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Part 1:- Trainee social worker Janet Leach is asked by Gloucester police to be the appropriate adult at the interrogation of a simple-minded suspect. He is Fred West, who, with his wife Rosemary, is accused of killing their daughter and burying her in their garden at 25, Cromwell Street. West claims the death was accidental and his wife knew nothing of it. However grisly details gradually come to light and West owns to nine other murders, of girls who stayed at his house. Janet soon finds herself intimidated by the intensity of the situation, gutter press approaches to which her bi-polar husband succumbs and the foul-mouthed threats of Rosemary West. But just as disturbing is the rapport which Fred believes he has with her, terming her his only friend and confessing to her things he will not tell the police.Written by
don @ minifie-1
The photos of the victims on the police investgation board, were not of the actual victims of Fred and Rose West. See more »
Disclaimer in opening titles: "This is a true story. What follows is based on extensive research, interviews and published accounts. Some scenes have been created for the purposes of dramatisation." See more »
"Appropriate Adult" from 2011 is based on the Fred and Rosemary West murder case.
A social worker in training, Janet Leach (Emily Watson) is brought in by Gloucester police as the "appropriate adult" at the interrogation of Fred West (Dominic West), thought to be a little on the simple side. He and his wife Rosemary (Monica Dolan) have been accused of killing their daughter and burying the body in their garden.
Fred says right up front that he wants to set the record straight. He tells a story of his daughter wanting to leave home, that she said something nasty to him, and he grabbed her by the throat. Suddenly she turned blue. He tried mouth to mouth but she seemed to get worse. Well, what to do. So he got an ice breaker to cut off her legs so he could stuff her somewhere and then Rosemary wouldn't see her.
When asked why he didn't tell the police this before, Fred says, "Well, I wasn't ready." Anyway he claims Rosemary knew nothing about it. He is so casual and matter-of-fact, listening to him is shocking.
Fred seems to take to Janet, so he confides in her, again, casually, that there are more bodies, around nine. Since anything he tells her is confidential, she can't repeat what he said. Later he talks about the love of his life, Anna, and Janet discovers that she bears a resemblance to her. He seems to be very dependent on her.
Janet has her own problems - children and a bipolar partner who has gone off his meds.
Once his interrogation is over, Fred begs her to visit him in prison. Thinking he might give her more info and implicate Rosemary, she visits him several times.
This is a terrific psychological drama. It kind of reminded me of what actually happened to Capote in the Cutter case, where Perry Smith bonded with him, or so Capote believed. I think he tried all along to manipulate him, as I think Fred here played Janet. Janet is not fooled by him, but there is something about him claiming that he needed her that keeps her coming back and makes her feel important out of the chaos of her home.
Emily Watson is fantastic - quiet, unassuming, very committed, and by the book, who becomes more involved than she planned, and who can't forget the horrors that Fred tells her. And Dominic West is simply astonishing - no emotion as he talks about the killings, talks about Anna being the love of his life, and how Rosemary, who is in prison under suspicion, must get out of prison to keep the family together. As if there is a family and Rosemary is not a prostitute.
Monica Dolan as Rosemary is mean as dirt. It's a great performance - she's hateful.
Highly recommended. A very unsettling story of a normal woman who comes face to face with the unimaginable.
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