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Another British thriller in which a woman's middle-class life is torn to shreds – The Irish Times

The most exciting thing about The Serial Killer's Wife (Virgin Media One, Thursday, 9 p.m.) is the title. It suggests a fast-paced thriller full of murder and marital intrigue. The adaptation of Alice Hunter's bestseller, which is now running on Virgin Media after its debut on Paramount+, has a bit of both, but not enough to save the series from its overwhelming dreariness.

The story begins with aspiring heroine Beth (Annabel Scholey) jogging along the beach and stumbling upon a woman's body. In a simultaneous flashback, she recalls her first steamy encounter with her husband Tom (Jack Farthing), a GP – a chance meeting in a bar that ended with not-so-chance banter in a toilet cubicle.

Tom is clearly a bad guy. Not only is he constantly unfaithful to Beth, he also records his (sometimes violent) trysts on USB sticks that he places around the house.

He also has what can only be described as a 'winning hair'. You know the look: slicked back, a bit wavy in the front – Lord Byron if Lord Byron worked for a multinational company in middle management, wore his lanyard outside of office hours and went to Leinster games but only for the beer and the entertainment. Whatever happened with the murder of the woman on the coast, he is certainly a nasty villain and it is difficult to see what he and the seemingly down-to-earth Beth have in common.

There is a specific British thriller genre in which a woman's middle-class life is torn to pieces after she commits the unforgivable sin of being a little self-indulgent. This genre typically involves huge kitchens, huge wine glasses, glamorous mistresses and husbands who look like they spend their weekends at Leinster games but only for the beer and banter. See Doctor Foster, Fool Me Once etc.

“The Serial Killer's Wife” belongs to the same milieu, but feels second-rate. It is not remotely exciting – and often just ridiculous. Tom, for example, is arrested at his 40th birthday party and taken straight to the police station – a scene so ripe you can almost smell the stench in your living room.

Beth, meanwhile, is completely unperturbed by the fact that her husband does some pretty extreme things in the bedroom – both with her and with casual sex. She's also surprisingly unperturbed by the possibility that he might be a murderer – another reason to avoid an unsympathetic drama that's full of unpleasant protagonists and often feels like it's just reveling in meanness.