Good news, Line of Duty fans! Less than six months after that we were glued to our screens watching the LoD season six finale, Showtrial – a brand new BBC One show from the same production company – is here to fill its place.
Showtrial, a six-part miniseries produced by World Productions (Line of Duty, Vigil, Bodyguard), written by Ben Richards (Spooks, The Tunnel) and directed by Zara Hayes, is a British legal drama centred around the murder of a Bristol University student.
The main suspect is Talitha Campbell, played by British-Belgian actor Celine Buckens (Free Rein, Bridgerton), the daughter of an infamous property developer. Cleo Roberts, played by British-Nigerian actor Tracy Ifeachor, who is best known for starring in vampire drama The Originals, is the duty-solicitor brought on board to defend her.
Line of Duty carefully unpeeled layers of corruption within the police force, and Showtrial – similarly – asks probing questions of the UK’s judicial system, exploring how much the value of unbiased judgement is upheld.
In the words of creator and writer Ben Richards, ‘The right to a fair trial and the idea of reasonable doubt lie at the heart of a civilised society. Showtrial explores how they can be distorted by other factors, in a world where concepts such as fairness, doubt and reason are afforded such diminishing value.’
Within the world of the show, the case receives a strong amount of media attention – and as the action progresses, and as interest grows, the question of whether justice – or popular prejudice – is being served becomes more and more prescient.
A showtrial is defined as ‘a judicial trial held in public with the intention of influencing or satisfying public opinion, rather than of ensuring justice,’ and, cleverly, viewers are encouraged to challenge their own prejudices and judgement, too, alongside the fictional jury. ‘This isn’t a show which tells you which side to pick,’ Buckens – who plays Talitha – tells GLAMOUR.
One of the most compelling elements of Showtrial is the magnetising dynamic between the two main characters, Talitha and Cleo. On screen, they are an unlikely duo – Talitha’s sparkly tube top, lurid neon green nails and permanent smirk clashing with Cleo’s immaculate tailored suits and no-nonsense stare.