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A Confession

  • Episode:

    5 of 6

  • Transmission (TX):

    Mon 30 Sep 2019

  • TX Confirmed

    Yes

  • Time

    9.00pm - 10.00pm

  • Week:

    Week 40 2019 : Sat 28 Sep - Fri 04 Oct

  • Channel:

    ITV

  • Published:

    Wed 18 Sep 2019

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Series overview

A Confession, from acclaimed screenwriter, Jeff Pope, starring Martin Freeman, Imelda Staunton, Siobhan Finneran and Joe Absolom has been coproduced by ITV Studios and Urban Myth Films.

The series tells the story of how Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher, played by Martin Freeman (StartUp, The Hobbit, Sherlock, Fargo), deliberately breached police procedure and protocol to catch a killer, a decision that ultimately cost him his career and reputation.

Set in Swindon, Wiltshire, ‘A Confession’, details the disappearance of 22-year-old Sian O’Callaghan in March 2011. On a night out with girlfriends, Sian left a nightclub in Swindon Old Town to walk the 15 minutes home to boyfriend Kevin Reape, played by Charlie Cooper (This Country). Worried for her safety, Kevin reports Sian missing when she fails to come home in the early hours or respond to his increasingly frantic texts.

With the police investigation underway, officers arrive on the doorstep of Sian’s mother, Elaine O’Callaghan, played by Siobhan Finneran (Cold Feet, The Moorside, Happy Valley), who at first thinks her daughter must have stayed overnight with a girlfriend. Described as a ‘family girl’, it was uncharacteristic of Sian to be out of touch with her loved ones.

Senior Investigating Officer Steve Fulcher leads a team which begins to piece together Sian’s last movements, scouring CCTV footage from the club and re-tracing her steps home. Cell-site analysis reveals her mobile phone signal bouncing off a mast 14 miles away in Savernake Forest. With the missing person’s enquiry in full swing Fulcher, orders a full-scale search operation.

Believing Sian may still be alive, Fulcher operates on the premise that Sian is being held somewhere against her will. If she is, he knows it will be a race against time. Through diligent and painstaking police work Fulcher and his team discovers CCTV footage of her in the High Street, which leads to vital clues in the investigation.

Meanwhile, Karen Edwards, played by Imelda Staunton (Maleficent, Paddington, Harry Potter, Vera Drake, The Girl), the mother of Becky Godden, a 20-year-old who disappeared eight years previously in 2003, is watching the investigation unfold on the local news and in the town centre. Reminded of Becky’s disappearance, she becomes gripped by fear that her daughter will somehow be involved in what is unfolding before her eyes as the search for Sian goes on.

A known drug addict and prostitute, Becky had disappeared many times before and although Karen had tried to help her daughter, staging interventions and paying for rehabilitation, sadly Becky continued to lapse back into addiction.

Coincidentally, the property where Karen lives with her second husband, Charlie, backs on to the home of Elaine O’Callaghan and her then partner. Although they don’t know one another, their lives become tragically intertwined when Fulcher and his team edge closer to their chief suspect, local taxi driver Christopher Halliwell, played by Joe Absolom (Doc Martin, The Level, Suspects).

The investigation culminates in a standoff between Fulcher and Halliwell at a remote location, as Fulcher tries to avoid him being taken back to a police station, being given a solicitor and saying ‘no comment’. Just as Fulcher is about to give up, Halliwell suddenly makes a startling confession. But this moment of apparent triumph takes on sinister consequences and steers the investigation in a completely unforeseen direction.

Episode 5

Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher (Martin Freeman) is lionized in the media for leading an investigation that recovered not one, but two bodies murdered by serial killer Christopher Halliwell (Joe Absolom). But behind the scenes he is facing a disciplinary hearing at the hands of the IPCC, charged with gross misconduct.

Steve is suspended from duty with immediate effect by his superior ACC Mike Veale, for inappropriate contact with a journalist. Now facing two counts of gross-misconduct in a Public Office, Steve is left staring down the barrel knowing that one count alone would be enough for him to lose the job that he loves.

Karen Edwards (Imelda Staunton), outraged at the fact that Halliwell will not face charges for the murder of her daughter Becky Godden-Edwards, goes to meet with her local MP Robert Buckland, to discuss a change that she thinks needs to made to PACE laws, to prevent a mess like this from ever happening again. But while Karen has this new campaign to focus on to help Steve Fulcher, Elaine Pickford (Siobhan Finneran) finds herself without purpose and struggling to cope with the loss of her daughter Sian.

Steve Fulcher’s disciplinary hearing begins and immediately a visible divide opens up in the room, Karen and Charlie Edwards (Peter Wight) supporting Steve’s actions as Detective Superintendent, and John Godden (Christopher Fulford) opposing Fulcher. 

Karen Edwards, determined to get justice for her daughter Rebecca, sets out on a campaign to change the PACE laws, taking her fight all the way to Prime Minister David Cameron.