TV Review: “The Victim” (2019) ★★★★

What does the term victim stand for? Who gets qualified to be called one? Normally, we know that it’s someone who finds themselves at the unfortunate end of any type of assault or killing or fraud mainly fall into this category. If we dig deep, however, we begin realizing that the meaning of the term victim is much broader than what we might have initially thought. Because, at the end of the day, the one who commits a crime is a victim as well for many reasons. For us to think that far means leaving our comfort zone of understanding, when in reality, one simple question can explain everything, and that question is “why?”.

Anna Dean (Kelly Macdonald) had an idyllic life until the moment when her nine-year-old son, Liam Graham, was killed senselessly by a boy, Eddie J. Turner, who was just a few years older. Sent to prison, the young man, after some time, was released earlier instead of serving life in jail. The still-grieving mother learns the new identity of Turner, who she thinks is Craig Myers and uses social media to reveal his name and address. After being attacked by an unknown person, Craig Myers becomes a victim of Anna’s actions, and now it’s her turn to stand trial not to defend herself, but let the truth come out into the light, that is falsely thought to be a remedy for a broken heart.

Detective Stephen Grover (John Hannah) is assigned to investigate the case. He was warned right from the beginning about the sensitivity of the matter but remains indifferent towards Anna’s loss, and considers Craig Myers, whether he is really Turner or not, as the victim. Determined to send her to jail, he does his best to ensure the woman won’t get away with it. In the meantime, Craig Myers seemingly perfectly builds his life with wife Rebecca (Karla Crome) and a young daughter. Eagerly trying to prove that Anna is wrong, the man does not want to share any of his old documents to prove the point. As the trial gets escalated, emotions will boil down to the level where everyone loses control. Blind for justice, an eye for an eye concept grows throughout the series (four episodes only) to draw the most incredible picture of being a victim in the most mind-shattering manner.

Set in Glasgow, the Scottish series provides a daring image of loss, grief, the impact of social media as well as why sometimes certain things must be left behind. However, realizing that Anna is in no way willing to cope with the constant pain she experiences since the day her son was brutally killed, she does not mind if her actions take her to prison. She wants justice to be served no matter what. The problem here is though why to go after someone who has already paid his due for everything he has done, even though the justice system was way too kind to let him free by not only releasing him from prison but giving him a new identity? We, of course, do not know whether Myers is the man Anna is looking for. But taking the risk is something she is ready to do without logical comprehension of the situation. Her emotions are the only driving force, and as you know, it leads to one end only. An end that will either satisfy her or leave her disappointed.

 Created by Rob Williams, “The Victim” is a superbly written series that has absolutely no gaps in the storyline. There are many ways to prove a point. However, the series is not about whether Myers and Turner are the names of the same person but to determine why Anna Dean goes to trial to be heard. The show is full of unexpected consequences forced by Anna – Myers must restore his reputation, Anna may go to jail for going after a free man, a man who she thinks killed her son. That concept alone is astounding. Because we don’t know whether Myers is the one who killed Liam, but the fact that he is seen as a victim is what makes Anna mad. However, no one is innocent in “The Victim” and that’s the true beauty about it.

In conclusion, “The Victim” provides food for thought while the last half an hour of the series finale turns to the definition of fairness. As the series quotes Rumi, “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right-doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there,” perfectly explains why no one is far from being perfect. More shocking is people’s eagerness to judge anyone without asking simple questions or trying to understand why certain things such as killing occur. The film does not justify the murder nor the man’s action. It provides only one angle to a multilayered problem of one incident that could have been detailed in so many ways, but somehow, “The Victim” finds the most logical one to give us what we sometimes lack – empathy and forgiveness.

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