Kiri episode 1 review: Sarah Lancashire shines in this gritty and compelling drama

WARNING: This article contains spoilers from episode 1 of Channel 4’s Kiri.

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From the outset we follow the carer – played superbly by Happy Valley and Last Tango in Halifax’s Sarah Lancashire – and get a sense of the warm and no-nonsense nature.

Once more Lancashire commands the screen with her presence in this tragic exploration of race, media and family secrets. 

Compared to police officer Catherine Cawood, Miriam seems more brittle, isolated and broken – with the case of Kiri (played by Felicia Mukasa) really pushing her over the edge.

Although Lancashire leads fantastically, she is in good company with the likes of fellow BATFA winner Wunmi Mosaku, Steven Mackintosh from Luther, Game of Thrones’ Lucian Msamati and The Crown actress Lia Williams. 


Their performances are totally convincing in this tense drama but credit is also due to Jack Thorne for penning another strong script.

He’s one of the finest writers on British television with last year’s Channel 4 miniseries National Treasure tackling historical sexual abuse in a delicate and intriguing way. 

Thorne applies the same careful attention to details with his characters in Kiri as he did with National Treasure. 

His efforts achieve similar results: carefully constructed characters involved in a complex story and exploring sensitive issues. 

Although Kiri is fictional story, Thorne manages to bring a realism to the show that feels like an adaptation of a real-life case and not just a television drama. 


In episode one he sets up the scene but it will be interesting to see the direction the story takes and if this will be a moral play or simply looking at a scenario that could very easily happen in real life. 

Speaking of where Kiri will go next, a short teaser for next week will see audiences really taken underneath the surface of the characters now that the premise has been established in episode one. 

There are clearly family secrets on all sides with foster mother Alice Warner (Lia Williams) only remaining in her marriage because of her children. 

While viewers are set to learn more about Kiri’s grandparents Tobi Akindele (Lucian Msamati) and Rochelle (Andi Osho) and why the latter allowed her abusive son Nate (Paapa Essiedu) access to his daughter. 


But also Tobi’s violent treatment of his son which could explain Nate’s past and how his life took a downturn. 

There’s also a whodunit quality as Alice’s troubled and truanting son have something to do with her disappearance.

All fingers are pointing to Kiri’s biological father Nate but could it be someone completely different? Could the killing be an act of jealousy committed by Kiri’s teenage foster brother?  

Kiri promises to be a dark drama that sheds light on race in a nuanced and engaging way. 

Kiri airs on Channel 4 on Wednesdays at 9pm.

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Post Author: martin

Martin is an enthusiastic programmer, a webdeveloper and a young entrepreneur. He is intereted into computers for a long time. In the age of 10 he has programmed his first website and since then he has been working on web technologies until now. He is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of and Online Magazines. His colleagues appreciate him as a passionate workhorse, a fan of new technologies, an eternal optimist and a dreamer, but especially the soul of the team for whom he can do anything in the world.

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