What an awesome part Jason Durr played as psychopathic killer Alan Daniels in Lynda La Plante’s Above Suspicion, which reached its gritty conclusion last night!
I’ve seen Jason in many roles before – most notably as copper Mike in Heartbeat – but this role was award winning stuff if you ask me, with the possible exception of his sometimes dodgy Mancunian accent. However, that didn’t detract from how powerfully he portrayed the deeply disturbed Daniels, but more of that later.
We took up the drama again as Daniels took Anna to the ballet while, unbeknown to him, she was recording his every word. But even as she was on her guard and keen to draw him out, Anna began to doubt that the very charming and genteel actor could be responsible for such brutality.
In the meantime, the other prime suspect in the case, John McDowell, was pulled in for questioning over the series of brutal murders but it turned out that he had an alibi for the time Melissa was killed; he was in police custody so that pretty radically ruled him out.
However, soon after McDowell’s elimination from the enquiry, it was discovered that Alan Daniels’ alibi was flawed. He’d previously stated that he’d been in Cornwall at the time of Melissa’s murder but his driver came forward and told the police that he had in fact taken Daniels back to London for two days, thus giving Langton enough reason to get a warrant for both Daniels’ arrest and to search his home.
Anna was in on the search and – after remembering that Daniels had told her how his mother would lock him in a cupboard – she followed her hunch that his linen closet could be concealing more than just bedding. Sure enough, behind a false wall, she found his ‘trophies’; handbags and other items that he’d taken from his victims were hidden away there.
He was then charged with murder but insisted that he would only speak to Anna at the station. When she came into the interrogation room and began the interview, Daniels terrifying double life and persona began to unravel.
He told how, as a small child, he’d been raped by dozens of men as his mother looked on having taken payment from them in exchange for her allowing the abuse. It was at this unguarded time that Daniels’ Manchester accent resurfaced, his eloquent and well spoken façade was now gone. Instead, his visceral and psychopathic character came to the fore as he described in sickening detail to Anna how and why he’d murdered the women.
He also admitted – or rather, boasted – about the murders of more women in America which, prior to his gloating, the police were unaware of. Satisfied with his full and graphically frank confession, the interview was ended and Daniels taken to his cell, however, as the murder team celebrated, Daniels took out a thin and lethally sharp blade that he’d concealed in the collar of his shirt and with little hesitation, he slashed his own throat.
Despite rushing to the cell, the officers couldn’t do anything to save the killer and he died in a pool of blood on the floor. So, the team were denied their day in court and the victim’s families were denied seeing justice done, but at least the vicious killer was now unable to hurt anyone ever again.
And there endeth the latest La Plante drama, and let’s hope it’s not long before the next!
As I mentioned earlier, Jason Durr really was outstanding in this drama. His Jekyll and Hyde like shift from articulate and suave actor to psychopathic killer was flawless, complete with a facial twitch, pent up and barely controlled anger and soulless eyes that were truly frightening.
I began to like Anna more too and rather than finding her inexperience unbelievable, I could see how her professional naiveté was in fact possible by virtue of the fact that most of her career before joining this investigation had been textbook based and theoretical. I also ended up believing in her instinctive ‘copper’s nose’, albeit a stumbling rather first-baby-steps sort of instinct.
If I have any little criticisms of last night’s episode, they would be that Langton’s warning to Anna before she interviewed Daniels was rather reminiscent of Silence of the Lambs and a tad Americanised and that Jason’s Manchester accent could’ve done with a little more coaching.
As in my previous review of part one however, these are pedantic little niggles and overall, this was an excellent drama of the calibre we’ve come to expect of La Plante and ITV collaborations.
If you missed it, do yourself a favour and schedule a quiet couple of hours to watch it on ITV Player… but make sure your doors and windows are locked and you have a light on!