New to Amazon Prime Video in the UK is the British true crime mini-series, Murder in the Red Light. The three-part series – directed by Jo Conchie – looks at the real-life murders of five sex workers, who were tragically killed in Ipswich in late 2006.
Murder in the Red Light details the disappearance of the young woman, tracking their story from a missing person case, to eventually being part of a much wider murder investigation. The crime is one which shocked a local community, and Murder in the Red Light looks to highlight this throughout the series.
As the mini-series progresses, the narrative explores the subsequent investigation that took place, as well as the aftermath. The series includes input from those familiar with the crime (a local journalist, a forensic scientist, etc), along with some archival material to explain how events unfolded.
Each episode of the mini-series runs around 45 minutes in length, with the three episodes as follows: Christmas in the Red Light, Race Against Time, and Murder in the Red Light. The first episode sets up details about the crimes, the second looks at the response from the police and press, and the third focuses on the killer, his trial, and punishment.
Now, whenever true crimes become the subject of movies or television shows, it is always important to remember a real-world incident forms the backdrop of the story, so it feels incredibly inappropriate to refer to it as entertainment. Murder in the Red Light is of course no different, and while this three-part series is available on Amazon Prime Video alongside episodes of The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel and Smallville, it isn’t something I’d ever regard as escapism.
Of course, those who are likely to be checking out Murder in the Red Light are streamers who already have an existing interest in true crime stories, so you already know the score on that front. As such, if you are looking for a new series to take a look at, simply to get a deeper understanding about a case, then Murder in the Red Light can certainly do this.
However, while Murder in the Red Light does set out events quite clearly, and true crime fans will find this watchable, it is not the best example of a strong series. The mini-series does what it needs to do in order to convey its story, but the information here isn’t presented in a compelling or engrossing way and it may leave some a little cold.
The key sticking point with the series is that while it is perfectly watchable, the presentation is fairly generic and at times it feels somewhat plodding. The format is the issue here, rather than the subject matter, and the constant use of ‘talking heads’ to tell the story is what slows everything down.
But if you can move beyond the way the series is constructed, to focus on what is being said, then there is something here which is informative. Murder in the Red Light might not be the most slick or dynamic series, but it does raise some important issues, while shedding light on vulnerable members of a community.
So, while I don’t believe Murder in the Red Light is a stand-out series, it does get its story and its messages across fine. Those who like to dip in and out of a series such as this one may find this enough, but it is unlikely to attract newcomers.
Thank you for taking the time to read this review on It’s A Stampede!. For more reviews, check out the recommended reads below.
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