On Sunday night Channel 4 opened its casebook on The Trial: A Murder in the Family, where a real jury – with the aid of a real judge and real lawyers – have to get to the bottom of a fictional murder.
The defendant in the trial is university lecturer Simon Davis (played by Michael Gould), a man accused of killing his ex-wife Carla Davis. In the opening episode, the jury – and viewers at home – were faced with a bag-full of evidence, rummaging through suspicious phone calls, an unexpected pregnancy and an account from a neighbour.
— The Trial (@thetrial) May 21, 2017
Did the evidence prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Simon Davis is guilty of murdering his wife?
No, say viewers. At least according to our poll, which suggests 72 per cent of people say they’d need more evidence to convict the defendant.
And that’s the opposite of the impression the show’s jurors gave. Many on Twitter were shocked by their knee-jerk reactions…
Good to know that 90% of the jury have made up their mind about his guilt or innocence before any evidence has been presented ? #thetrial
— Jo (@OnTheJoSlow) May 21, 2017
One of the jurors seems to have decided he was guilty before they'd even finished the first session #TheTrial
— Sam Wilson (@MrSamWilson) May 21, 2017
Especially when some jurors assumed that a “no comment” response to questioning was fully indicative of guilt…
"No comment implies guilt" – no I'm sorry, it doesn't at all. #thetrial
— Nikki G (@nikki___xx) May 21, 2017
Got to use my legal skills whilst watching #TheTrial tonight.. 'no comment' doesn't necessarily mean guilt hunni ??
— Rachel (@rachelmain_x) May 22, 2017
— MsFraudLawyer (@MsFraudLawyer) May 22, 2017
Although some pointed out, as Radio Times did, that the actor who plays Davis is used to playing questionably moral men. Michael Gould played one of Darth Vader’s officers in Star Wars Rogue One.
— Simon from Harlow (@simonfromharlow) May 21, 2017
However, most of last night’s twitterings revolved around what was real and what wasn’t. Many were VERY confused.
#TheTrial I wish they had explained this a little more clearly (what's real / fake) so thickos like me know what's going on……
— andy rosiak (@andyrosiak) May 21, 2017
— Laura B (@laurabarr38) May 21, 2017
Remember, all the jurors, legal professionals and expert witnesses are real. The murder, defendant and all non-professional witnesses are actors.
— Channel 4 (@Channel4) May 21, 2017
— Tina ❄️ (@Tinapeg2) May 21, 2017
Better study that diagram quick: the next episode is on soon…
The Trial: A Murder in the Family continues at 9pm on Channel 4 this Monday