Management can also be central to David Tennant’s putting efficiency, which expanded partially two to current us with a trickier character than we’d seen beforehand. Along with Nilsen’s impatient, mumbling recitation of info, we met his self-righteous vanity and mood, and in addition glimpsed the calculation happening behind that reclined posture and unwavering gaze. There was grief too, for the loss of life of his canine, however – the actual query of episode two – how a lot was actual and the way a lot was an act?
Nilsen’s self-regard and need for notoriety at the moment are in plain sight, which brings his each utterance into query. What’s the reality, and what’s simply one other tactic to regain the higher hand? The drama didn’t give any didactic solutions, preferring to take its cue from biographer Brian Masters and let the ‘reader’ resolve.
The discussions about Masters’ book in episode two had been a canny method for Des to speak about itself. Numerous objections had been raised to the writing of the guide, from DCI Jay’s disgust on the standard curiosity in Nilsen, to Masters’ boyfriend warning that the act of writing it might finally give Nilsen energy. The identical might be stated of ITV’s resolution to dramatise this story. Masters’ argument in favour of the guide – that an goal account comprehending how this particular person got here to go was a helpful societal doc – may equally function the drama’s creators.
Backing up that argument, Des isn’t solely involved with its main man, but in addition with institutional injustices. Episode two’s different focus was the regrettable perspective in direction of the investigation into Nilsen’s crimes by Scotland Yard. Regardless of DCI Jay arguing the purpose at each flip, prime brass had been proven to be extra pushed by PR and finance than by the pursuit of closure and justice for victims and their households.
DCI Jay emerged as a hero in episode two, a hard-working, dogged officer with the fitting emotional instincts, the alternative of perverse, slippery Nilsen. The viewers wants a personality to root for, and in Des, that’s Jay. It’s stable casting; the always-likeable Daniel Mays is simply as pure a match for the position as Tennant is for Nilsen.