Anyone with any appreciation for TV and film has sat gawping in horror as Hannibal Lecter tells Clarice how he ate his victim’s liver “with some fava beans and a nice Chianti”, completely enthralled by this intense, toxic and yet weirdly respectful relationship between murderer and psychiatrist. And now, thanks to ITV, we get to live it all again, this time with a yummy mummy killer – so she’d probably go for a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, rather than Chianti.
But thankfully, she’s not quite delved into cannibalism yet, instead deciding to brutally kill her kids. But did she mean to? This three-part series is an adaptation of the 2018 novel thriller of the same name, by Natalie Daniels. It centres around the forensic psychiatrist, Dr Emma Robertson, who is trying to unpick the messy mind of Constance – Connie, to the fellow mums at the school gate – Mortensen, who has recently driven her car off a bridge, killing her two children and surviving herself. Only problem is, she claims to have no memory of the incident. Emma is then thrown into a Clarice and Hannibal style situation with Connie, as she tries to figure out whether she’s got a murderous mother on her hands, or a mentally ill and disturbed individual. Or maybe even both.
Emily Watson is wonderful as the calm and collected Dr Robertson. At least, she’s calm until Connie starts reversing the questioning onto her, probing into her personal life and asking whether Emma is at all in a position to be judging a fellow fed-up mother. And so the psychological turmoil begins, and we become equally enthralled by the doctor’s mind as we are by the patient’s.
Told in just three parts, this is your perfect mid-week watch. So perfect, in fact, that Lucy Mangan in The Guardian gave Too Close five stars, saying it is “a fantastically compelling, brilliantly scripted whydunnit that is unquantifiably better than it needs to be,” adding it “feels like the most woman-centred, woman-driven mainstream production we’ve yet seen. That’s a bonus.” And The Times’s Carol Midgley matched her five star review, saying “Too Close hit the viewer square between the eyes from its opening scene and did not stop punching until the closing credits.” Midgley goes on to call this “a profound, hefty psychological tug of war adapted skilfully from the novel by Natalie Daniels…with some of the best writing and performances I have seen this year.” In fact, the Independent’s Ed Cumming says “you won’t see more blatant awards fodder this year, but that doesn’t mean Too Close won’t win them, or that they’ll be undeserved.”
First shown April 2021. You can watch the trailer here: