It’s not often it can be said that ITV are brave and while the vast majority of their programming will always be reality, talent and quiz shows, 2017 has seen them push the envelope of mainstream dramas. Liar is their second series this year where rape is the subject and judging from last week’s viewing figures it is clearly a premise the public can stomach if approached in a sensible way.
The morality of social media is the running theme in week two. From what it’s acceptable to share in a public forum to the hurtful rantings of internet trolls. Family, friends and (to date) 10,000 strangers now all have an opinion but even worse for Laura, the truth of this corners her in a claustrophobic classroom. In a world where the smartphone is king she stands there full of tears preaching the words of J Gatsby stating “I am one of the few honest people I’ve ever known” as Andrew’s son stares with a burning hatred. So its not just private lives affected but work ones too as Andrew signs himself off.
There is only one flashback of the night in question this time and in a candid conversation Andrew reveals he still leaves a key outside his house despite his wife having passed away. This information mixed with an impatience of the police investigation leads Laura to enter his house in search of evidence. The teacher won’t learn her own lesson though and pressures her ex Tom to force a police raid of the suspects house. A bit of artistic licence is needed when an anonymous tip prompts a raid by drugs squad but the suspicious liquid in question turns out to be insulin.
Of course, while the focus is on the two leads, perhaps the real Liar is elsewhere. What if she really believes she was raped by Earlham but wasn’t? What if Tom has something to with it? That certainly could explain why he’s so keen on the police chasing Andrew with such determination. Did Andrew go home in the taxi after consensual sex only to be replaced later that evening by Tom and how would that explain the likely drugging that took place if the ex was involved? Also, how long before he moved out of her house did they last have sex and would his DNA have showed up in the forensics anyway? We are yet to hear about those test results. Is your brain hurting?
While the main arc is setting the screen alight there are times where events idle somewhat. Katy’s home life with Liam is picture perfect on the outside but we already know the lie that will smash its frame to the floor and nor do we know enough about her husband to be invested. Even less convincing is the pairing of DI Harmon and DS Maxwell who are trudging about like the case is over a stolen milk bottle. Vanessa is pregnant apparently though why we are being asked to care is up for debate.
More clothes are put on the bare bones of Laura’s history of mental illness. Andrew receives a call from a man claiming that she has “done something like this before” and he’ll “be damned if I’ll let her ruin some other poor bastard’s life”. In a show which is rooted in suspense, it needs a great finish for the deep long bass notes to end on and we get it here. As he hangs the phone up and looks to the floor in relief, he discovers an earring belonging to his accuser. Cue titles and a much needed wine to cope with the stress of it all. The writing is throwing more accusations at Nielson than Earlham but maybe that’s the point. It could solely be a commentary on how women are judged in situations such as this. Who knows anything except there’s plenty of head messing twists still to come. On second thoughts, cancel the wine.
Liar Continues Monday at 9.00pm on ITV.