No matter where you live; we’re in the middle of the winter doldrums, it’s simply undeniable. The weather outside is ranging from intolerable to just plain old gross and you are straining at the offerings on broadcast TV while just getting sick of looking at your Netflix queue. That’s why it’s time for something different.
We’re launching a new series here at ‘In The Seats’, something to highlight those things that you just may have overlooked while channeling surfing, checking out various streaming services and browsing Amazon for the latest in DVD and Blu-Ray that looks like it could catch your eye. We call it; You Mean You Haven’t Watched…?
Thanks to our friends at Acorn TV, we think we’ve found a doozy and you’ve got to just love that British TV sometimes because this is something you can actually knock out in a single sitting and it’s now available for streaming exclusively on the Acorn TV service and available on DVD at all major retailers. It’s time to dial it back to 2003 and Alibi.
It’s the story of a neurotic businessman Greg Brentwood (Michael Kitchen of Foyle’s War fame) who throws an extravagant anniversary party for his wife Linda (Phyllis Logan of Downton Abbey) at their English country home. One of the caterers; Marcey (Sophie Okonedo from Hotel Rwanda) quietly admires the love that this couple is sharing with each other, that is until she sees catches an intimate moment between Linda and Greg’s business partner, Martin. The evening continues and she thinks nothing else of it until she has to return to the house to retrieve her handbag after the party is over and she walks in on a terrifying scene; Greg is moving Martin’s lifeless body. Greg insists it was an accident, but also convinces her to help him dispose of the corpse. As the police investigate, Greg becomes increasingly anxious, while Marcey urges him to stay calm and stick to the story. However the longer Marcey stays around the Brentwood’s, the more she uncovers of their dark and tawdry secrets, wondering what the hell she’s gotten herself into in the first place.
At a lean and mean three episodes long, Alibi is the epitome of British Mystery Television. A little sordid, a little tawdry and a very very compelling piece of television you can hunker down with on a cold winter’s night.
With veteran UK industry hands at the helm like director David Richards and writer Paul Abbott whose credits include things like DCI Banks, Shameless & State of Play it all rolls into a fascinating little bag. It’s less about the mystery and the crime and it’s more about the mess that people cause with each other when they all get overly entangled with their overlapping lives, and the lies that they tell to keep them going. It unfolds rather efficiently and draws us into the personal nonsense of some fairly compelling but also amusingly horrible people.
It’s the British equivalent of Scandal or Revenge and we only have to commit to three episodes rather than a full 22 episode arc. This is where are friends from across the pond get it right, you get in, you get out and you move on not trying to milk the material for all its worth. Sure it gets a little twisty at times and has some moments that play out a little flawed, but that’s kind of the charm of it all.
Michael Kitchen plays it all deliciously on point, giving audiences a nice change on his character from Foyle’s War that we all know so well. He’s frenetic but also a tad sinister at the exact same time and it makes for a fun performance while Phyllis Logan is a stalwart character actor anchor in any story and the consistently underrated Sophie Okonedo makes for a great partner in crime and ultimately foil as we see all these characters all interact and get entwined in each other’s lives, for better and for worse.
It’s easily the kind of thing that could slide underneath the radar of the most fervent Brit TV watcher, but Alibi is more than worth the time on any given night for some high quality entertainment.
Alibi is available on DVD from all major retailers and can also be streamed via the Acorn TV streaming service.