One of Us (2016)

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Rating: 2.5

Number of episodes: 4

One of Us is a British crime miniseries aired in BBC One. The story revolves around two neighbour families, – Elliots and Douglas. Adam Elliot and Grace Douglas, childhood sweethearts, get married and return from their honeymoon to be found murdered in their house with the schizophrenic murderer then making his way towards the houses of the families.

The story takes place in a remote village which adds so much beauty and serene to the show. Not surprising, the overcast weather throughout sets the gloomy mood needed while viewing this story. I am so neutral about reviewing this show. On one hand, I actually didn’t find anything astonishing or thrilling, at the same time, I never felt like giving up half way through too. I wanted to reach the end which could only mean that the writers succeeded in creating the suspense and anticipation required for a crime thriller.

Going back to the story, Lee Welsh, the murderer, on his way to the house of the families meets with an accident directly landing himself in the Elliots’ field. Rob Elliot, Adam’s brother, gets to know that Welsh is responsible for the murder of his brother and pregnant sister in law and violently attacks him. The families restrain him and later sit down to decide what to do with the hurt and unconscious Welsh. With the night being a stormy one, they decide to keep Welsh in the barn for the police to arrive the next morning. The next morning, Claire (Adam’s sister) finds Welsh dead, his throat cut. One of the family members had killed the guy, but who?

One of Us is not the usual crime thriller. Yes, it is about finding the murderer of the murderer (Welsh), but it’s more about the families trying to cover up what they had done. We do have the police who are doing their job, but that’s not the focus of the story. The focus is more on the dysfunctional families and their relationships. Claire takes lead to find out the truth. She understands that the truth lies beyond what everyone could see. Every character is written with care to be completely different from each other. In this way, the family seems scattered, forced to be scattered. Bill Douglas, Grace’s father, is a calm and devout man, who is probably the only sensible man in the two families to think straight. Jamie, Grace’s younger brother, is kind of creepy. The rest of the characters don’t really have much to do. There is not much energy from the characters/actors either. Juliet and Andrew are the police officers assigned to investigate the case, but they don’t really get any significance. There is a parallel storyline for Juliet involving drugs, but it just seemed so unnecessary.

Being just a 4 part series, there is not much time to delve deep into the characters and their lives. After watching the first two episodes, I wasn’t able to figure out if the show was gripping enough. But I wanted to watch the next episode. Good suspense was created with Adam’s phone records but with a few loopholes. There are parallel storylines for nearly all the characters which don’t have much bearing to the actual story. Rob and his wife has some back story. Adam’s father is introduced and later killed. Bill and his friend has a blackmail story. All these tracks fetched a lot of time which could have been put to better use. The ending was definitely a disappointment. Don’t get me wrong, the writers did manage to end the show well, but the motive behind the murder is too clichéd. I expected it to be something out of the ordinary. I was shocked at the revelation of the murderer, couldn’t believe for some time, but at the end I had no choice.

One of Us is different. It has good cinematography and background score. Suspense is fair enough. The characters hold certain mystery too. The actors aren’t great, but do their parts fine. John Lynch playing Bill Douglas stood out. With just 4 episodes, it can be a quick watch.


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