We’re back with our true story of A Confession where we’ve just been dropped a bizarre plot twist in the disappearance of Sian O’Callaghan. I have to keep reminding myself of the “true story” part because it seems so unlikely yet here we are. Let’s find out some more after the break in A Confession S1:E1.2 recap.
One Saturday night, a young woman named Sian O’Callaghan (Florence Howard) walked out of a bar in the wee hours of the morning and vanished into a spray of headlights. Her mum Elaine Pickford (Siobhan Finneran) is not what you’d maybe expect as far as distraught parents go, I kind of love that she’s either shrugging, shouting that Sian’s either dead / better off dead or accusing the cops and media of manipulation.
Two days later, Deputy Chief Constable Ray Hayward (John Thomson) kills himself, seemingly connected to the reputation and career-ending sexual misconduct accusations being made against him by 50 women.
However. The DCC drove a car that looked a lot like the one Sian may have disappeared in, that will have to be investigated by Ray’s friend and our lead detective, Detective Superintendent Stephen Fulcher (Martin Freeman).
On the side, we’ve got a missing sometime-sex-worker named Becky, being looked for in a methodical way by her mum Karen Edwards (Imelda Staunton).
It’s with Karen and Becky (Stephanie Hyam who I remember from Bodyguard, that was a brilliant show) we open 8 years earlier in 2002. Becky’s trying to kick a drug habit with her mum’s help. Becks swings back and forth between exhausted resolve and fits of hysteria, the DTs have her badly. Karen’s husband Charlie (Peter Wight) listens outside the door as Becky alternates begging and physical aggression tactics on her mum, to no avail.
Karen wakes after a harrowing evening to the sound of a lighting flaring; Becky had a secret stash and now they’re back at the beginning. Karen goes downstairs to Charlie and son Steven (Darcy Vanhinsbergh), he checks upstairs and Becky’s run off.
Becky runs by 8-years-ago Elaine and Sian driving by, Sian makes a remark about Karen that I couldn’t catch so I assume there’s something there.
We’re back in 2011 with Elaine dropping her young son Aiden (Rufus Gerhardt-Williams) at school with Debbie (Simone Lahbibb), her ex-husband’s partner. That’s …civilized. Everyone is very kind and understanding and quite vocal about both, which is making Elaine very uncomfortable.
Karen is watching as she drops off her granddaughter, but the two women don’t exchange words.
DS Stephen Fulcher has the unenviable task of both interviewing his friend Ray Hayward’s girlfriend (Lisa Faulkner) about Ray’s suicide but also gently probing to see if Ray was also maybe a homicidal murderer. He gets a partial alibi out of her for Ray’s Saturday night, then is distracted by DI Sean Memory (Owain Arthur) gesturing from the doorway.
It seems one Jeremy Sirleaf (Tobi Bamtefa) has just walked into a police station and confessed to Sian’s murder.
At this point, we don’t even have a body or anything that says she HAS been murdered, so there is no evidence that can be corroborated.
DS Sarah Bilston (Caroline Bartleet) and DS Bob Cooper (Dominic Tighe) interview Jeremy; it becomes obvious very early on that he didn’t kill anyone, let alone at midnight as he specifies.
Stephen meets with CC Brian Moore (David Keeling), Ray had mentioned a specific animus against the CC in his emails.
Okay, back to checking out estate cars and more CCTV, they know what type of car to be looking for, thanks to Deborah Peach (Faye McKeever) whose role I’m not positive of…She’s associated with the police, Stephen called her the scribe but she’s also got information he doesn’t, like that the underwear found in the woods aren’t Sian’s, no DNA match.
Young constable PS Marcus Beresford-Smith (Jonny Lavelle) has spotted something important. A patrol car in the area picked up the license plate of a Toyota Aventis Estate Car with a white plaque on the side, it has to be the same one they saw. Cab driver Christopher Halliwell (Joe Absolom) is due to be picked up for questioning.
First the team gets together and reviews; DI Steve Kirby (David Nellist) fills everyone in on Halliwell’s record, which has some prior offenses but nothing serious and nothing violent or sexual.
Wait, they’re not picking Halliwell up, they will continue to take this is a best case scenario: an abduction and not a murder. He will be under surveillance.
Karen has Tracey Mullane (Morwenna Banks) over for tea, the only reason I can see for this scene is to show how much Karen’s life is based squarely on her missing daughter Becky.
Surveillance on Halliwel isn’t going well, he’s acting like it’s a normal day/normal shift, even putting up posters about Sian’s disappearance.
Pete the Pilot (Derek Riddel) finally comes home, Elaine finally shows some cracks in her stoic facade. She cries on him, where is she? Pete spots Elaine discreetly checking one of her breasts, she shies away but lets him check too. There’s a lump.
What a load of actual shite on this woman right now. How can we say how she should act?
DC Tracy Joyce (Maimie McCoy) is on stakeout at Halliwell’s job, she snags the garbage out of a bin he frequents to find a set of seat covers and a bottle of perfume.
DI Steve Kirby wants to grab Halliwell right now, but Stephen demurs, a decision that absolutely nobody understands. Then the surveillance team loses Halliwell down a dark road.
They pick him up again, but find something nearby set on fire. The detectives watch it burn, honestly! Stamp it out, it could be evidence!
Again, Stephen does not want Halliwell picked up.
Instead, let’s review some more CCTV with Sarah! They find Hailliwell covering up Sian’s face on a poster in a store…? Okay.
Meanwhile, the whole O’Callaghan/Pickford family has been quarantined with Sian’s boyfriend Kevin Reape (Charlie Cooper) as directed by Jackie (Anna Wilson-Jones) due to increased police presence and announcements.
The rest of the family is taking this as a good sign, but Elaine is not willing to give in to any speculation yet. She also will not be seeing a doctor for that lump any time soon, back off Pete!
*There have been multiple studies that have shown that traumatic experiences or situations when young (like a high-conflict divorce, addiction, domestic violence, neglect) can actually alter the brain, making people less likely to recognise positive situations and more likely to expect conflict and bad things. I’m wondering about Elaine’s childhood.
Sarah and Sean approach Halliwell for a DNA sample, they’ve got a cover that all local cab drivers are being asked to provide one but he looks discomfited.
Sean asks Halliwell about his whereabouts Saturday night which is practically a rhetorical question as they have him on CCTV. He says he finished by 1:00-1:30 am, which is lie #1.
They’ve recovered the item burning on the side of the road, it’s almost unrecognisable but could be the handbag Sian was carrying that night.
Just a reminder: the police did not see Halliwell set fire to whatever that is, they’d lost him and found that not far from where they picked him up again.
The next stage of surveillance has been activated, a fake pickup of police officers Penny (Naomi Yang) and Alan (Chris Coghill who was previously married to Lisa Faulkner. INTeresting!). Penny chats idly about Sian, looking at her missing poster on the back of Halliwell’s cab then they all three listen to the news about Sian’s disappearance.
Penny drops one more tidbit and Alan backs her up; the police have been saying an arrest is imminent.
IF YOU KNEW HOW DIFFICULT IT IS TO NOT GOOGLE WHAT HAPPENED…
Stephen is pulled into a meeting with the biggest wigs of the police department, DCC Pat Geenty (Gary Oliver) doesn’t agree with his decision to not take Hailliwell but Stephen is still betting on Sian being alive. If she’s not, they’re giving him an extremely large window to destroy evidence. Stephen plans to pull the plug the following evening at the latest.
The police settle down to watch Halliwell at his house while all the other families bunk down for the night.
Since Karen heard from her ex-husband that Becky was working at a club, she’s been calling around in between checking out the local prostitute stroll. She doesn’t know how to reach Becky, she even tried smoking up in front of her, to see what all the fuss is about.
I’ve come up with a harebrained idea connecting our storylines; what if Becky is being held captive by Halliwell and Sian is an addition?
I’m trying really hard to believe Sian is alive but the odds are absolutely against it.
Elaine climbs into bed with her youngest, he comforts her as she cries.
Something’s off at Halliwell’s house, he’s not gone to work for the evening shift as usual and his place is very quiet. The police creep up to look in his windows, no sign of life. Tracy calls Stephen for advice, he tells her to keep standing down. Stephen tells his deputy to get an intercept on Halliwell’s phone.
But he can’t, they can’t get the authority and that’s when we see Stephen lose his cool for the first time.
The more I watched that, the more alarmed I got. He was perfectly calm until he was screaming his head off, Deb didn’t even flinch.
They’re worried that he’ll kill himself before they can find out where Sian is, I don’t understand why they’re so invested in Sian being alive. I get the emotional part of that, but realistically that’s not where statistics put us, is it? There are so many assumptions being made about his possible behaviour that it’s difficult to believe this actually happened.
It’s a very long night, followed by Halliwell emerging from his home as shouts of “he’s alive!!” echo across police radios.
Finally, finally, the police pick up Halliwell.
He seems bemused at best, confused at worst. Tracy cautions him while bystanders video the arrest.
This video is uploaded to Facebook where Elaine’s son Liam (Jake Davies) sees it and shows everyone else.
Unfortunately, what Stephen was worried about does happen: they arrest Halliwell and he says nothing other than “no comment.” They have no evidence on him and having a woman question him may not have been the best choice.
Also not a good choice: Stephen choosing to break protocol and interview Halliwell himself. He has a “gut feeling” Sian is being held close by.
For the love of
Stephen takes Deb with him and meets Tracy and Halliwell at a nearby park. Not the police interview room, but outside…with no video cameras or recording devices.
We end with Stephen asking if Halliwell would be a good chap and tell him about Sian, thanks?
This show is different from most shows I do in that it’s an of-the-moment drama as opposed to one after the fact so we get all kind of red herrings and extraneous clues. It’s interesting but I admit to feeling slightly frustrated with our Stephen right now, he’s leaping to a lot of conclusions that won’t likely come to fruition. But we shall see!
Until next time! Cheers.