SEE NO EVIL: THE MOORS MURDERS
There have been a number of films about true life killers in recent years Ed Gein (2000), Dahmer (2002), Ted Bundy (2002), Gacy (2003), Monster (2003), The Hillside Strangler (2004), Zodiac (2007) etc. See No Evil: The Moors Murders has a unique method of telling its story that none of these others have. It is an approach that is almost entirely designed to wring out the slightest interest one might have in finding anything out about the crime. First of all, the focus of the series is not on the characters of the two killers, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, but rather Hindleys sister Maureen and brother-in-law David Smith who only feature as supporting characters in the case. There is no effort made to get inside and dramatise the actual events (which is almost certainly the expectation that any person sitting down to watch the mini-series would have) with the only murder depicted being (very briefly) that of the final victim Edward Evans. In fact, all the actual crimes classified as the Moors Murders are over and done with by the point that the mini-series timeframe starts. The first half of the mini-series is mundanely dull with nothing other than a few domestics and Sean Harriss Brady introducing Michael McNultys David Smith to his schemes to rob a bank. The series top-bills the moderately well-known and rising Joanne Froggatt who also appeared in three other British true-crime mini-series Danielle Cable: Eyewitness (2003), Murder in the Outback (2007) and Dark Angel (2016) but the considerable surprise is that she is not cast as the central figure of Myra Hindley but the completely unknown figure of her sister. Aside from that, the two lead actresses appear to have been outfitted with two of the most ugly seeming wigs that the costume department was able to find.
Things perk up somewhat during the second part where we get to police investigation and the attempts made to break Brady and Hindleys silence in jail, followed by the trial. Certainly, there is no doubt that See No Evil has made an authentic attempt to get all the details of the Moors Murders case down right as the opening credits note: Some scenes have been created for the purpose of dramatisation but what follows is based on extensive research. Only very briefly does the series deal with all the drama that occurs after Myra Hindleys imprisonment her extensive pleas of innocence, her efforts to obtain parole, her subsequent admission where one of the bodies was and her conversion to Catholicism, while nothing at all is made of her attempts to escape jail. Although this is presented in a false way where the character of Myras brother-in-law David Smith improbably turns from the no-hope plonker he has seen throughout most of the series to a mouthpiece suddenly able to pull apart the logic holes in Hindleys claims. (The mini-series also tends to whitewash the character of David Smith who in reality had several convictions for violent assault and a reputation as a thug).
There are certainly some pluses to the show. One of these is the presence of Sean Harris as Ian Brady who emerges as a sophisticated fop and plays through an indecipherable accent but charges the show with his presence whenever he is around. Without any doubt, Brady was the dominant figure in the quartet but with the twisted logic that See No Evil seems to operate, he is given the least presence of any of the four central characters. The other one who emerges well is George Costigan, who was considered a British heartthrob back in the 1980s, and stalks about with a fierce intellectual determination as the officer determined to make the case.
Writer Neil McKay has become known for a series true crime thrillers for British television with the likes of This is Personal: The Hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper (2000), In Denial of Murder (2004), Wall of Silence (2004), Appropriate Adult (2011) and The Moorside (2017), as well as the The Suspicions of Mr Whicher series of tv movies.
Full mini-series available online here:-