📺 Where to watch Maryland: ITV over three nights from Monday, 22 May when it will also be available to watch all at once on ITVX.
⭐️ Our rating: 3/5
🍿 Watch it if you liked: Doctor Foster, Without Sin
🎭 Who's in it?: Suranne Jones, Eve Best, Dean Lennox Kelly, Hugh Quarshie, Stockard Channing.
⏰ How long is it? 3 episodes, 1 hour each.
📖 What’s it about? Estranged sisters Rosaline and Becca discover the secrets their mother kept from them after she is found dead on the Isle of Man.
Suranne Jones does double duty as co-creator and star of ITV’s new drama Maryland, which she has made alongside writer Anne-Marie O’Connor. The human drama centres around Jones’ Becca and her estranged older sister Rosaline (Eve Best), who are brought together when they learn their mother has died under tragic circumstances.
What confounds them, though, is that their mother passed away on the Isle of Man when they believed she was visiting a friend in Wales. Determined to discover the truth, Becca and Rosaline make their way to the island to learn what happened, only to realise their mother had been leading a secret double life.
Forced to face this mystery, the pair start to dig into the lies their matriarch told for decades, and in doing so begin to confront the issues in their relationship and the ones they share with their loved ones.
Maryland, at its heart, is a simple story: It’s about a family finding each other again in a time of crisis, and how grief can lead to healing. Becca feels trapped in her marriage, while Rosaline struggles with being judged by her sibling for her actions in the past.
The show certainly delivers on this premise, and Jones and Best do a great job of conveying the nuances of their characters’ fraught relationship.
Read more: Suranne Jones shares how Grease star joined Maryland (Digital Spy, 2-min read)
Despite the seemingly dramatic nature of its main storyline, though, Maryland never quite feels like it has high stakes because the emphasis is less on the mystery and more on Becca and Rosaline’s journey of self-discovery on the island.
Becca finds herself learning to accept her reservations about her marriage with husband Jim (Andrew Knott), while Rosaline begins to geel like herself again through a connection she makes with local taxi driver Jacob (Dean Lennox Kelly).
Jones and Best give powerful performances as they bring a touching vulnerability to their characters. This is highlighted best during Becca and Rosaline’s explosive fights with one another where they finally share their true feelings about their childhood.
It is during these moments that the show is compelling, and it is a shame that Stockard Channing and Hugh Quarshie aren’t given much chance to do the same. Channing plays end-of-life carer Cathy while Quarshie portrays their mother's lover Pete, but despite their characters’ closeness with the matriarch they often feel like an afterthought in comparison to Becca and Rosaline, especially by the end.
The drama is a quiet story of family, loss, and healing, and while it can be moving it doesn’t hit as powerfully as it could. Because of this, the tension in the drama seems muted even when there are questions over the nature of their mother’s death.
The story is also resolved in a rather rushed manner because of the show’s limited run-time, making it difficult for anyone but Becca and Rosaline to feel fully-formed.
Ultimately, Maryland is a compelling watch with great performances, but it is not a drama that is likely to stick in your mind for very long.
Maryland premieres on ITV on Monday, 22 May at 9pm and it will air over three nights. The three-part series will also be available in full on ITVX from Monday.