I have a confession to make, no it’s not that I’m guilty of the crimes investigated in Murder, Mystery and My Family, it’s that the series is addictive. If you don’t watch yourself, you could become a bit of a binge watcher. This is true crime meets family history with Rumpole of the Bailey thrown in.
Each episode sees two criminal barristers explore an historical murder case using modern forensics. In all but one of the cases, the accused was hanged. To add sauce to the pudding, the accused person’s descendants delve into the social and historical context of the crime.
The two criminal barristers are Sasha Wass who prosecutes but in most cases will admit if she thinks that a miscarriage of justice has taken place. Sasha would make a good poker player but now and again, she does let a twinkle escape from her eyes. Defence is undertaken by Jeremy Dein. It wouldn’t be unfair on first impressions to think that Jeremy had wondered off a P G. Wodehouse production but once he gets into his stride he is thorough and most watchable.
The aim is that new evidence will emerge so that when the barristers present their findings to a retired high court judge, he will reflect on what he has been told and find the past verdict unsafe or not. If any of this seems a bit dusty and dry, it isn’t. The reason for this is that the descendants could be the hanged person’s child or grandchild – we feel for them as they have to learn more about their ancestor’s past. They have the pain of the execution to deal with but also the stigma that murder carries with it.
The other reason that it is such compelling viewing is that as you follow the case, you will start to develop your own viewpoint and arguments. Whether you find yourself shouting at the barristers and judge or totally agreeing with them, you will become totally involved in the proceedings.
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You can watch all ten, 45 minute episodes on the BBC iPlayer here - be sure to enjoy!