Keeping Faith: Series 1 – Eight Hours of Slow Burn Panic!

Lawyer, wife and mother Faith (Eve Myles, Victoria, Broadchurch, Torchwood) fights to find the truth behind the sudden and unexpected disappearance of her husband.

Keeping Faith: Series 1 follows Faith Howells, wife, mother and partner in a family-owned law firm in Welsh coastal town as she tries to find out what has happened to her husband.
Evan (Bradley Freegard, Doctors) drove off to work one Monday morning and never arrived.

Faith (Eve Myles, Torchwood, Broadchurch), who is/was on maternity leave, is dragooned into a court appearance for bail on behalf of Arthur Davies (Alex Harries, Hinterland) a regular client whose usual offense is drunk & disorderly.

When Evan doesn’t reappear by end of day, Faith asks her brother, Terry Price (Matthew Gravelle, Baker Boys, Broadchurch), a local police constable, to file a missing persons report.

And that’s when things begin going to hell in the proverbial handbasket.

It seems that local Detective Inspector Susan Williams (Eiry Thomas, The Indian Doctor, Rillington Place) and Faith have a history (that almost cost DI Williams her job) – the result of which is that, using the fact that the majority of murders are committed by family or close friends, DI Williams focuses her investigation solely on Faith.

Add to the mix the fact that Evan apparently has a secret identity and that members of the family have some interesting (and occasionally a bit tawdry) secrets and things get interesting very quickly.

There are also two (two!) crime families and family services as well – Faith’s children (Alys, Megan and Rhodri) are taken from her ‘for their safety’ – and, as it turns out, the Howell’ law firm is on the verge of bankruptcy. (Talk about piling on!)

Created by Matthew Hall (who wrote or co-wrote every episode), Keeping Faith is a deliberately paced psychological thriller as well as a (potential) murder mystery.

There a few bursts of action that arise quite convincingly from the developing events, but mostly, the tension arises from watching Faith’s world crumble around her – in spite of the best efforts of her only two allies – the law firm’s junior partner, Cerys Jones (Hannah Daniel, Hinterland), and reformed ex-convict Steve Baldini (Mark Lewis Jones, Baker Boys, National Treasure: Series 1).

Keeping Faith was shot in both English and Welsh (we get a bit the Welsh version in the Blu-ray’s Making of Featurette) in the town of Larn in Wales.

The unique locations show off the diversity of the Welsh countryside and coastline, while the scenes in town have an atmosphere that is new to most North American viewers – both are beautiful in unique ways.

Six of the eight episodes were shot by Pip Broughton (The Bill, Young Dracula) and her untraditional style of shooting (she doesn’t care for blocking and other restrictive directing procedures) gives Keeping Faith a sense of reality – of happening in the moment.

Director Andy Newberry (Love Me) maintains Broughton’s atmosphere so well that, were you not to read the opening credits on his eps, you wouldn’t notice any significant difference.

Keeping Faith is a small masterpiece of a thriller – equal to the first season of Broadchurch in its build of tension and constantly evolving situations.

Series 1 continues to surprise right to the final shot.

Bonus Material consists of a superfluous Character Introductions featurette and a 43-minute Behind the Scenes featurette (which includes all of the material from the Character Introductions featurette) that is very through and well worth watching.

Grade: Keeping Faith Series 1 – A+

Grade: Bonus Material – B-

Final Grade: A-