Case Sensitive Review: The Kids Aren’t Alright

CASE SENSITIVE: Tuesday 3rd May, ITV1, 9pm

If there is one thing that ITV are good at, it’s making disturbing drama and Case Sensitive is certainly that. If you are of nervous disposition, this programme could give you a few problems getting to sleep at night, because as strange as part one was on Monday night, tonight’s finale is much worse.

Having said that, the shot of the child on the swing at the end of the first episode was pretty chilling. Not because all children are scary, in fact it’s quite the opposite, most children are loud and exasperating albeit in a fairly innocuous way, and are less likely to give you a fright than a basket full of kittens. No, it’s because TV and film have conditioned us to be scared of children; ever seen The Sixth Sense? The Omen? The Ring? Orphan? All of these have made us want to run across the road at the sight of any kids, and into the waiting arms of the gang of hoodies opposite (Just to prove the point, Olivia Williams, who plays DS Zailer was Anna Crowe in The Sixth Sense.)

On this occasion, the killer doesn’t turn out to be the little girl though. After all, she lacks the driving ability and large hands and feet to star in the requisite ‘killer driving’ and ‘killer walking’ scenes throughout the episode. What it does tell you is that the identity of the killer is being kept secret for a reason – perhaps because he or she is a character already known to the viewer? The plot thickens…

The sub-plot running through the story is the burgeoning ‘will they, won’t they’ romance between Police officers Zailer and Waterhouse. Quite why every drama needs to have sexual undertones isn’t clear, but it makes for a bit of fun in the shape of she-likes-him-and-hides-it-by-getting-cross-all-the-time and he-likes-her-but-can’t-express-it. Without this, presumably they would just be two Police officers doing the job and conversing like normal, sane people which would just be boring.


Speaking of sane people, the killer is not one of them. No, he is haunted by the past tragedy of his 6-year-old daughter killing his wife by pushing an electric lamp into the bath, then killing herself by reaching in to try and save her mother. Better than that, though, is that it turns out that Jonathan – the softly-spoken assistant to wacky academic Steve – is the perpetrator of the crimes. Not only that, but he’s the one who has kidnapped Sally and locked her up in his old house, intending to move abroad and start a new family with her. At the finale, as he holds a syringe to DS Zailer’s neck, he confesses that all he ever wanted was a loving family and gets arrested; proving that you can’t always get what you want, but sometimes you definitely get what you need.

Odd and disturbing as Case Sensitive is, it struggles along the fine line between gritty reality and farce, occasionally feeling more like Midsomer Murders than a post-watershed drama.