Appropriate Adult (2012)

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This ITV drama tells the story of trainee social worker, Janet Leech (Emily Watson) who becomes serial killer Fred West (Dominic West)’s ‘Appropriate Adult’ when he stands trial alongside his wife Rosemary (Monica Dolan).

I didn’t see this when it originally aired back in 2012 because I was too young and I don’t think I would’ve understood enough what it was about anyway. The West case is something which is so deep and murky that the more you delve the more unpleasantness you find.

West is chilling as Fred, whose disarming charm causes Leech to let her guard down and see him as something different to what he really was – the other half in a  murderous pair. Watson’s Leech is a person who obviously always wants to see the good in him, and the dynamics of this weird relationship was chilling.

It played out over the course of 2 episodes. Both episodes were very well done, and it was still horrific without needing to be full of visualized murder. The scenes when Fred casually mentions details of the murders he committed to Janet shows the true horror, because he thinks he has Leech and the investigators on the long chain but just shows he was an arch manipulator; a devil with many faces.

Dolan’s characterization of Rosemary was truly frightening – that of someone who could snap your neck at a moment’s notice if she so pleased. Ultimately, the drama was good and the tribute to the victims at the end hammered home the true extent of the West’s depravity.

MY RATING: **** / *****

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