Nathan Redman (Russell Tovey) is first seen about to commit suicide in 2013. He pours the pills out on the table, gets himself something to wash them down, and starts to throw them in his mouth. All of a sudden, he freezes. Someone on TV has caught his attention. It’s Holly Fox (the very good Amrita Acharia), the sister of a missing girl. Nathan looks like he knows her. And he stops his suicide attempt.
Cut to years later on a rainy night as Nathan sits and reads. A knock on the door reveals the unkempt and unnerving Bob Morrow (Bertie Carvel), and Nathan looks like he’s literally seen a ghost (and Carvel appears to be going for the same demonic tenor as his namesake from “Twin Peaks”). He tells Nathan that a construction project means they have to move the body. You see, Nathan knows exactly where Holly’s missing sister is because he and Bob put her there in the cold ground. And then guess what Nathan did? He wooed and married the sister of the missing girl. Yes, “The Sister” is not only a tale of horrific death but the inexplicable behavior that follows it, forcing the criminal to live an even greater lie than normal, one that’s about to unravel with the return of his accomplice.
“The Sister” jumps back and forth—as all murder mystery mini-series seem to do lately—slowly revealing the details of what happened in the early hours of New Years Day back in 2010, how Nathan and Holly got together in 2013, and then the current dilemma this conflicted criminal faces. One of the more intriguing aspects of “The Sister” is a supernatural element in that Bob turns out to be a paranormal expert, and he’s convinced that Emily has quite literally returned to their lives. The sense that Nathan is not only haunted by his actions that night but could literally be haunted as well distinguishes “The Sister” from some of its peers, but, like most things here, it’s underdeveloped.
From its opening scenes, “The Sister” has to navigate a moral tightrope. We can’t root for Nathan to have a happy, normal life with the sister of the woman he murdered and buried, right? And yet the first couple episodes feel motivated by him trying to keep his façade in place, creating a unique tension in the viewer that comes with a downfall drama. In a sense, we want him to get caught, especially given the lie he’s living with Holly, but we’re also smart enough to know there’s more to this story than meets the eye.
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