The new BBC Two drama Murder: The Third Voice struggles to live up to the standard of other BBC dramas. Throughout the episode the characters all address the camera rather than interacting with each other. Split screen was employed to show the facial expression of both characters whilst they had a conversation out to the audience. At other moments there was a voice over accompanying poetic images or flashbacks. There was a clear attempt to be unique; for instance when a character lay on a bed he was reflected on both parts of the screen. However these did not add much to the overall episode, instead appearing pretentious. Whilst breaking of the fourth wall might be seen as novel or innovative for a crime drama – which involves series of interviews – it was ultimately cumbersome and ineffective. Although common in theatre, it is not often used in film. Comedies such as The Office and Miranda have been applauded for the use of addressing the audience but for a serious drama like Murder it is ineffectual.
The pace of the drama did not change or develop at any point, making it a tiring watch. The drone of melancholic voices and images of the dreary and rainy Scottish landscape remained constant and unrelenting throughout the episode. The bleakness was enhanced by the dark and monochromatic colour scheme, and the events themselves were hardly uplifting.
The episode started with two men who were swept into a river, when they were pulled out, one man was alive, the other dead. However it was revealed that the dead man had suffered a stab wound and that he had not drowned. All the characters were suffering with personal issues. For instance DC Evans, one of the main characters, had lost a friend to a hit and run and was still grieving. This constant barrage of gloom made it not only a depressing watch but also rather monotonous.
Ultimately, Murder is a disappointing show which is unsuccessful in its attempt to be original and creates a sense of prevailing doom which is unappealing.
Image: Klaus Hausmann