If you haven’t seen The Escape Artist yet – don’t read this review! Just watch it, without knowing what to expect and take my word that it is amazing . . .
Spoilers to follow, you have been warned!
The Escape Artist sees David Tennant, fresh from the award winning Broadchurch, as undefeated defence barrister Will Burton. When given a client accused of a particularly gruesome crime Will is unsure of the man’s innocence, but being a good lawyer he trusts Liam Foyle (Toby Kebbell) and wins the case. Will’s obvious distrust of the man leads to him refusing a friendly handshake outside of the courtroom. With that refusal the whole tone of the piece shifts, what appeared to be a fairly run of the mill crime drama descends in to a dark and twisted game of cat and mouse between criminal and lawyer.
The Escape Artist twists the crime genre, taking place after the police driven manhunt is over it deals with the battle that comes after the arrest. Dealing with insubstantial evidence and missing warrants events turn on technicalities. This change of pace from the normal cop show is refreshing and so is its protagonist, Will. Untroubled family life, outstanding success rate and respect from his superiors, the opposite in fact of the normal troubled DCI.
Who is the escape artist? Will allows his clients to prove their innocence spiriting them out of impossible situations, at one point is even compared to Houdini; but Foyle is the more malevolent choice. He continually evades justice, committing the most brutal murders and walking away, manipulating those who care for him without consequence.
The happy family life and successful career we are presented with at the beginning of the series is systematically dismantled as we watch. Compelling beyond words, chilling and emotional, The Escape Artist is TV drama at its very best. With just three one-hour episodes the pace is brilliantly handled, with a deep connection and being formed with the protagonists in the first 20 minutes of happy family life contrasted with the cutthroat courtroom.
One of the best mini-series to be released this year The Escape Artist will take you on a rollercoaster of emotions; well acted with a brilliantly twisted plot it’s well worth catching up on.