Liar has become depressingly predictable and utterly nonsensical – it’s a shame the writers bottled it

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SO, the middle-class white guy in ITV’s Liar turns out to be the baddie and will inevitably get his comeuppance.

How depressingly predictable, utterly nonsensical and, above all, a crying shame.

 This week Andrew Earlham's character was cemented as a serial rapist predator

ITV
This week Andrew Earlham’s character was cemented as a serial rapist predator

This was a chance to break the mould with British TV drama.

For the best part of three compelling episodes, Liar dared to go where other shows don’t — exploring the topical, grey area of date-rape allegations.

Was schoolteacher Laura Nielson (Joanne Froggatt) a deranged, serial bunny boiler intent on destroying the careers and lives of socially respectable men with baseless accusations of sexual assault?

Or did surgeon Andrew Earlham (Ioan Gruffudd) really spike her drink and rape her?

 The ITV show, in which viewers were forced to question who was lying for the first three episodes, was a chance to 'break the mould' with British TV drama

ITV
The ITV show, in which viewers were forced to question who was lying for the first three episodes, was a chance to ‘break the mould’ with British TV drama
 Andrew came across as perfectly charming and anything but a sick rapist in the first few episodes

ITV
Andrew came across as perfectly charming and anything but a sick rapist in the first few episodes

When combined with the issue of sexual consent and the two protagonists’ conflicting version of events, the result was one of the most absorbing series of the year as viewers swung between who to believe.

Alas, sibling writers Harry and Jack Williams saw fit to answer all these questions at the halfway stage of the six-episode run.

And as of Monday night, all doubt was removed and we now know Andrew is a serial rapist predator whose latest victim is the pregnant female detective investigating him.

He broke into her house initially to pour a date-rape drug into her smoothie and then, when she was out cold, re-entered the flat, while wearing surgical gloves, to attack her.

The impact was supposed to be chilling, I’m sure.

 'Respectable surgeon' Andrew's latest victim is the pregnant female detective investigating him

ITV
‘Respectable surgeon’ Andrew’s latest victim is the pregnant female detective investigating him
 Andrew broke into her flat after spiking her smoothie with a date rape drug

ITV
Andrew broke into her flat after spiking her smoothie with a date rape drug

But in dramatic terms, it is ludicrous. This is a man, after all, who spoke respectfully of Laura to a friend the morning after their date and was appalled when he realised Peter Davison’s creepy character, her old headteacher colleague, had “felt her up”, prompting a sexual assault allegation.

Yes, you could say Andrew’s behaviour is simply a convincing cover for a secret double life, but making him a monster overnight just doesn’t add up.

The same bloke who charmed his way into Laura’s affections was suddenly telling her condescendingly: “You should be running along now,” as she revealed she knew about his wife’s suicide after he drugged and raped her friend.

 In this week's episode Laura visited Andrew's late wife's mother and best friend in Edinburgh in an attempt to discover what really happened to her

ITV
In this week’s episode Laura visited Andrew’s late wife’s mother and best friend in Edinburgh in an attempt to discover what really happened to her

What they’ve basically done is abandon all the intrigue that was building nicely and simply remade BBC2’s The Fall, where the psychopath, Paul Spector, is a similarly doting dad whose devotion to his family masks his crimes.

This is frustrating, but sadly not a surprise with TV dramas. Virtually all the male characters in the third and final series of Broadchurch were detestable, weak scumbags.

 Making Andrew a monster overnight just doesn’t add up

ITV
Making Andrew a monster overnight just doesn’t add up

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It’s a tiresome, recurring theme.

The great pity with Liar is that the writers had set the platform to literally change the script.

More fool them for chickening out.

Liar continues on Monday at 9pm on ITV

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