ITV has recently brought us the gripping three-part crime drama, In Plain Sight. Based on the true story of the notorious serial killer Peter Manuel, a man who terrorised the small town of Lanarkshire, Scotland in the forties and fifties, and the detective William Muncie who would stop at nothing to get justice. A game of cat and mouse ensues over the three parts after Peter Manuel is released from prison and free to embark upon a whole new reign of terror.
The two leads in this crime drama are familiar faces on our television. Douglas Henshall (Muncie) you may remember as the Professor chasing dinosaurs in the British science fiction Primeval, and Martin Compston (Manuel) is probably most well known as the detective in another crime drama Line of Duty. Compston has taken on a role entirely different from what he’s used to, no longer the good guy but about as far away as you could get from it. Despite this, his performance as the cocky, psychopathic and manipulative serial killer Peter Manuel is fantastic and eerily spot on. He plays so well a character who for no reason at all, simply enjoys causing pain and misery. I don’t think he could be any more convincing as a psychopath without actually being one.
Throughout each episode, Manuel’s actions become darker and darker as he acts out his sick fantasies on the poor innocent people sharing his neighbourhood, but somehow always managing to dodge the hangman’s noose. Trying to put a stop to that is Muncie, who tirelessly devotes all of his efforts in getting justice for the victims and to protect the people of Lanarkshire. You’ll be glued to your screens trying to predict who will be Manuel’s next fateful victim and second guessing detective Muncie’s next moves in the hope of catching him.
In Plain Sight highlights the very real flaws in Twentieth Century police work before the time of CCTV and DNA. After watching in Plain Sight it is surprising how any detective was able to successfully catch a killer with the lack of resources available and the evidence that is heavily relied upon today in order to make a conviction. And it is almost as if Peter Manuel knew this in his time. He boldly commits some truly evil and shocking crimes, taunting the police in the process, always clever enough to ensure he won’t get caught.
Does Manuel trip up? Can Muncie finally outsmart him? You’ll have to catch up on ITV player to find out. If crime dramas are your sort of thing, then there’s no doubt you will love this one. It’s hard to find fault, it is paced well and each episode will leave you wanting to watch the next one. The nail biting finale will not disappoint either. Let’s not forget this is based on a true story, individuals who have roamed the Earth as evil as Peter Manuel are the exception, and this three-part mini-series gives the audience a rare glimpse into his world. As far as things go on TV this is one of the better ones, not to be missed.