The Suspicions of Mr Whicher

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The Suspicions of Mr Whicher
Suspicions of Mr Whicher.jpg
The Suspicions of Mr Whicher DVD cover
Directed by James Hawes
Screenplay by Neil McKay
Based on The Suspicions of Mr Whicher or The Murder at Road Hill House 
by Kate Summerscale
Starring Paddy Considine
Peter Capaldi
Tom Georgeson
William Beck
Emma Fielding
Tim Pigott-Smith
Original channel ITV
Original airing 25 April 2011 (2011-04-25)
Running time 95 minutes
Followed by The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: The Murder In Angel Lane

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher is a 2011 television film made by Hat Trick Productions for ITV. It stars Paddy Considine in the title role of Jack Whicher.[1] It is based on the real-life Constance Kent murder case of 1860 as interpreted by Kate Summerscale in her book The Suspicions of Mr Whicher or The Murder at Road Hill House (2008).

A follow-up followed, a fictional imagining of Whicher's subsequent career as a private enquiry agent: The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: The Murder In Angel Lane was filmed in early 2013 and was broadcast on 12 May 2013. A further follow-up consisted of two further episodes - The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: Beyond the Pale and The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: The Ties that Bind. The first was broadcast on 7 September 2014 and the second on 14 September 2014. Considine later announced on Twitter that the show would not be continuing.[2]

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: The Murder at Road Hill House[edit]


When three year-old Saville Kent is found murdered in dreadful circumstances at the family home in Wiltshire, Commissioner Mayne (Tim Pigott-Smith) sends Scotland Yard detective Inspector Jack Whicher (Paddy Considine) to investigate the crime. Local Superintendent Foley (Tom Georgeson) believes that the murder is an 'inside job', committed by Saville's nurse Elizabeth Gough (Kate O'Flynn), whom he suspects was caught by the child when in bed with a man, possibly the child's father, Samuel Kent (Peter Capaldi), but he is reluctantly forced to release her due to lack of evidence.

When Whicher arrives, Foley reluctantly agrees to help, suspicious of outside interference and more progressive police methods. When a torn piece of a woman's blood-stained garment is found, Constance Kent (Alexandra Roach), Samuel Kent's sixteen-year-old daughter from his first marriage, claims that her night-gown had been lost by the laundress. Dr. Stapleton (Ben Miles), the family's doctor tells Whicher that Constance, like her late mother, is mentally unstable and jealous of Saville; she immediately becomes a suspect. It is discovered that Constance and her younger brother William Saville-Kent (Charlie Hiett) hate their stepmother Mary (Emma Fielding) — their former nanny, with whom their father had had an affair while their mother was dying. He visits a schoolmate of Constance's, Emma Moody, who tells him that Constance enjoys hurting Saville. As the circumstantial evidence builds Whicher arrests Constance convinced that she has killed her half-brother out of revenge against her father for his treatment of her mother and his neglect of her and William, but he fails to get a confession from her. At her trial, her lawyer discredits Whicher's case due to severe lack of evidence, Emma Moody is called as a witness, but she lies and states that Constance adored her half-brother, and Constance is acquitted.

Whicher's reputation is destroyed, he suffers a breakdown and leaves the police force, but five years later in 1865 Constance confesses her guilt to a clergyman, the Rev. Arthur Wagner (Antony Byrne), and is put on trial for murder. In court the Rev. Wagner gives a declaration that he must withhold any information on the grounds that it had been received under the seal of "sacramental confession". At the same time it is revealed that Superintendent Foley had withheld evidence from Whicher during the original investigation. Constance Kent confesses her guilt, but refuses to corroborate Whicher's theory that her brother was also involved in the murder.

Constance Kent is sentenced to death, but this is later commuted to life in prison.


The drama was directed by James Hawes and was written by Neil McKay, based on the book The Suspicions of Mr Whicher or The Murder at Road Hill House by Kate Summerscale.

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: The Murder In Angel Lane[edit]

In January 2013 ITV announced that a new two-hour film was in production, with Paddy Considine reprising his rôle as Inspector Jack Whicher,[3] who is now a private inquiry agent, in a new fictional adventure. The film co-starred Olivia Colman.[4] The television film was produced by Hat Trick Productions, and was again written by BAFTA award-winner Neil McKay. It was directed by Christopher Menaul with Mark Redhead as executive producer, and Rob Bullock as producer.

It was filmed on location in Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and central London in early 2013.


When former police Detective Inspector Jack Whicher (Paddy Considine) finds wealthy Susan Spencer (Olivia Colman) searching for her 16-year-old niece Mary Drew in a low public house in London's notorious Angel Lane, she enlists his services to find her niece. When the body of Mary is found brutally murdered in Angel Lane, robbed of a family heirloom and having recently given birth to a child, Spencer persuades Whicher to bring those responsible to justice.

The search begins for Stephen Gann (William Postlethwaite), Mary's 19 year-old lover and the father of her child. Whicher finds the missing child at the Church-run home for fallen women where she has taken refuge, and later confronts Gann, who in a struggle pulls a knife which is identical to the murder weapon and makes his escape.

Whicher seeks the help of his former colleagues in the Metropolitan Police, including 'Dolly' Williamson (William Beck) and Commissioner Mayne (Tim Pigott-Smith), but, with the exception of Inspector Lock (Shaun Dingwall), they warn Whicher off from interfering in what is a police matter. When Whicher visits Miss Spencer’s country home he learns that her father had been murdered by Gann’s uncle.

Whicher’s investigation takes him to a lunatic asylum where his suspicions lead to a fresh grave being reopened but without finding the body he expects to be found hidden in it. Shaken by his failure and convinced that he no longer possesses the skills necessary to solve the crime Whicher decides to give up the investigation but then discovers a new clue after Mary Drew’s funeral when he finds Stephen Gann at Mary's grave. Whicher seems to be close to solving the case and returns to the asylum where he is accused of being mentally unstable and after a struggle is strapped into a straitjacket and locked up at the instigation of Dr Casement (Alistair Petrie) and Inspector Lock.

When Stephen Gann's grandfather, an inmate in the asylum finally reveals the true identity of Mary Drew, Whicher makes his escape and confronts those responsible for her murder in a chilling finale.


The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: Beyond the Pale[edit]


Mr Whicher is hired by his one-time political master and the man behind Whicher’s dismissal from the force, former Home Secretary Sir Edward Shore, to look into threats made against his son Charles, who has recently returned to London from India with his wife and children, only to discover he is being pursued by Lascars (A slang for Indian sailors) in search of some kind of retribution.

Sir Edward would like this case hushed up and quietly solved; but when murder comes into play, all rules and social etiquettes must be put to aside; Mr Whicher has to investigate the murder of an Indian man who has been making these threats. Whicher's pursuit of justice leads him to uncover betrayal and inter-racial tension in London's docklands.

The historic Chatham Dockyard in Kent was used as a film location for some of the London streets and docks.[5]

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: The Ties That Bind[edit]


Whicher follows a married woman through London to a secret assignation. He is bearing witness to an open and shut case that will lead to divorce for Sir Henry Coverley from his wife Lady Jane. But, when the co-respondent is killed, a simple case soon spirals out of control, embracing love, desire, gambling, corruption, theft and an illicit passion that leads to murder.


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