Review: The Syndicate

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With a lottery win, a disappearance, a divorce, an attempted murder and too many affairs to keep track of, the first five episodes of the Syndicate have probably been as stressful for their viewers as their characters.

Following the finale next Tuesday, July 7, we will either be left hugely disappointed or screaming at our screens as the mask is finally lifted on Amy’s kidnapper. This is a pressure the writers have placed on themselves by leaving dozens of unanswered questions to be tied together at the last possible minute, probably intentionally and probably foolishly.

That said, we haven’t missed Daisy Head’s lukewarm portrayal of the supposedly strong and bolshie Amy since she disappeared in the first episode amidst the lottery-winning jubilations.

Dawn (Elizabeth Berrington) is still inconsolable over her daughter’s absence, and still wearing charity shop cardigans despite banking her share of the syndicate’s £14 million win three episodes ago.

In a move away from the format of the first two series, the winners’ place of work has been the backdrop for much of the drama, as well as creating that of its own. After series one’s shop and series two’s hospital ward, Hazelwood Manor provides another layer of theatrics as Lord Hazelwood, a sweet, sad Anthony Andrews, scraps over his ancestors’ crumbling house with his sour soon-to-be-ex-wife and her snotty son Spencer.

The other winners, gamekeeper Shaun, house manager Sarah, gardener Godfrey, and Berrington’s former Waterloo Road co-star Melanie Hill as head cook Julie, are caught between spending their fortunes, supporting Dawn and hiding damning secrets of their own.

Lenny Henry’s is the standout performance, bringing incredible compassion to Godfrey and portraying his character’s Asperger’s with almost unnerving conviction. Godfrey demonstrates such blind devotion to his job and friends that it’s almost impossible to believe he was first in the firing line as a suspect in Amy’s disappearance.

With Amy still alive (too much airtime wasted just to kill her off), she is almost certainly behind the apparent abduction herself. But it would be incredibly surprising if it transpires that she had the brainpower and cunning to do it alone.

Words by Keri Trigg

Jess is your Deputy Editor

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