The Suspicions of Mr Whicher

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher DVD cover
Based on The Suspicions of Mr Whicher or The Murder at Road Hill House
by Kate Summerscale
Written by Neil McKay
Helen Edmundson
Starring Paddy Considine
Tim Pigott-Smith
William Beck
Nancy Carroll
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 4
Running time 95 minutes
Original network ITV
Original release 25 April 2011 (2011-04-25) – 14 September 2014 (2014-09-14)

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher is a British series of television films made by Hat Trick Productions for ITV, written by Neil McKay and Helen Edmundson. It stars Paddy Considine in the title role of detective inspector Jack Whicher of the Metropolitan Police.[1] The first film, The Murder at Road Hill House, was based on the real-life Constance Kent murder case of 1860, as interpreted by Kate Summerscale in her 2008 book The Suspicions of Mr Whicher or The Murder at Road Hill House.

Subsequent episodes are fictionalised accounts of Whicher's career as a private enquiry agent. McKay wrote the first of these, The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: The Murder In Angel Lane, which was filmed in early 2013 and was broadcast on 12 May 2013. It was followed by two episodes written by Edmundson, The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: Beyond the Pale, broadcast on 7 September 2014, and The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: The Ties that Bind, broadcast on 14 September 2014. Considine later announced on Twitter that the show would not be continuing.[2]

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: The Murder at Road Hill House


When three-year-old Saville Kent is found murdered in dreadful circumstances at the family home in Wiltshire, Commissioner Mayne (Tim Pigott-Smith) sends Scotland Yard detective Inspector Jack Whicher (Paddy Considine) to investigate the crime. Local Superintendent Foley (Tom Georgeson) believes that the murder is an 'inside job', committed by Saville's nurse Elizabeth Gough (Kate O'Flynn), whom he suspects the child had seen in bed with a man, possibly the child's father, Samuel Kent (Peter Capaldi) but whom he is forced to release due to lack of evidence.

When Whicher arrives, Foley, suspicious of this outsider and his progressive police methods, reluctantly agrees to help. The focus of Whicher's investigation is a torn and blood-stained piece from a woman's undergarment that had been found during the initial search for the missing boy. Constance Kent (Alexandra Roach), Samuel Kent's sixteen-year-old daughter from his first marriage, claims that one of her three night-gowns had been lost by the laundress. When Dr. Stapleton (Ben Miles), the family's doctor tells Whicher that Constance, like her late mother, is mentally unstable and resentful of Saville, her father's son from his second marriage, she immediately becomes Whicher's prime suspect. It is discovered that Constance and her younger brother William Saville-Kent (Charlie Hiett) hate their stepmother Mary (Emma Fielding) — who had in fact been employed as their former nanny, with whom their father had had an affair while their mother was dying. He visits a schoolmate of Constance's, Emma Moody, who tells him that Constance enjoyed hurting Saville. As the circumstantial evidence builds Whicher arrests Constance convinced that she has killed her half-brother out of revenge against her father for his treatment of her mother and his neglect of her and William, but he fails to get a confession from her. At her trial, her lawyer discredits Whicher's case by wilfully misrepresenting it. Emma Moody is called as a witness, but she lies and states that Constance adored her half-brother, and Constance is acquitted. Whicher accuses Mr. Kent of abetting the wrongful acquittal.

Whicher's reputation is destroyed. He suffers a breakdown and leaves the police force. Five years later, in 1865, Constance confesses her guilt to a clergyman, the Rev. Arthur Wagner (Antony Byrne), and is re-tried. In court the Rev. Wagner gives a declaration that he must withhold any information on the grounds that it had been received under the seal of "sacramental confession". At the same time it is revealed that Superintendent Foley had withheld evidence from Whicher during the original investigation. This time Constance Kent admits her guilt, but refuses to corroborate Whicher's theory that her brother was also involved in the murder.

Constance Kent is sentenced to death. However, viewers are informed by means of captions that due to public outcry after the trial the sentence is commuted to life in prison, that she is released after serving twenty years, and that she emigrates to Australia where she dies at the age of 100.


The drama was directed by James Hawes and was written by Neil McKay, based on the book The Suspicions of Mr Whicher or The Murder at Road Hill House by Kate Summerscale.

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: The Murder In Angel Lane

In January 2013 ITV announced that a new two-hour film was in production, with Paddy Considine reprising his rôle as Inspector Jack Whicher,[3] who is now a private inquiry agent, in a new fictional adventure. The film co-starred Olivia Colman.[4] The television film was produced by Hat Trick Productions, and was again written by BAFTA award-winner Neil McKay. It was directed by Christopher Menaul with Mark Redhead as executive producer, and Rob Bullock as producer.

It was filmed on location in Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and central London in early 2013.


When former police Detective Inspector Jack Whicher (Paddy Considine) finds wealthy Susan Spencer (Olivia Colman) searching for her 16-year-old niece Mary Drew in a low public house in London's notorious Angel Lane, she enlists his services to find her niece. When the body of Mary is found brutally murdered in Angel Lane, robbed of a family heirloom and having recently given birth to a child, Spencer persuades Whicher to bring those responsible to justice.

The search begins for Stephen Gann (William Postlethwaite), Mary's 19-year-old lover and the father of her child. Whicher finds the missing child at the Church-run home for fallen women where she has taken refuge, and later confronts Gann, who in a struggle pulls a knife which is identical to the murder weapon and makes his escape.

Whicher seeks the help of his former colleagues in the Metropolitan Police, including 'Dolly' Williamson (William Beck) and Commissioner Mayne (Tim Pigott-Smith), but, with the exception of Inspector Lock (Shaun Dingwall), they warn Whicher off from interfering in what is a police matter. When Whicher visits Miss Spencer’s country home he learns that her father had been murdered by Gann’s father.

Whicher’s investigation takes him to a lunatic asylum, to question Gann's grandfather, where his suspicions lead to a fresh grave being reopened but without finding the body he expects to be found hidden in it. Shaken by his failure and convinced that he no longer possesses the skills necessary to solve the crime Whicher decides to give up the investigation but then discovers a new clue after Mary Drew’s funeral when he finds Stephen Gann at Mary's grave. Whicher seems to be close to solving the case and returns to the asylum where he is accused of being mentally unstable and after a struggle is strapped into a straitjacket and locked up at the instigation of Dr Casement (Alistair Petrie) and Inspector Lock.

When Stephen Gann's grandfather, an inmate in the asylum finally reveals the identity of Susan Spencer's murderer was his other son, Gann's wealthy uncle and the father of her illegitimate child, the murdered, Mary Drew. Whicher makes his escape and confronts those responsible for her murder in a chilling finale.


The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: Beyond the Pale


Mr Whicher is hired by his one-time political master and the man behind Whicher’s dismissal from the force, former Home Secretary Sir Edward Shore, to look into threats made against his son Charles, who has recently returned to London from India with his wife and children, only to discover he is being pursued by Lascars (A slang for Indian sailors) in search of some kind of retribution.

Sir Edward would like this case hushed up and quietly solved; but when murder comes into play, all rules and social etiquettes must be put to aside; Mr Whicher has to investigate the murder of an Indian man who has been making these threats. Whicher's pursuit of justice leads him to uncover betrayal and inter-racial tension in London's docklands.

The historic Chatham Dockyard in Kent was used as a film location for some of the London streets and docks.[5]

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: The Ties That Bind


Whicher follows a married woman through London to a secret assignation. He is bearing witness to an open and shut case that will lead to divorce for Sir Henry Coverley from his wife Lady Jane. But, when the co-respondent is killed, a simple case soon spirals out of control, embracing love, desire, gambling, corruption, theft and an illicit passion that leads to murder.


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