28 December 2009 | gws-2
Terrific adaptation of a fine thriller
I finished reading Val McDermid's excellent thriller, "Place of Execution," a couple of weeks ago, and enjoyed it enough to pickup the DVD of the miniseries of the same name. I have now seen it and cannot praise it highly enough. Despite the complexities of the story, with its twin time lines and intersecting stories, it worked, I thought. Val McDermid co-wrote the screenplay, which I loved. Despite some changes from the book, do doubt made to tighten the story, it works.
"Place of Execution" is morally ambiguous, to say the least, the darkest of dark tales. It asks the question, When must the truth be sacrificed because justice requires it. The question is never answered but that's a good thing. Instead, we are left to ponder.
The arrogant Philip Hawkin is the squire of the remote village of Scardale. Hawkin, well played with malevolently superciliousness by Greg Wise, has a wife and 13 year old stepdaughter, both of whom had lived in the village long before Hawkin came along. In 1963 the stepdaughter, Allison, disappears and the evidence developed by the police sets afoot this stark morality play, the facts of which are not fully revealed until 40 years later. To say more would deprive you of the rich pleasures of seeing the truth revealed a layer at a time. After that, you will be left to decide the justice of the matter.