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Stephen review: ITV series serves a harrowing look at years of gross injustice over murder of Stephen Lawrence

Hugh Quarshie (left) is only actor to reprise role from original film (Picture: ITV)

New ITV series Stephen takes a cold, hard look at the investigation into the murder of Stephen Lawrence’s murder which took place 13 years after his death, as a glimmer of hope was offered after years of injustice with the help of detective Clive Driscoll (Steve Coogan).

On 22 April 1993, Stephen, a young Black teenager, was killed at the age of 18 years old in a racially motivated attack while waiting for a bus in Well Hall Road, Eltham with a friend.

Although following his death, the late teenager’s parents Doreen and Neville Lawrence pointed out the identities of the individuals who attacked their son, those said individuals were not convicted.

Since Stephen’s death, Doreen and Neville have continued their fight for justice, hoping to highlight the failings of the original police investigation.

However, they could rely on very few individuals to help them with their fight, one of them being detective DCI Clive, who volunteered to lead the investigation in 2006 after three previous investigations and a public inquiry, which concluded that the police were institutionally racist.

As depicted in the new series, which follows on from Paul Greengrass’s 1999 film The Murder of Stephen Lawrence, Clive earnestly tried to succeed where other officers before him had fallen short as he took over as the person in charge of the investigation.

While Steve is best-known for his portrayal of parody character Alan Partridge, in this hard-hitting three-part series, his sole focus as Clive is to do his best to root out the truth regarding a distressing attack.

Whether that means shining a spotlight on the failings of the Metropolitan Police, Clive is prepared to go to any length to ensure that justice is served.

Steve’s performance draws parallels with his depiction of journalist Martin Sixsmith in the 2013 film Philomena, when his character embarked on an unpredictable journey while gradually putting the pieces together of a heart-wrenching true story.

He’s joined in the series by Small Axe actor Sharlene Whyte, who plays Doreen, and Hugh Quarshie, who reprised his role as Neville Lawrence from the 1999 film.

The Lawrence family continue to fight for justice (Picture: Laurence Cendrowicz/ITV)

Sharlene and Hugh heartbreakingly portray the different ways in which Doreen and Neville – who were divorced in 1999 – reacted to their son’s death.

While Doreen is depicted as putting on a hard front of armour, Neville’s anger comes rushing to the surface when he returns to England from Jamaica for the latest updates of the investigation.

One of the most haunting moments in the series comes when Clive instructs two other officers to re-enact the attack on Stephen so they can determine how long it took for him to sustain his injuries for the forensics team to analyse.

While the 1993 attack on Stephen is not portrayed in the series, the re-enactment is chilling to watch, as viewers are forced to imagine the brutality that Stephen suffered.

Verdict on Stephen

Stephen is a powerful and important watch, showing not only how new evidence into Stephen’s murder came to light over a decade after his death, but also stressing how many question marks still remain over the racist attack.

While viewers will be familiar with the case of Stephen’s murder, this series serves as an important reminder of the importance of ensuring that Stephen’s legacy continues in the pursuit of justice.

Stephen premieres on Monday August 30 at 9pm on ITV.

Credit: Source

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