Guilt: A Fall From Grace – Another Faux Pas (Review)

DAISY HEAD

Guilt has moved on rather quickly from last week‘s “stitching up” of Mr. Finch, proprietor  of The Courtenay.  “A Fall From Grace” has the youngest Atwood sister in gaol for the murder of Molly Ryan. And herein lies the massive faux pas in this week’s episode.

Prison landings  in England are run by officers not guards. There are no “prison guards” nor are they referred to as “guards.”  Convicts, aka inmates, aka prisoners refer to them as “screws” or Guv’s or “boss.”  Not guards.  (Having been a prison officer 10 years for Her Majesty’s Prison Service  makes the use of the word “guard” a prickly subject.)

Back to the plot: Daisy is now on remand for suspicion of murdering poor Molly.  The planting of evidence by Roz, Natalie and Daisy has not worked.  Crime does pay, or at least running  a high-end brothel does, as Finch’s car has a security camera in it. The handy little device catches Atwood planting the phone.

Stan Gutterie reprimands Natalie for being involved with the attempted subversion of justice.

Meanwhile, the defense attorney tries to get the  journalist   Veena Patel (Sujaya Dasguptato publish information that Molly was a “high-end” call girl.  She refuses.  If Gutterie can provide proof however, Patel  will be happy to print the story.

Kaley (Amber Jean Rowan) gets a peak at Gentleman 33, aka Prince Theo.  She tells Molly’s brother Patrick about his sister’s regular customer at the  brothel revealing who he is. Natalie goes to question Molly’s stalker Neville (Ryan Gerald). He tells Grace’s big sister that Prince Theo killed Molly.  

While the lad seems most sincere this seems a bit too pat.  Should it not be harder to find out who killed Molly?

This latest bit of information could clear Grace if the cops learn about Neville’s eyewitness account of the murder.  However, it seems unlikely as the lad is, apparently, mentally challenged to some degree.

Which leads to the other issue of his fingering the prince for the Ryan girl’s murder. Did he really see Prince Theo slash Molly to rag doll ribbons?  Our money is still on that very handy butler, the prince may have been there but it would not be surprising to see his “handler” Philip (Osi Okerafor) actually doing the dirty work. 

There is also the possibility that Grace did kill her bestie.  She was, after all, gone for quite some time and she did walk through the blood.  Neville, despite being stabbed in the leg by Grace, may be covering up what he really saw.

It is interesting to note that despite step father James visiting his little poppet in prison, and singing her a little song, he is quite willing to send her up the river. His Russian mob connections are not too happy with him at the moment.

ANTHONY HEAD
Anthony Head as James

Back to Roz and Kaley:  Roz starts dumping records and sets them on fire.  Finch turns up and accuses her of helping Patrick steal the ledger. (She actually did help a little.) Roz protests her innocence as the glorified pimp pulls a  pistol out of his pocket and starts to shoot her in the face.

Kaley bashes Finch’s head in with a ornament of some kind and as the camera moves back, the now former manager of The Courtenay is laying  in the alley, eyes open, unmoving  and clearly dead.

There are two more episodes, apparently, left in this season. Will Grace be proven innocent or guilty?

Guilt airs Mondays on Freeform.

 

CAST:

Guilt: Exit Wounds – Getting It So Wrong (Review)

DAISY HEAD

Guilt on Freeform continues to irritate rather than entertain.  “Exit Wounds “keeps getting it so wrong in terms of the law in England.  This week it is specifically gun laws and the reactions of the “Old Bill” (slang for police) to guns and their use in self defense.  First of all the courts and law enforcement do not really want the citizenry to defend themselves.

The cops would much rather find your cold dead body and then work to prosecute the culprit rather than find you standing over your assailant victorious and unharmed. Violence, in the United Kingdom,  is left to the experts, i.e. the police.

This is, after all, the country where celebrity Myleene Klass was strongly rebuked in 2010 for “brandishing a knife” at intruders in her home. She was alone there with her child and flashed the kitchen implement in an effort to make them leave. The cops were not best pleased.

In terms of using a gun as self defense, Norfolk farmer Tony Martin was arrested in 1999 and done for murder after shooting at two  burglars. He killed one and did three years for defending himself and his property.

It is highly unlikely that the Old Bill would have been so understanding toward Mrs. Linley for getting a hunting rifle out to defend her husband and home. (Granted she shot her cheating hubby and Patrick Ryan and then lied about it. Regardless of her telling the detective’s “porkies” (slang for lies) they would  not responded so sympathetically.)

(One last sidenote about the rifle.  Gun laws in the UK are beyond stringent. Owners must have a proper certificate and the weapon, if stored at home, must be in a locked case.  Not to mention that in all likelihood the thing should have been a shotgun rather than a proper hunting rifle with a scope. Guns in the UK are exorbitantly priced and while a university professor may be able to afford a weapon that would cost thousands of pounds to own, it is unlikely.)

Back to the plot: This week Guilt sees Mrs. Linley paying a visit to her wounded husband and Grace.  Patrick is seen to by his girlfriend, aka Madame Prosecutor and  then turned in. Stan’s plan to recover Molly’s phone goes awry when the blackmailer turns out to be much cleverer   than he is. James is definitely not a nice man and the prince apparently got Molly pregnant.

Grace falters under the weight of all the haters on social media and overdoses on her sisters sleeping pills. Natalie feels responsible and when she waits to visit Grace meets the reporter who tipped Patrick Ryan off previously.

It does seem that the prince is the one with something to hide. He goes to intimidate  DS Bruno and it seems to work. (Which is rather interesting as the royal family have no real power at all.)  But this move can be somewhat overlooked as it appears that the prince has  information on Bruno that the detective sergeant does not want out.

Right now the prince probably  wants his visits to the “50 Shades” club kept secret. It would also seem that he wants any news of his being the father of the child Molly was carrying when she died kept quiet as well.

There was one high note in the third episode of Guilt. The bus scene with the blackmailer, her man and the Manchester football supporters, aka hooligans. It was odd that they got involved with the little fracas with the backpack. (Although later it all makes perfect sense.) At the end of the scene, Gutterie postures and threatens only to be head butted in the face and it is priceless.

It seems that the ex-pat lawyer is not “all that” after all.

Grace does a “Paula Deen” and speaks to her haters, except it appears to be either on periscope or snapchat and not on video. Her spiel goes over well and she gets a flood of support.  Herein lies the main problem (apart from the English things that are off) with Guilt.

We have a dead pregnant girl, slashed to rag doll ribbons that was the BFF of Grace Atwood. Thus far the amount of tears shed for her dead bestie would not fill a shot glass or an egg cup. Self centered to the nth degree, it has all been about Daisy’s pain and upset. Most annoying.

Guilt airs  Mondays  on Freeform.  Stop by and see how you feel about the show and Grace. It may get better. For example, Natalie was far less irritating this week…

CAST:

Guilt: American Psycho – James and Molly (Review)

 EMILY TREMAINE, DAISY HEAD, ANTHONY HEAD

Since last week’s opening episode none of the characters have suddenly become likable. The plot is moving forward, with its hints at murderous members of the royal family and a high cost bordello where girls from university work for a bit of extra cash.  James (Anthony Head) becomes clearer in this installment of Guilt, entitled “American Psycho” and apart from having a romantic tryst, or two, with Molly,  is not a nice chap at all.

It is obvious that Grace’s stepfather impregnated her murdered bestie Molly. Although the stressed older playboy may be more concerned with keeping any connection with the high end bordello quiet.

Grace (Daisy Head) manages to  effortlessly appear in the worst light possible much to her sister Natalie’s (Emily Tremaine) alarm and Stan’s (played by Billy Zane) annoyance. “She’s like a whack-a-mole,” he mutters when spying her latest boneheaded stunt.

The negative publicity tops out with her getting the nickname “American Psycho” after a reporter takes a picture of Daisy laughing moments after her tearful memorial speech for Molly.

Earlier there is a video of Daisy getting physical with Molly and a classmate threatens to go public with it unless a payment of £15K is received.  Stan takes care of this with his usual flair and the student ends up with enough for  a new laptop and a threat of punitive action if she approaches Daisy again.

Molly’s brother is doing his own investigations into his sister’s murder and when he tracks down the womanizing professor Patrick (Kevin Ryan) begins beating a confession out of the academic Lothario.  The man’s wife appears with a hunting rifle. 

Telling Patrick to get away from her husband, she then shoots him. Patrick is covered with blood. As the camera pans away from the house, another shot rings out.

This episode of Guilt piles on the twists and turns. There is the “50 Shades” bordello where a girl costs the pimp running it a cool £20K by refusing to provide some service. (One really has to ask what sexual act could be worth that much.)

There is clear evidence that Molly was having a fling with James and Grace’s other roommate is not a law-abiding type.  Madam Prosecutor is shagging her lead detective, and has been for some time apparently, and (back to James again)  the stepdad is paying well above the asking price for all this to “go away.”

Grace still comes across as the most self-centered and gormless student ever in a London university.  Natalie continues to annoy. (One wonders how she ever won a case back in Boston, she is so irritating.) Gutterie is amusing and somewhat droll. His love of hats is a nice touch as is his glib assurance that no one else could keep Daisy out of jail.

There is the small question of why an academic has a hunting rifle versus a shotgun as it is much easier to imagine the professor hunting pheasant with a 12 gauge rather than something bigger with a “proper” rifle and  a scope.

Guilt is piling on the intrigue  but still lacks any main characters we really care about. This may change if Daisy is allowed to stop being so vapid and self absorbed and if Natalie becomes less irksome.  Anthony Head gives good bad guy so smart money should be on him being the killer and not the faux royal “prince.”

The series airs Mondays on Freeform. Tune in and see what you think about this Amanda Knox type murder mystery. See if there is a legitimate James and Molly connection or not. Let us know who you fancy for the killer.

Guilt: Pilot Lacks Characters We Care For (Review)

DAISY HEAD

Freeform premiered “Guilt” on June 12. Mike’s Film Talk did a preview of the pilot beforehand and overall felt faintly optimistic about the show. Sadly, re-watching the opening episode  revealed a few flaws.  The characters were not likable and none of them evoked feelings that urged us to care one way or another about their outcomes.

This was a show I really wanted to like. With personal favorite Anthony (Stewart) Head, his daughter Daisy, and a setting in London, this should have been a winner hand’s down.   However things are not gelling  at all here.  (And the murdered party girl’s name being Molly did not help things either.)

Daisy Head is Grace Atwood; a self centered and not too bright student whose partying ends with her Irish roomie being murdered. When  questioned by the police, the young woman admits going downstairs to pee. She walked through her roommates blood but only got upset when she thought the killer might have been there.  This  lack of reaction to her best mate in the world being sliced and diced to death leaves little room for sympathy.

Emily Tremaine as older sister Natalie Atwood is just annoying.  Not licensed to practice law in England (and there is a world of difference between the two countries in this area) she takes it upon herself to replace Billy Zane’s charismatic counsel.  Zane plays Stan Gutterie a disgraced American lawyer who can practice law in the U.K. 

The allusion to the Amanda Knox murder case in Italy is all too clear.  Presumably the location change to England was to prevent subtitles or because ABC/Disney (which Freeform is part of) have contacts in England in the way of studios. (See: Galavant.)

There is the requisite sexual angle, although no sex games in the London flat to throw suspicion on the participants. Instead there is a sort of rich boy’s club where BDSM is the theme and members of the royal family come to play.

Natalie fails to remove Gutterie and centers her attack on the stepdad; James (Anthony Head).  In all fairness, he is an easy target. All smarmy charm and a slightly off personality makes James someone easy to dislike.  The accent does not help.

(Sidenote: Head’s American accent makes him sound quite cold and calculating. The actor’s native accent is charming and conveys a wealth of emotions. It should be noted that the actor was a baddy in “Dominion” where he also sported an American accent.)

Another complaint was/is the deference to these American’s in the capital.  Not once is the nickname of “Yank” used, yet in England that is a common (even congenial) term for folks this side of the pond. Professional dealings with law enforcement in the past in real life shows this is a common utterance when faced with an American, suspect or not.

Despite these problems there is the issue of the main suspects all acting like idiots.  The  couple doing a runner to Paris stunt, for example, and the “I’ll just go out side and be surprised when the press jump me” moment.

By then end of the first episode we do not really care  all that much for Grace. She appears to have little grasp on reality or even common sense. Natalie is just noise and aggravation and James is not seen enough for us to make an assessment of his character at all.

Thus far it is Billy Zane,  as the international lawyer,  who comes out best. His eccentricities and fondness for martinis does not, however, make him overly likable just yet.

“Guilt” airs Mondays on Freeform. Tune in and see what you think. Is this too much of a “watered down” Amanda Knox retelling or a tepid American abroad story? Let us know if you have connected with any of the characters yet.

Guilt: Freeform Murder Amanda Knox Style – Preview

Daisy Head

Freeform distributes some pretty excellent television ‘Stitchers’ and ‘Shadowhunters’ to name but two. Now they are bringing out a murder mystery, titled ‘Guilt,’ in the style of real life murder suspect Amanda Knox. Knox was the American student caught up in a turgid sex tinged murder case in Italy back in 2007.

Knox, who was convicted twice and whose convictions were overturned twice, had a good friend murdered and Amanda and her Italian boyfriend were the main suspects.  The case made headline news as recently as 2015.

‘Guilt’ is set in London rather than Italy and the American student’s boyfriend is French rather than Italian.  Anthony Head plays Grace Atwood’s  stepfather James (Grace is portrayed by  Head’s  real-life daughter Daisy).   He is a ruthless business man who travels the globe for his business and prefers his lovers to be the same age as his student stepchild.

Emily Tremaine plays big sister Natalie who is an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney who hates   James. Billy Zane  is the ex-pat lawyer who James hires to keep Daisy out of prison. New Scotland Yard are investigating and Daisy is her own worst enemy in terms of publicity.  

Zane is egotistical, eccentric and fun as the flamboyant lawyer who costs big bucks to hire and his character is destined to be disliked by Natalie on sight.

‘Guilt’ looks interesting. (How can it not with the obvious Amanda Knox influence?) The only issue with the series thus far is that it is an Americanized “watered-down” version of England.  For example, in one scene, the police officer  “on-scene”  tells the DSI that one of the suspects is a foreigner (French) and the other is American. This would not be the case. In reality both would be classed as foreign and Head’s character referred to as a “Yank.”

Unlike the Netflix series ‘River‘ which was English as afternoon tea and scones, ‘Guilt’ is set in an England that  the rest of the world sees. There is a royal family connection, a prince with a made up name,  a sex club and  prostitution.  Like many other productions set in the country made by foreigners, there are far too many red phone boxes.  (They were discontinued/retired with only a few left in “historical” areas for the tourists.)

This show is not doing anything different from other shows based in England (‘Guilt’ is shot in the UK actually) it seems that producers fear that  without the iconic phone boxes the viewer will never really believe that the show is set in England.

Being set overseas  the mystery of who killed Molly will be dealing with a “foreign” legal system (One that does not have the death penalty for a start.) with procedures and rules that are slightly different from the US. (And in some ways wildly different, check out their version of Miranda rights.)

There are a number of familiar English actors in the show: Anthony Head and Daisy Head, Robbie Gee, Naomi Ryan, Cristian Solimeno and Irish actor Kevin Ryan. The American contingent consists of Zane and Tremaine. The acting is top notch.

The clubbing scene in London  is presented quite well and the set design is pretty impressive as well. At the start each wall in the shared flat has wallpaper on it.  The slang is also pretty spot on: Tossers and bugger all, being just two examples that represent how real people talk in England.

There is a “50 Shades” thing going on with a BDSM club for those with a full bank account, or the fictional prince, or even James the stepdad.  The action is  centered in London and features some events that are clearly fictionalized (the public speaking ceremony at the memorial of Molly rings rather false).

Watching the two episodes on offer at the moment, the story grabs you and keeps the interest up.  Something to look forward to in June when it airs on Freeform, ‘Guilt’ may not be as down and dirty as ‘River’ but it does promise to deliver in terms of entertainment and mystery.

Worth a look, or two (that second episode cliff-hanger ending is to die for) so mark it on the calendar, June 13 on Freeform.