Network Television

“A Confession” Finale Review

ITV’s “A Confession,” with a courtroom confrontation between Fulcher and Halliwell, elevates true-crime to a more dynamic level

Shain E. Thomas
Oct 8, 2019 · 2 min read
Screen Capture: Martin Freeman as former Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher in “A Confession.” In the background, playing Judge Griffith Williams, is Jim Piddock.

With a significant change of pace, the A Confession miniseries finale transplants the drama from the tranquil green hills of the Wiltshire countryside to the streets of Benghazi.

On the streets on Benghazi is where we find former Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher (Martin Freeman) after his resignation from the Wiltshire Police Constabulary following his breach of PACE (Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984).

Despite months having passed since Fulcher’s trial, the ramifications of his actions continue to echo throughout his life. Even in Benghazi, Fulcher is unable to find peace from the case that destroyed his career.

Fulcher is asked to return to Wiltshire to give testimony in a new trial against Christopher Halliwell (Joe Absolom). With this second trial focusing on the murder of Becky Godden-Edwards (Stephanie Hyam), double jeopardy doesn’t apply because Becky’s murder wasn’t a charge sought in the original trial.

The finale episode, with just as much dramatic tension as that seen throughout the miniseries, continues with a high degree of realism. Although Fulcher’s time in Benghazi and Elaine Pickford’s (Siobhan Finneran) misguided marriage to Pete (Derek Riddell) provide viewers with significant insights into the characters, there is no real justification for their presence. It doesn’t add anything substantive to the story.

When one realises the significant degree of padding teleplay writer Jeff Pope adds to the miniseries, it becomes readily apparent the entire story could have been told in as few as four episodes. Despite the padding, Pope clearly knows where and when to drop the most poignant of dramatic scenes.

One of the most gripping scenes of the miniseries sees Fulcher take the stand during Halliwell’s trial.

People familiar with the real-life case will recall, during this second trial, Halliwell represents himself. The line of questions from the defendant to the former detective superintendent was dubious. His conduct whilst defending himself is systematically misleading.

It’s difficult to recall the last time such a compellingly character-driven true-crime narrative was brought to television screens with such a high degree of realism. The darkness in A Confession is dynamically fascinating. From the smugness which can be seen in Halliwell’s facial expression whilst attempting to cross-examine Fulcher reveals a deep tendency towards psychopathic behaviour. Pope’s writing reflects this point perfectly.

Sir Trevor McDonald presents this documentary which explores the extraordinary pursuit of serial killer Christopher Halliwell by Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher.

Watch ITV’s To Catch A Serial Killer With Trevor McDonald to learn former Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher’s story.

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Shain E. Thomas

Written by

With an M.Sc. from the University of North Texas, I’m a freelance journalist and a social historian. #APStylebook #BBCStyleGuide linkedin.com/in/shainthomas

Harsh Light News

Harsh Light News revolves around entertainment news, social and political commentary. Harsh Light News is now available on the News360 website and app.

Shain E. Thomas

Written by

With an M.Sc. from the University of North Texas, I’m a freelance journalist and a social historian. #APStylebook #BBCStyleGuide linkedin.com/in/shainthomas

Harsh Light News

Harsh Light News revolves around entertainment news, social and political commentary. Harsh Light News is now available on the News360 website and app.

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