The TV factory is well and truly operational again after the abrupt shutdown imposed by the pandemic, and with Showtrial finished and dusted off, it goes straight to the next one.
You Don’t Know Me, which is based on the mystery novel of the same name by Imran Mahmood, debuted in the prime-time Sunday night slot of BBC One (December 5), a testament to the the broadcaster’s confidence in the series, and rightly so. It’s a compelling, well-executed piece of TV that deserves your attention.
Like the first, it also revolves around murder and the crucial question of “whodunnit?” A young drug dealer – so young he’s still in college – has been shot and the trial to find out who pulled the trigger has reached its final stages when we join the thriller.
The four-part series opens in a courtroom, with the CPS lawyer reeling off a series of key evidence that connects our protagonist hero (Angela Black’s Samuel Adewunmi) to the murder – gunpowder residue found on his clothes, traces of blood found under his fingernails, and more of the same. It doesn’t sound good to him and if we were to watch a real case unfold we would have believed his days were numbered. But it’s a work of fiction, which means we’re just getting started.
Hero chooses to make his own closing statement rather than having his legal representative do it for him, which brings us back to the very beginning of this whole sorry saga.
“But to talk about Jamil,” he said, referring to the deceased, played by Roger Jean Nsengiyumva from Informer, “I have to talk about Kyra (Sophie Wilde).” She is at the heart of this tale, and as Hero relays her tale to the jury, we learn how a fleeting encounter with the distant, doe-eyed woman who never holds a book in her hands leads to such a violent end. This is a crime thriller, but writer Tom Edge (Vigil, The Crown) takes great care in sketching out their flourishing romance, retracing it from the couple’s initial meeting on a double-decker bus, with Kyra openly indifferent to Hero’s playful advances, to their fixed status – at least in Hero’s eyes – in each other’s lives.
In one scene, the couple bounce around Kyra’s living room like newborn lambs on the currents of life, unfiltered joy splashing their faces. There’s a particularly delightful montage of Hero trying to master the art of cooking an Italian nun-worthy carbonara in order to impress him. He shakes 42 eggs in the span of a week in his quest to perfect the dish, which he ends up doing – * the audience falls to enthusiastic applause *. It’s a seemingly minor detail that, as we learn more about the plot, says a lot about the type of man Hero is: someone who loves fully and deeply, and who would do the unthinkable. for those to whom he is devoted. It’s a window into his commitment to Kyra, showing why he goes to such lengths to find her after her sudden and unexplained departure from his life.
Who knew that a bowl of pasta could say the same, eh ?!
You Don’t Know Me has all the elements we want and expect – mystery, drama, high stakes and so on – but the writing, beautifully complemented by Sarmad Masud’s direction, ensures those sweeter moments are just as hot. as they should be. They also create a distinct tone and atmosphere that elevates the series in a heavily saturated market.
Credit must also go to the actors, who manage the sometimes difficult material with authoritarian ease. The evidence accumulated against Hero is overwhelming, but you believe he is claiming he is innocent, which underlines Adewunmi’s talent. There is a real depth of sincerity in his performance that makes you root for Hero, which is exactly what you want in a protagonist, so much so that if he turns out to be guilty of the crime it would be truly heartbreaking. development. Before his life is turned upside down, we see Hero in happier times as he pursues and subsequently forms a relationship with Kyra. We watch him show off his best traits – he’s charismatic, endearing, and sweet-tempered – with Adewunmi nailing down every beat, pulling you in as he pulls Kyra in. It’s essential that we see him in those lighter moments as someone living a good, honest life because that makes the central question of the show – is he really capable of murder? – so much more fascinating.
While we feel like we know Hero, Kyra is a closed book, and just like our leader, we want to know more. She will often allow those around her to speak as she listens and observes, almost like a cat at times in the way she looks at Hero from her chosen vantage point, gauging him with big brown eyes that draw you into her. orbit. There is a measured intensity in Wilde’s performance, and even in the scenes where Kyra says very little, she remains an engaging presence, communicating so much with so little.
Bukky Bakray also deserves a mention as a sister of Hero Bless. Her role is quite small, but she still manages to make a good impression and once again confirms why she was such a deserving recipient of the BAFTA Rising Star Award in 2019 for her performance in Rocks. At only 19 years old, Bakray is a staggering talent who makes it seem like she’s been playing this game for much longer than she has been.
You Don’t Know Me is both a crime drama and a love story, giving you the best of both worlds.
It also explores how anyone, no matter what their current situation, can suddenly find themselves dragged into a storm without warning. If you were Hero, what would you do you to do? How far would you go to protect those you love most?
You Don’t Know Me continues Monday December 6 at 9 p.m. on BBC One. All four episodes are available to stream now on iPlayer.
Looking for something else to watch? Check out the rest of our dramatic coverage or take a look at our TV guide.