Review: The Escape Artist

Yema Stowell 6 November 2013

Let’s just say that I was not expecting that. In all honesty, I was expecting to write a review where I talked primarily about how wonderful David Tennant is and made a number of comparisons to BBC’s Legal Drama, Silk. I certainly did not expect to be clenching my fists in all the suspense, let alone peering through the curtains to make sure that no murder suspect had decided to stand outside my third floor window.

The Escape Artist starts out in a similar way to Silk. Will Burton (Tennant) is at the peak in his career. He wins every case he takes on and lives by the motto that “everyone deserves a defence.” Interspersed with scenes in Chambers are reminders of his happy and fulfilling home life, with his wife (Ashley Jensen) and their only son.

Everything changes, however, when Will is handed a new high-profile case: to defend the man accused of the mutilation and brutal murder of a young woman. Suddenly this fairly ordinary legal drama takes on a new dimension. Music reminiscent of Hitchcock’s Psycho plays in the background, and this simple crime case instantly comes to life testing Will’s very principles.

Toby Kebbell captures the sinister Liam Foyle perfectly, a man bordering on the psychotic, constantly on the edge. Meanwhile  Tennant is at his best depicting Will, the ordinary family man, torn apart by extreme circumstances. Unfortunately, The Escape Artist does threaten to fall into the stereotypes of the thriller genre: an empty cottage and an abundance of curtain-less windows simply invite misfortune. But with Spooks creator David Wollstonecraft at the helm and a sinister turn of events to follow through, the rest of the three-part series holds a lot of promise. Oh, by the way, did I mention David Tennant?