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The Killing Kind review: Emma Appleton and Colin Morgan shine in pedestrian legal drama

The show will premiere on Paramount+ on 7 September

Emma Appleton and Colin Morgan in The Killing Kind (Paramount+)
Emma Appleton and Colin Morgan in The Killing Kind (Paramount+)
  • 📺 Where to watch The Killing Kind: Paramount+ from 7 September

  • ⭐️ Our rating: 3/5

  • 🍿 Watch it if you liked: You, Prime Suspect, The Twelve 

  • 🎭 Who's in it?: Emma Appleton, Colin Morgan, Nicholas Rowe, Sara Powell and Olivia D'Lima 

  • How long is it? 6 x 50 minute episodes

  • 📖 What’s it about? The story centres on a barrister who defends a man against stalking charges, only for him to turn on her.

John Webster (Colin Morgan) is a self-made man who might just be The Killing Kind.

He's not only capable of captivating his defence counsel Ingrid Lewis (Emma Appleton), but savvy enough to wrongfoot an eager audience as this contemporary thriller unfolds.

Read more: Everything new on Paramount+ in September 2023

Adapted from a best-selling novel by Jane Casey, this Paramount+ original uses present day London as its backdrop to introduce pivotal players in Ingrid’s life. From boyfriend Mark (Elliot Barnes-Worrell) through to best friends Belinda (Sara Powell) and Suzanne (Olivia D’Lima), The Killing Kind is quick to establish ground rules.

Belinda Grey (Sara Powell) in The Killing Kind (Paramount+)
Belinda Grey (Sara Powell) in The Killing Kind (Paramount+)

In an effective first episode, creators Zara Hayes and Jonathan Stewart use flashbacks to give audiences an insight into this world, revealing Ingrid and Mark to be career driven professionals bonded by a love for law that rarely translates into personal intimacy.

That John Webster sparks an unexpected attraction in her professional life, despite his role as defendant, inevitability adds fuel to that fire.

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What The Killing Kind does well is unpack the circumstances behind that initial encounter, before moving their connection somewhere more personal. The show drop-feeds information to the audience at crucial moments, that cleverly maintains momentum, cranks up tensions and allows it to manipulate emotions. This allows the sudden death of Belinda and Ingrid’s subsequent descent into paranoia to play out against a bleak London landscape.

As audiences are dragged deeper into this rabbit hole of hidden agendas, The Killing Kind should keep up the pace, deliver some seismic twists and keep people captivated. However, somewhere around episode 3 the pacing becomes pedestrian, as revelations start coming thick and fast in the face of overwhelming odds.

Mark (Elliot Barnes-Worrell) and Ingrid Lewis (Emma Appleton) in The Killing Kind (Paramount+)
Mark (Elliot Barnes-Worrell) and Ingrid Lewis (Emma Appleton) in The Killing Kind (Paramount+)

Half the issue is down to the enigmatic John Webster, portrayed with polish and poise by Colin Morgan (Mammals), who simply seems better than the material. Likewise, Emma Appleton holds everything together as Ingrid, doing so much more with silence than any amount of dialogue.

As the puzzle pieces fall into place and John Webster’s role becomes clear, audiences might find their engagement turn to apathy when certain plot points are revealed. This intriguing premise — with pitch perfect central performances it must be said — evolves into a pedestrian thriller that lacks the mettle to elevate this show towards greatness.

The Killing Kind is available to stream from 7 September on Paramount+.

Watch the trailer for The Killing Kind