(John Hannah, Reece Shearsmith, Sheridan Smith, et al / DVD / NR / 2015 / PBS)
Overview: 'The Widower' is a three-part drama based on the crimes of convicted murderer Malcolm Webster.
DVD Verdict: Whilst I cannot fault the work of the principal actors/actresses in the story, I do feel that a number of liberties have been taken in its production, leading it somewhat askew from the details of the events as they actually occurred.
I refer here to the attempted murder of Ms. Drumm - Webster's second wife, in New Zealand, in 1999. From my recollection of the incident, the couple were driving in to the bank at which point Webster veered the car over two or three lanes of motorway before the car left the road as he pretended to be having a heart attack, not as the movie portrayed it, which involved parking up at a forest park where Webster was intending to torch the vehicle with Ms. Drumm inside.
A further anomaly here is the funds Webster misappropriated from Ms. Drumm's account. The story clearly portrayed the amount of funds in the account as $240,000, yet in historical news reports this is stated as $140,000.
I recall reading somewhere that some of the key witnesses were consulted prior to the making of this drama, so why did the production team find it so necessary to distort the facts in a case that will be remembered by so many for the events portrayed on-screen more so than those given in the distantly remembered media coverage?
That all aside, this (could be more) chilling "true" story tells how Felicity pieces small clues together before finally realizing that the death of Webster's first wife might not have been an accident. After Malcolm disappears and resurfaces in Scotland, Felicity begins a desperate race against time to try and convince a Scottish detective (John Hannah) her husband is in fact a cold-blooded killer already lining up wife number three.
Anyway, as mentioned above, and further, some girlfriends and suspicions of other crimes are omitted for obvious reasons. Scottish DS Charlie Henry (Hannah) led the 5-year investigation that led to Webster’s arrest. It’s not fast-paced, but 'The Widower' is an intriguing true story of a male “black widow," that's for sure (whether the facts are skewed or not. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.