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The Murder Workers

The Murder Workers

Thu May 16, 9-10.35pm, C4

By Gabriel Tate
The National Homicide Team sounds like it should be headed by William Petersen, Gary Sinise or, at a push, Trevor Eve. Actually, as Jessie Versluys’s outstanding and extremely powerful documentary reveals, it’s a branch of Victim Support that performs essential work with families bereaved by murder or manslaughter.

There’s emotional support offered, of course, but also assistance with everything from closing bank accounts to arranging funerals. The focus falls on four families and their case workers, each dealing with a series of conflicting emotions and a sense of helplessness in the face of the unimaginable. Versluys is sensitive and discreet, but doesn’t flinch from filming difficult material, whether confessional or confrontational.

Teenager Kallum for instance – who tried in vain to stop his father stabbing his mother – insists filming continues so ‘people know what it’s like’. Versluys is rewarded with some of the rawest television you’ll see this year. ‘Broadchurch’ depicted grief with consummate skill, but even Olivia Colman or Jodie Whitaker would be hard-pressed to match the emotional impact of these real-life stories.

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