(2009, 5 episodes) Beginning with an eight-vehicle pile up on the 812 freeway, similar to the 2005 American film Crash from Paul Haggis, this limited UK TV series (five episodes - I watched it on PBS's Masterpiece Contemporary) created by Anthony Horowitz (co-written with Michael A. Walker), directed by Marc Evans, explores the identities of the drivers and passengers through a road-crash investigation.
Detective Inspector John Tolin (Douglas Henshall), whose wife and daughter had been involved a year earlier in a fatal collision with a drunk driver, volunteers for the assignment. Moving backward and forward from the time of the collision on a Friday as DI Tolin pieces together the incident, we become acquainted with the two initial fatalities - a 23-year-old attractive black female, Alice Jackson (Lenora Crichlow), a passenger in her boyfriend (Anwar Lynch) Gareth Clay's speeding BMW, which attracted the attention of a speed-trap, though others were going as fast or faster, and a private piano teacher, Sidney Norris (David Bamber), whose apparent gesticulating at another vehicle resulted in his Rover swerving and triggering the crash - along with the others, injured or unhurt, as well as peripheral figures.
Alice's father Bill Jackson threatens to sue the police for racial targeting, though the two traffic cops, PC Sanjay and PC Alan, could not identify the occupants of the BMW when they began pursuit. A white furniture van ("Home 2 Bed") with a concealed compartment, driven by Daniel Rampton (Dean Lennon Kell), working for his brother Jeffrey and returning from Holland, leaps over the crash barrier, crossing the carriage way, causing further collisions; he flees the scene.
A secretary for HDC Chemicals, Karen Donnelly (Claire Rushbrook), who has surreptitiously downloaded information from her boss's computer, stops at Brian Edwards's duplication shop to have her memory stick printed out as a document, before smashing into Norris's car. Coincidentally Edwards (Phil Davis) gets involved in the crash, driving his mother-in-law Mrs Joyce Thompson (Sylvia Syms), who is critically injured while he's unscratched.
Millionaire celebrity in real-estate Richard Reeves (Paul McGann), who suffers a separated shoulder, takes a romantic interest in Jane Tarrant (Lucy Griffiths), a waitress (who's live-in boyfriend Dave has recently proposed marriage) at the Freeway Diner where the victims are temporarily brought from the scene of the accident.
Anna Stallwood (Kate Ashfield), the officer in charge of the crash scene, has an emotional history with Tolin, making their working together awkward. Just released after ten months in prison, Harry, the driver whose car struck Tolin's wife's vehicle with his teenaged daughter as passenger, is intent on seeing Tolin.
Murder isn't an accident.
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