The first installment of ITV's new Cumbrian-based drama Innocent aired tonight (May 17, 2021).
The prime time show was filmed in different locations across Cumbria and Ireland last year, and is set to be shown over the course of the week.
For those who didn't manage to catch the first episode and don't have time to catch up before Tuesday nights episode, here's a recap of what happened in episode one (Warning: Contains Spoilers).
What happened in episode one?
In the opening episode, 39-year-old teacher Sally Wright was convicted of murder.
And although it was never proven, she was also accused of having a sexual relationship with one of her sixteen-year-old students, gifted and talented Matty Taylor.
Overnight her life imploded …she lost her freedom, her job as a teacher, she miscarried whilst on remand and inevitably her marriage collapsed and two years into her sentence, her husband Sam filed for divorce.
As the first episode opens Sally is finally free …her guilty verdict overturned in the face of incontrovertible evidence proving her innocence. And outside the court, as she states her determination to recover everything she lost, one by one we meet those whose lives were touched by the murder:
Sam, Sally’s former husband is now in a new relationship and on the threshold of marriage to Karen, a single mum and former family friend. Her daughter Bethany resentment at Sam’s intrusion into her life prises open a deep fault-line in the relationship with her mother.
Matty's parents John and Maria Taylor continue to be convinced of Sally’s guilt but they too seem to be holding back on a dark, shared confidence. bound by a lie that neither will ever reveal to another living soul.
And Anna Stamp who was Matty's contemporary at school, it’s obvious she’s never accepted the reality of his passing …her witness statement was key to Sally’s conviction and as suspicion grows around her motive for such perjury, a deep-seated, pathological hatred for Sally begins to emerge.
DCI Braithwaite is charged with responsibility for the new investigation. If Sally didn’t kill Matty, then who did and why?
Braithwaite starts by reaching out to Sally, apologising for an investigation that got it wrong and sympathetically asking her to reach into the past: an attempt to understand those who were fundamental to Matty's short life but also, to discover who might have had a motive to kill him.
As his team begins to delve into Anna’s background, Braithwaite conducts his own enquiries into Anna’s assertions that Sally was having a relationship with Matty
Getting her job back as a teacher is a priority for Sally. It’s one of the most emphatic ways of demonstrating her innocence, reclaiming her personal integrity and regaining her professional standing. Hoping for a constructive meeting with her former colleague and now Head Teacher, Sally is angered in
the face of Emily’s reluctance to engage. It’s a flash of Sally’s strength and determination …arguing that the job is her rightful entitlement she makes it crystal clear that nothing will stand in the way of having it.
Squatting in the nursery of her best friend’s modest cottage, Sally is touched when Sam first makes contact suggesting they meet.
The connection between them is palpable but so too the spectre of his abandonment of Sally whilst she languished in jail.
Her recollections of living through the nightmare of an unjust prison sentence clearly shakes the foundation of his new relationship with Karen.
And for Sam, sharing the humiliation he experienced as a cuckolded husband touches Sally in a way that hints at a bridge across the five years that’s passed between them.
It seems that all those in orbit around Matty’s young life had reason to lie to themselves and to deceive each other.