In Plain Sight pits Sergeant William Muncie (Douglas Henshall) against serial female abu -ser Peter Manuel (Martin Compston) in 1955 Uddingston, Scotland. After spending jail time for assault in 1946, the latter is now accused of doing the same in the series’ present day. Both times, Muncie has seen Manuel strut about in smug fashion like he’s cock-of-the-walk and in need of a serious slap down.
This is definitely a different era, before women really had equal rights, as shown by one man who spits in the face of Mary McLauchlan (Jenny Hulse), the young woman accusing Manuel of his crime. People also gossip about her down the local dance hall on a Saturday night, where there’s nothing better to do than expect to bag a future husband.
Given that I was watching a preview with no subtitles as an option, I would recommend you put them on. I’m not deaf, but I found the strong Scots accent in this sometimes makes it difficult to understand the dialogue.
This first episode makes for a decent drama with reasonable tertiary characters, but it’s Henshall and Compston who are the stars of the show and the reason I’ll be tuning in to find out what happens in parts 2 and 3 (okay, so it’s a true story, but if you know the outcome, please – no spoilers). Given how good the latter is in Line of Duty and the occasional movie, why hasn’t Hollywood snapped him up? In this, when he came out with the line, “When I get down in the dumps, I get this overpowering need to murder someone.”, he showed himself to be the most calm attacker I’ve ever seen on TV, reminding me a bit of the character of Benoît Poelvoorde, in Man Bites Dog.
Given ITV’s insistence to crop as many movies as possible to a strict 16:9 ratio, as if we’re still living in the ’90s, and while most other channels (and the world) have moved on, it was interesting to note that In Plain Sight was shot in a slightly wider ratio, at approx 2.00:1. Not sure why, but it neither adds nor takes away anything.
NOTE: I’ve since seen parts 2 and 3, ahead of transmission, and obviously no spoilers, but the whole series remains a solid thriller, again with Henshall and Compston on top form, leading the way. If you miss any episode, please do catch up on the ITV Hub. I will say that I would’ve preferred all three episodes to air over one week rather than in separate weeks, since we’re all used to binge-watching these days, and I think it would’ve suited this drama best.
In Plain Sight begins tonight on ITV at 9pm, and then later on the ITV Hub. The series is available to pre-order on DVD ahead of its release on January 9th. Unsurprisingly, as you can see in the picture below, if you pre-order the DVD, it’s expected to arrive after Christmas(!)
Also, click on the packshot for the full size version.
Episode 1 Score: 7/10
Director: John Strickland
Producer: Gillian McNeill
Writer: Nick Stevens
Music: Nina Humphreys
Sergeant William Muncie: Douglas Henshall
Peter Manuel: Martin Compston
Mary McLauchlan: Jenny Hulse
Babs: Louise Mccarthy
Young Buck Tony: Daniel Campbell
Sheriff Pirie: Kern Falconer
Young Con: Scott Fletcher
Samuel Manuel: Gilly Gilchrist
DS McLeod: Jack Greenlees
Jane Muncie: Sorcha Groundsell
James Farrel: Stuart Hepburn
Agnes Muncie: Shauna MacDonald
Annie Kneilands: Alana McDowall
Andrew Murnin: Tony McGeever
Sandra Muncie: Kate McLaughlin
Det Supt. Leish: Michael Nardone
Douglas: Neil Pendleton
John Buchanan: Stewart Porter
Theresa Manuel: Bobby Rainsbury
Bridget Manuel: Joanna Roth
Hugh Kirk: Gavin Jon Wright
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.