With many twists and turns, great cinematography, and an engaging cast, One of Us leaves you wanting more.
Imagine you learnt your child, your brother, your sister, has been viciously murdered weeks after marrying their childhood sweetheart. Imagine that same night, a man is left badly injured after he crashes his car outside your house. Imagine discovering that the man is their killer – and his life is now in your hands.
It’s a pretence which is every bit as grabbing as it is implausible. Yes, One of Us‘ opening episode has one too many coincidences, but looking past this, you find yourself rooted in the same dark drama that the BBC has become iconic for in recent times. Think Happy Valley, Doctor Foster, The Escape Artist. The BBC has recognised there is a real audience for drama that shows the darker side of humanity’s mirror. What lengths would you be pushed to if your entire world was torn apart?
One of Us is penned by Harry and Jack Williams, who were responsible for the award-winning series The Missing in 2013. The mixture of grief, anger and desperation relayed in The Missing is definitely recreated, though in a different scenario, in One of Us. In slightly more detail, the plot concerns the two families of childhood sweethearts Adam Elliot and Grace Douglas, who grew up as neighbours in rural Scotland. The families are chalk and cheese, with tension continually bubbling between them – Adam’s mother Louise (Juliet Stevenson) and Grace’s mother Moira (Julia Graham) particularly clash. The news of their children’s’ horrific murders push them apart rather than pull them together, as events take another unexpected turn. The man highly implied to be the killer crashes his car outside their remote houses, and they take him in, badly injured.
I won’t reveal what happens next, but it only serves to tear them all apart further. The sickly insidious feeling that even the nicer members of the families can’t be trusted creeps upon the viewer, and there are enough unanswered questions to keep you fixated on One of Us for hours after the first episode finishes. Why did the murders happen? Why was the murderer journeying to the family homes of the couple he just killed? Is he even the killer? I could keep going on all day. There is quite obviously more to One of Us than meets the eye.
The cast and cinematography are the show’s greatest part. The majority of the episode occurs during one vicious storm, which only adds to the claustrophobic horror feel of the show. The cast are great, with veteran actors John Lynch and Juliet Stevenson leading by example, and young actors Joanna Vanderham and Joe Dempsie also shining. One of Us leaves you wanting more, and I for one can’t wait to see what secrets are unearthed over the next three weeks.
One of Us continues next Tuesday on BBC One at 9pm. The first episode is available to watch via BBC iPlayer.