Acorn TV is releasing the 2003 dramatic thriller Alibi on DVD January 16th. This 3 episode mini-series has been released before on DVD but this time it’s both widescreen and has a longer run time!
Alibi was directed by London veteran David Richards. He might not be an instantly recognizable name but he worked on Coronation Street, September Song, and Conviction (among many others). The series was written by Paul Abbott who is most known for being the creator of the TV show Shameless. While this is a little older made TV mini-series it still has the look and feel of a more modern modestly budgeted show. It’s a character-driven story filled with dark humor and thrilling crime elements.
What is probably most recognizable to audiences about the show would be the main actor Michael Kitchen. In addition to being credited in over 100 roles (according to IMDB), he is well known for the extremely popular Foyle’s War series as Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle. It’s a bit of fun to see him on the other side of the law in this one. While he doesn’t go completely overboard in his acting, there is a nicely nuanced performance that separates the characters and he seems like a different person onscreen. I think fans of his will enjoy seeing more of his range of acting in Alibi.
Alibi is about Greg Brentwood (Michael Kitchen), a successful businessman who is throwing a party for his wife. At the end of the night, Greg is found standing over the dead body of his wife’s secret lover, who just happens to be his business partner. Was this an accident? Did he know what was going on between his wife and business partner in secret? Greg is discovered by Marcey Burgess (Sophie Okonedo) who decides (after some convincing) to help become his alibi and hide the body. But does she really know all that is going on or is Greg too smooth of a talker?
Alibi is an interesting crime story, with good performances from the cast. I did find a couple situations unrealistic but the show presents itself well and is entertaining for the most part. It has elements of dark, dry comedy mixed in with the thrilling aspects, so some viewers may take those unrealistic elements as part of the humor. Some of it boils down to police detectives not knowing things that they should know, or forensics being nonexistent, but that is almost to be expected these days unless you are watching a true crime documentary. I guess writers are getting back at us for the practically superhuman skills of Perry Mason and Columbo for all those years.
The 152-minute long mini-series is split into 3 episodes on this disc. I believe it was originally aired as 2 episodes, and this seems to be much longer in run time than previous DVD releases, although I could not easily find out if this is completely uncut from the original version or just an extended edition. All of the older releases are listed as just under 2 hours long but IMDB lists the original show at 180 minutes. Could this be an inaccurate listing for the runtime? Since I never saw the original airing I cannot say with any authority if this is the complete release or not, but it seems to be the most comprehensive release on DVD so far.
As far as critiquing the show, I found a couple spots in the story where the pacing dragged a bit, which is probably why it was edited down for the original U.S. DVD release. The show has minor language and disturbing images but nothing that would go beyond a PG-13 movie. However, there was nothing poorly done with the film or characters to complain too much about. I am happy that Acorn has this longer version available and it makes the most sense to watch this one over any other versions that are on physical media. English subtitles are included.
Alibi Final Thoughts:
I thought Alibi was a fun little crime thriller mini-series. Michael Kitchen and Sophie Okonedo were both enjoyable in their roles and seemed to have a good time making the show. It’s not so much a whodunit as far as plot goes, but I think viewers who typically enjoy that type of television will find quite a bit to like in Alibi.
For viewers that are already fans of the lead actors, it’s certainly worth checking out. This is a suspense based story, so a lot of your interest is going to be tied to what is going to happen with the characters and figuring out what is the truth. Everyone seems to have some secretive guilt and a plausible reason to lie, so it makes the unfolding of the story that much more interesting. I would suggest Alibi if you typically enjoy modern British television productions. You can get your copy from Amazon or other fine retailers.
Note: This DVD was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.