Place of Execution

ITV import has a rather interesting take on the fascination with salacious crimes.

With:
Catherine Heathcote - Juliet Stevenson George Bennett - Lee Ingleby Philip Hawkin - Greg Wise Old George Bennett - Philip Jackson Tommy Clough - Tony Maudsley Sasha - Elizabeth Day

Wrapping a mystery within a mystery, “Place of Execution” is an absorbing “Masterpiece Contemporary” production that appropriately comes from an entity christened Ingenious Broadcasting — “ingenious” pretty well describes the movie’s last-act twist. Split into two parts (although the second runs less than an hour), this ITV import has a rather interesting take on the fascination with salacious crimes, missing kids and even the death penalty, especially as filtered through the maw of a tabloid-tinted media. It’s another reminder that the Brits do crime as well as anybody.

Adapted by Patrick Harbinson from Val McDermid’s novel and crisply directed by Daniel Percival, the story unfolds on two levels. Juliet Stevenson plays Catherine Heathcote, who is working on a documentary about a sensational case surrounding a 13-year-old girl who disappeared from the hamlet of Scardale in 1963. The project then flashes back to the investigation, which finds a driven young investigator named George Bennett (Lee Ingleby as a young man, and Philip Jackson as an old one) zeroing in on the girl’s imperious stepfather, Philip (a terrific Greg Wise), as a prime suspect.

In the present day, however, Bennett informs Catherine that he wants to withdraw from the documentary after submitting to extensive interviews — and providing the linchpin of her project — saying only of the original case, “Mistakes were made.” Her explorations thus parallel the audience’s discovery of what happened — and whether justice was truly done.

The period trappings from the ’60s are perfectly done and in the first half, the events of 1963 threaten to overshadow the modern thread. Yet the two ultimately connect in an extremely satisfying way — about which the less said, the better.

The fragmented nature of the story somewhat limits the cast, but in addition to the unctuous qualities exuded by Wise (previously seen in “Cranford”), Ingleby is strong as a young detective whose commitment to solving the crime borders on obsession.

“Masterpiece” added the “Contemporary” label specifically so it could dabble in corset-free fare, yet “Place of Execution” manages to be both contemporary and nostalgic — a finely chosen place, coupled with first-rate execution.

Place of Execution

PBS, Sun. Nov. 1-8, 9 p.m.

Production: Filmed in the U.K. by Coastal Prods. in association with Ingenious Broadcasting 2 and presented by WGBH Boston. Executive producers, Rebecca Eaton, Robson Green, Sandra Jobling; producer, Philip Leach; director, Daniel Percival; writer, Patrick Harbinson, based on the novel by Val McDermid;

Crew: Camera, Steve Lawes; production designer, Claire Kenny; editor, David Thrasher; music, the Insects; casting, Joan McCann. 2 HOURS, 30 MIN.

Cast: Catherine Heathcote - Juliet Stevenson George Bennett - Lee Ingleby Philip Hawkin - Greg Wise Old George Bennett - Philip Jackson Tommy Clough - Tony Maudsley Sasha - Elizabeth Day

More TV

  • Jimmy Kimmel government shutdown

    Jimmy Kimmel Slams GOP for Using Children's Health Program in Shutdown Fight

    Wrapping a mystery within a mystery, “Place of Execution” is an absorbing “Masterpiece Contemporary” production that appropriately comes from an entity christened Ingenious Broadcasting — “ingenious” pretty well describes the movie’s last-act twist. Split into two parts (although the second runs less than an hour), this ITV import has a rather interesting take on the […]

  • Outlander Episode 310

    Starz Files FCC Complaint Against Altice USA as Carriage Fight Heads into Week Four

    Wrapping a mystery within a mystery, “Place of Execution” is an absorbing “Masterpiece Contemporary” production that appropriately comes from an entity christened Ingenious Broadcasting — “ingenious” pretty well describes the movie’s last-act twist. Split into two parts (although the second runs less than an hour), this ITV import has a rather interesting take on the […]

  • ACLU SoCal's Annual Bill of Rights

    Jay-Z Will Help CNN Launch 'The Van Jones Show'

    Wrapping a mystery within a mystery, “Place of Execution” is an absorbing “Masterpiece Contemporary” production that appropriately comes from an entity christened Ingenious Broadcasting — “ingenious” pretty well describes the movie’s last-act twist. Split into two parts (although the second runs less than an hour), this ITV import has a rather interesting take on the […]

  • New England Patriots tight end Aaron

    Author James Patterson Makes Brief Stop at ‘48 Hours’ to Examine Aaron Hernandez

    Wrapping a mystery within a mystery, “Place of Execution” is an absorbing “Masterpiece Contemporary” production that appropriately comes from an entity christened Ingenious Broadcasting — “ingenious” pretty well describes the movie’s last-act twist. Split into two parts (although the second runs less than an hour), this ITV import has a rather interesting take on the […]

  • Megyn Kelly

    NBC News Backs 'Megyn Kelly Today' Producers After Employee Alleges Behavior Concerns

    Wrapping a mystery within a mystery, “Place of Execution” is an absorbing “Masterpiece Contemporary” production that appropriately comes from an entity christened Ingenious Broadcasting — “ingenious” pretty well describes the movie’s last-act twist. Split into two parts (although the second runs less than an hour), this ITV import has a rather interesting take on the […]

  • BBC Studios Sets Leadership Team, BBC

    BBC Studios Sets Leadership Team, BBC Worldwide Content Chief Exiting

    Wrapping a mystery within a mystery, “Place of Execution” is an absorbing “Masterpiece Contemporary” production that appropriately comes from an entity christened Ingenious Broadcasting — “ingenious” pretty well describes the movie’s last-act twist. Split into two parts (although the second runs less than an hour), this ITV import has a rather interesting take on the […]

  • Sony Launches New Unscripted Banner with

    Sony Launches New Unscripted Banner with U.K. Producer Alan Brown

    Wrapping a mystery within a mystery, “Place of Execution” is an absorbing “Masterpiece Contemporary” production that appropriately comes from an entity christened Ingenious Broadcasting — “ingenious” pretty well describes the movie’s last-act twist. Split into two parts (although the second runs less than an hour), this ITV import has a rather interesting take on the […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content