Murder on the Homefront Series 1 Episode 2 (ITV) Review

Beginning last week with what I felt was a strong opener, this second and final episode of Murder on the Homefront demonstrates how short series orders can sometimes stifle a creative vision rather than tighten it up. The trend for two or three episode series has grown over the last couple of years but, judging on how much this particular show had to cram into two hours, it’s not always an entirely positive movement.

There’s just so much going on here, with the overwhelming sense that, had it been given more time to build suspense or place suspicion on more players, the final episode would be a heck of a lot more satisfying. We know from the start, as we knew last week, that the man jailed for the murders hasn’t anything to do with it and, aside from a creepy sexual predator who’s taken a shining to Molly, there aren’t too many other people who fit the bill of serial killer.

So with the murder mystery stripped of its fun audience participation element, the show decides to crowbar in story threads about police corruption, the injustice of criminal informants being protected, the rampant prejudice against anyone with a German name and, then, a Nazi sympathiser. The idea that his speech would somehow make us, and Molly, understand his twisted sense of purpose is, of course, ludicrous so all we’re left with is a crazy man who likes killing young women. The trouble is that we’ve seen that lots of times before.

That it leads to a typical showdown between a super-pathologist and his assistant is also horribly predictable. Despite having lots of great elements and style, Murder on the Homefront just couldn’t pay off ideas and plots that hadn’t had time to develop. Add four episodes between these two and you could have a brilliantly entertaining period-crime drama but, in practice, it didn’t quite become anything at all.

What did you think of the episode? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.