by Josh Hickman
In ITV’s new three-part thriller, Mike Bartlett, the brains behind BBC’s sensational Doctor Foster, scribes John Simm and Adrian Lester in a show promising twists, tensions and gripping performances from beginning to end.
Trauma focuses on the lives of two fathers, Dan and Jon, whose lives collide with heartbreaking consequences when Dan’s teenage son Alex is stabbed and tragically dies in the trauma department run by high-flying consultant Jon.
A devastated Dan blames Jon for Alex’s death as Jon’s own life begins to unravel.
John Simm plays factory manager Dan Bowker while Adrian Lester plays trauma surgeon Jon Allerton. They are joined by Jade Anouka as Jon’s daughter Alana and Rowena King as Jon’s wife Lisa.
Throughout this opening chapter, the direct comparisons between the two central figures are made abundantly clear. From the distinct differentiation between image saturation to the more subjective elements of class and culture.
Lester’s Allerton is clearly a liberal man of wealth and prestige, residing within a luxurious home with his wife and daughter. Simm’s Bowker, on the other hand, lives on the breadline with his wife and three children. Unlike the good Doctor, things are not going well for Bowker when his job is suddenly taken from him in a fairly cold fashion.
When their worlds collide, it happens at a frantic pace. With panicking, distress and anxiety aplenty, the scene of Alex’s death creates an unbelievable sense of dread, establishing potential clues as to the true nature of the unfortunate boy’s fate.
Simm’s manic obsession with Lester is enthralling to behold. His passionate performance as the devoted father is both relatable and frustrating while Lester’s cold approach to the issue makes for a potentially jaw-dropping continuation of the story.
After a tumultuous course of dramatic confrontations including hospital showdowns, emotional funerals and a realisation that things are not what they seem, Bowker and Allerton reunite at the site of Alex’s demise as the former assumes his new role as a trainee barrister.
All in all, an enjoyable introduction to a series promising so many twists and turns. With a now firmly established premise certain to provide two more entries of the same caliber, Bartlett, Simm and Lester have a gem on their hands worthy of catching as soon as possible.
Catch up on Trauma on ITV Player.