In a time when women struggle to get equal representation on screen, British television continues to break the gender barriers by producing programs fronted by female leads. Nothing shows the power, and value, of a female lead better than ITV's new contemporary thriller, Fearless, starring the immaculate Helen McCrory. The program is intelligent and captivating, and, most importantly, shows that smart, driven female characters can be just as, if not more, enticing and interesting as their male counterparts.
Emma Banville (Helen McCrory), a controversial human rights lawyer, digs up the past when she decides to reopen a 14-year-old case. She is out to defend Kevin Russell (Sam Swainsbury), who was convicted of murdering a 15-year-old student. Convinced of his innocence, Emma is determined to reveal the truth behind the mysterious case. Emma soon finds her career, and life, in jeopardy as shadowy forces attempt to prevent her from rehashing the past.
Fearless captures the best of smart, contemporary British programming. Patrick Harbinson, the screenwriter for famous programs like 24 and Homeland, introduces the complex and dangerous world of Emma Banville effortlessly in the first episode. His mastery of mystery is on display as he leaves the audience with just enough questions to make them excited for more. This six-part series promises many conspires, collusions, and political commentary to wet the appetites of political thrillers lovers everywhere.
But where Harbinson truly succeeds, like in his many other programs, by effortlessly incorporating his female lead into a man's world. He is able to capture the essence of the female spirit without making her inferior to her male counterparts. Emma is a perfectly rounded, wonderfully executed character. Her persistence and drive allows her to hold her own in her cutthroat world, but a troubled past gives her depth and complexity.
Fearless continues to win by compiling an outstanding cast from John Bishop to Michael Gambon. But where the show really shines is with its star Helen McCrory. McCrory absolutely dominates the program with her powerful, yet subtle, performance. She brings a fieriness to Emma but also shows the sensitivity and fragility of the strong protagonist. She is able to capture every dimension of Harbinson's intense character without any hesitation. McCrory continues to prove her place as one of Britain's greatest talents.
The six part series airs on ITV at 9pm Monday nights