Technically Criminal United Kingdom is actually season 2 of the hit show Criminal. That featured three interogation scenes from four different countries. They came from the UK, France, Germany and Spain, though each country's offering was billed as a separate show. It's all very confusing! Anyway, now we have Season 2 and this time there are four episodes.
Each features the famous room in which the suspects are grilled by various detectives. The crimes are all different as are the suspect characters. So here's the rundown:
Julia is played by Sophie Okonedo and she is the wife of a convicted murderer. Baring all the hallmarks of a shattered woman, Julia has been brought in to go over some of the details in her husband's statement. That is because while he has been convicted of one murder, detectives believe he has really killed two people.
Sophie Okonedo is excellent in this. Her fragility and inability to comprehend what he has done is so real that you genuinely empathise with her. But then the tables turn and suddenly Julia is not so sweet and naive after all…
This is the controversial one that has everybody on social media losing their minds. Alex is an estate agent. He's arrogant, cocky and unlikeable. He has also been accused of raping a co-worker after a night out.
Played by Kit Harington, Alex is adamant it was consensual. And with little evidence to support the alleged victim, the detectives end up with a ‘he-said-she-said' on their hands. Or do they?
When creators decided to tackle this issue from another perspective they really opened a can of worms. That doesn't make the episode any less intriguing or brilliant to watch. And it is brilliant to watch.
Danielle, played by Sharon Horgan, is an internet vigilante who hunts down and entraps pedophiles. Again, another thorny subject for the writers to tackle. She runs a website called ‘Pesticide' and her aim is to go on forums pretending to be a 14-year-old girl. Once she has enough evidence, she bags it all up and sends it out to the police, family and co-workers of the alleged groomer.
But things are not always as they seem and now she is being charged with an electronic crime. Because in her zealousness, Danielle may have epically screwed up. And it's up to the detectives to prove it.
Already a convicted murderer, Sandeep is brought back to the interrogation room regarding another potential murder carried out years earlier. But with an iron-clad alibi, the detectives decide they are no longer interested. That is until Sandeep tells them he has information on another high profile crime.
To get that info, they need to make a deal with the Crown Prosecutors to reduce his sentence if what he says is true. Played by Kunal Nayyar (Big Bang Theory), this is the most chilling of the episodes. Nayyar is hardly recognisable and does a stellar job of luring the detectives in with the promise of solving the disappearance of a young boy.
So while all four episodes feature high profile actors, a lot of credit has to go to Katherine Kelly, Lee Ingleby, and Rochenda Sandall. They play the cool, calm, and collected detectives and without that perfect cat and mouse game, Criminal United Kingdom would not be as good as it is.