A full police interrogation in 60 minutes, with a tension-wringing twist that it’s “voluntary” – the suspect could leave at any time. Better get straight down to brass tacks, then: well, it’s not entirely convincing that this (mainly) two-hander is as much as it claims to be, namely a study of gendered power and how this shapes our perception of truth. It’s an interesting gloss, and the live action camera, shifting to different angles (including under the table) ask us to consider how shifting perspectives change who we believe. But not too hard.
In truth, this is at heart a thrilling police procedural and is none the worse for it. Detective Ruth Palmer suspects suave, rich businessman, Cameron Andrews of the murder of two women, and the pair spend the hour in a dance around the truth. The ending is never really in doubt, but how it lands on that point is held in extraordinary tension until touchdown – and even beyond. Bethan Cullinane and Jamie Ballard in these lead roles are superb. They deliver a tight script (by Jamie Armitage) which feels entirely spontaneous. Both convey an extraordinary internal effort of quick thinking and emotional management – a wrestling match of intelligence and power which we know one of them has to win.
The tension never drops, but is punctuated by verbal haymakers: “Is that why you’re so tense?” asks Andrews, deliberately catching Palmer, and the rest of us, off guard. She flinches, and for a moment he has an upper hand by the most slender of margins. It’s thrilling theatre.