Ruth Rendell’s Thirteen Steps Down (2012)

Image result for thirteen steps downAn exercise machine repairman is obsessed by the dead serial killer John Christie, while also stalking a young model.

I came across this on ITV Player, and while I don’t usually go out of my way to watch these kinds of dramas, it looked interesting to say the least. It was made up of two 45 minute episodes. I also watched this keeping in the mindset of never having read a Ruth Rendell book. Perhaps the books add an underlying nuance I really don’t know.

From the beginning the tension started to be ramped up. The exercise machine repairman, Mix (Luke Treadway) portrayed the part of obsessed stalker and Christie enthusiast with aplomb, and the progression of his stalking of the actress was creepy and believable. The three elderly women who Mix lived with were played well by their respective actresses, with Geraldine James and Gemma Jones standing out in particular.

However, while this was a creepy and believable drama, it also managed to deal with other story side arcs. One of which involved a lost love from the past, of which the conclusion was dealt with with finality and realism, being somewhat of an anti-romance, as it were. The tension and the slow discovery of Mix’s actions was done well, especially between the three elderly women. However, I feel that the ending with the John Christie lookalike was a waste of time because it massively changed the tone of the drama and was quite jarring, making it more of a comedy-esque attempt as opposed to a serious attempt to add something to the mystery.

Ultimately, a good enough drama. I don’t think I would watch it again though.

MY RATING: ** / *****

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