The Long Shadow: Viewers respond to 'powerful' and 'harrowing' episode two

Virgin Radio

3 Oct 2023, 07:11

Scenes from episode two of The Long Shadow.

Credit: ITV

The drama series about the five-year hunt for serial killer Peter Sutcliffe, commonly known as The Yorkshire Ripper, continued with episode two.

After the series opened with the discovery of the body of Wilma McCann (Gemma Laurie) near her house, The Long Shadow's first episode concluded with Emily (Katherine Kelly) ominously getting into a stranger’s car having taken up sex work due to severe financial hardship.

This week’s episode confirms bad news before the opening credits, as Emily’s body is identified by her son. 

Her husband, Sydney Jackson (played by Line of Duty's Daniel Mays), speaks to detective chief superintendent Dennis Hoban (played by Toby Jones from Detectorists) and DCS Jim Hobson (Lee Ingleby), where he is informed that Emily was hit on the head with a hammer. Sydney becomes a suspect in a brutal interview. He breaks down and tells the police about her sex work, and is soon exonerated.

As the investigation hits dead ends and time passes, an inquest is opened into the two murders. A young woman called Marcella Claxton then calls the police after being attacked and left for dead by a man with a hammer. The attack causes her to miscarry. Despite describing her attacker in detail, Hobson, who replaces Hoban in charge of the case, coldly dismisses her testimony, and instead suggests that she was a sex worker who had been attacked by a "pimp" or a "punter".

When a third body is found – that of Irene Richardson – detectives realise that there might be a multiple murderer at large. However, over a year in and seemingly bereft of serious leads, Hobson refuses to accept that Marcella Claxton might have been attacked by the man that they are hunting, and doesn’t consider her photofit description of a bearded man to be of use to the investigation. The episode ends with him putting the photofit in a drawer.

Viewers took to social media to react to the drama. One wrote: "Another powerful episode of #TheLongShadow. I thought the closing scene of last week was haunting enough but it was literally spine-chilling seeing that image being shoved into a desk drawer."

Another added: “#TheLongShadow is brilliant but so harrowing to watch. So much stigma surrounding the women. I really appreciate the way this is humanising them as mothers and human beings.”

One commenter wrote: “Such a powerful drama  #TheLongShadow”

Here’s everything you need to know about The Long Shadow.

The next episode of The Long Shadow airs on ITV on Monday 9th October. Stream the whole series on ITVX now.

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