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The Trial: Did we really want to know who dun it?

Ben Henriques discusses the dénouement of the Channel 4 programme exploring the jury system

2 June 2017

Do we do it as reality TV or drama? The makers of Channel 4’s interesting explanation of the jury system opted decisively for the latter in the last episode of The Trial. Although it made for gripping television, this approach somewhat undermined the power of the programme’s investigation of the jury system.

After a lengthy build-up, and after the jury had failed to agree a verdict, the audience were finally shown the murder of Carla Davis… by the defendant. The message was as clear as any tabloid headline – ‘Heartless husband gets away with murder!’

Previous episodes of the series had been entirely restricted to documentary-style ‘talking heads’, footage of court proceedings, and clips of CCTV or similar footage. This approach was seemingly dropped in the final episode, a large proportion of whi...

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