Deep Water review: Soapy dark drama deserved way more hype than it got

Anna Friel was captivating as Lisa (Picture: ITV)

Deep Water bowed out with one final shrill scream of an episode as everything came to a head in this dark soap opera.

With the entire run being made available on ITV Hub straight after episode one, the show pretty much came and went, as everyone could watch at their leisure (or not – one episode will undoubtedly lead to another…then another…).

But it feels like a lot more fanfare should have been made of Deep Water because it’s Really Quite Good. If it was on HBO everyone would be talking about it.

In the finale Kate’s (Rosaline Eleazar) web of lies closed around her neck as Guy (Alistair Mackenzie) exposed the fact she had deliberately encouraged their daughter to stay missing in a twisted attempt to try and win him back.

Roz (Sinead Keenan) had had enough of keeping her horrific attack to herself, and in a belter of a scene exposed she had been sleeping with Scott (Gerald Kyd) for money – the latter part of which Scott’s wife didn’t know about.

And Lisa (Anna Friel) managed to piece her marriage back together after her bathroom tryst with Adam (Steve Toussaint).

It was a sharp role reversal from where we met the three women at the start of the series. Roz and Lisa were in awe of Kate’s lifestyle and her almost too-perfect house, life and hair. At the end Lisa and Roz were on top of the world – figuratively and literally – having gently pieced their families back together while Kate was the wicked witch of the village, suspected of harming her own son.

Kate’s lies were exposed (Picture: ITV)

The storylines throughout have been the sort of stuff EastEnders or Hollyoaks excels at like Roz’s indecent proposal, and Joe (Steve Cree) cruelly going off with the first woman he met in a bar to get back at Lisa for her betrayal.

But the performances, with a very human and relatable nasty streak running through each one, elevated Deep Water to a must-binge drama.

Friel excels when it comes to playing harassed women, usually ones with a secret to keep, and the actress completely disappeared into Lisa’s big jumpers as she fought to get her marriage back.

Roz’s emotions boiled over (Picture: ITV)

She was so watchable, yet the role must surely have been a walk in the park for the Marcella star. It would have been more interesting to see her tackle the glacial Kate, trading in the free-falling, frazzled characters for someone more put together.

Not that Eleazar wasn’t captivating to watch in such a divisive role, particularly the scene with Guy’s new squeeze (the au pair – paging Albert Square!) where the mask slipped and Kate pleaded for the younger woman to ‘give me my husband back’. Did anyone else get the sense she loved her husband slightly more than her kids? Very unsettling.

Kate and Lisa’s roles were reversed (Picture: ITV)

So what are the takeaways from Deep Water? There wasn’t a message or any social commentary as such. It was just six hours of good, old-fashioned domestics; full of moments that made you go “oooh” like that cat from Puss In Boots. And there’s nothing wrong with that at all.

But if there is a message here it’s that TV can learn from recent programmes like Deep Water, Fleabag and Killing Eve. That characters who are women don’t have to just be the supportive wife, or the ‘black best friend’ or even, well, nice. Soaps are already doing it – time for drama to catch up.

Deep Water is available to watch on ITV Hub.

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