthearted aside to the (irresistible) doom and gloom, the ever-watchable Dooley waxes lyrical about his preferred approach to getting in the mind of a character: “My in to a character is smell. [The detective] is not overly masculine, he doesn’t want to overpower anyone with his character.” Adding, “He’s Versace Man.”
When is Innocent on ITV?
You can watch the four episodes of Innocent series 2 over consecutive nights from 9pm on Monday 17 May on ITV/HD (CH 103/113). Also available for 30 days in Apps & Games > ITV Hub.
TV channels: Channels, content and features available depend on your chosen package. Channel line-ups and content are subject to change at any time and to regional variations.
HD: HD TV set, V HD Box, TiVo box or Virgin TV V6 connected with HDMI cables required for HD channels. Number of inclusive HD channels depends on package.
ITV HD is subject to regional variation. ITV HD is not available where STV HD or UTV HD is available.
Catch Up TV: Catch Up TV content available for up to 7 days or up to 30 days after broadcast, depending on content.
Interviews: Any opinions expressed in interviews are those of the interview subject and not those of Virgin Media.