Capturing viewers in the UK and exploding onto New Zealand screens last week, Mike Bartlett’s five-part drama Doctor Foster was riveting from the moment Rae Morris’s For You played in the TV One trailer – a song just as gripping and compelling as the series.
Doctor Foster follows small-town doctor and loyal wife, Dr Gemma Foster (played by Scott and Bailey‘s Suranne Jones), as her perfect world slowly unravels after she suspects her husband, Simon (Matilda‘s Bertie Carvel), of having an affair.
A tangled web of lies and deceit was craftily unwoven by writer Mike Bartlett over five epic nights, revealing a town with a host of characters who seemed, at times, just as twisted as the subliminal faults in Gemma’s marriage – mostly on Simon’s part I might add.
Not shy of exploring long-held societal questions about a woman’s place outside of the home: her ability to juggle work and a family along with maintaining a healthy social life – questions Jones herself discussed in an article in The TV Guide – the series certainly seemed to keep viewers on their toes, constantly questioning what Gemma’s next move would be as she unravelled that tangled web – woven by the whole town it seemed!
The sole focus of the series on Gemma may have been a bit of a surprise for Suranne Jones – a fact viewers would either love or hate, Jones revealed – but it left viewers truly able to invest in her character, I felt.
After all, grumbling at the television would not have had the same effect if viewers hadn’t had the chance to really get to know Gemma and her world – a feat for Bartlett in such a small amount of running time.
Although, thanks to superb writing by Bartlett, there were a couple of moments where I questioned how well the audience had gotten to know Gemma. The first being when I thought she’d given up in the fourth episode by attempting suicide, the second when she decided to stay with Simon (that was a face-to-palm moment that one) and the third when I, like Simon, wholeheartedly believed she’d killed her son Tom.
How possibly could I have thought that?!
The finale, however, was what really capped off the series for me, and not just because of the very apt ending.
Not only was it highly explosive from the moment Gemma and Simon walked through the Parks’ door, but the calculating, dark side Gemma revealed made for a finale that certainly kept viewers on their toes – myself included.
After all, as one of the characters from Gemma’s past revealed, she’s always known how to hurt people.
And, as the saying goes, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, right?
A fantastic series that is well worth the watch and very deserving of the second series that has been commissioned.
And, as a testament to how gripping Doctor Foster was (trailer music aside) you can catch the trailer below: