'Showtrial' Season 2 Releases First Images of New Case

Michael Socha as defendant Justin Mitchell and Adeel Akhtar as his defence solicitor Sam Malik meeting in 'Showtrial' Season 2

Michael Socha as defendant Justin Mitchell and Adeel Akhtar as his defense solicitor Sam Malik meeting in 'Showtrial' Season 2

BBC/World Productions/Peter Marley

Showtrial made a huge splash when it debuted in the fall of 2021 on the BBC. The five-part series had a relatively simple premise: every few years, a new "Crime of the Century" grips the nation, so instead of waiting for the next major trial to hit the press, World Productions invented one, complete with a courtroom case. It's not quite Law & Order U.K., but it wasn't all that far from it. You have an incident that plays in the press, followed by the arrest, and then the defendant and their solicitor vs the crown prosecutor. By the final episode, you're left wondering who is telling the truth about what happened, and if justice can really be served in the modern era.

Season 1 was a fictionalized version of one of the sorts of cases favored by rolling news networks. Pretty female college student goes missing; however, instead of it being some sort of domestic situation with an evil man who murdered her, the evidence pointed to a fellow female student, Talitha Campbell, the estranged daughter of a wealthy property developer. Rather than fight the case on merits, Campbell hires a solicitor to fight the case on gender and social privilege grounds, saying she's only being accused because of her status. 

Season 1 starred Sinead Keenan as the lead DI on the case, who soon after was cast to replace Nicola Walker in Unforgotten, making her return an impossibility. However, with the show a hit and a renewal inevitable, creator Ben Richards decided he didn't need to bring back anyone from Season 1 anyway since that case was over, and it's rare for there to be two Cases of the Centuries originating from the same jurisdiction. Season 2 was announced as the beginning of making Showtrial into an anthology series, with a whole new cast and story.

Barney Fishwick as climate activist Marcus Calderwood in 'Showtrial' Season 2

Barney Fishwick as climate activist Marcus Calderwood in 'Showtrial' Season 2

BBC/World Productions/Peter Marley

This season, the fictional five-part drama invents something that American audiences will probably feel more familiar with than those on the far side of the pond: A policeman accused of murdering a suspect in cold blood during a confrontation. 

However, unlike most U.S. cases, where the victim is Black or Muslim, the focus here is less about racist cops and more about classist ones. The victim is an upper-class white male and a high-profile left-wing climate change activist who is killed during a demonstration.

Nathalie Armin as Crown Prosecutor Leila Hassoun-Kenny in 'Showtrial' Season 2

Nathalie Armin as Crown Prosecutor Leila Hassoun-Kenny in 'Showtrial' Season 2

BBC/World Productions/Peter Marley

Here's the new season's synopsis:

When high-profile climate activist Marcus Calderwood is left for dead in a violent hit and run, he uses his dying moments to apparently identify his killer - a serving policeman. But who is this unnamed Officer X? What does his own history reveal about the nature of trauma and revenge, and was Marcus’ death a tragic accident or pre-meditated murder?

From the victim's last breath to the jury’s final verdict, Showtrial introduces us to the charismatic and cocky police officer Justin Mitchell; Sam Malik, an anxious defense solicitor with a reputation for winning lost causes; and Leila Hassoun-Kenny a driven CPS lawyer leading the case against the accused.

As public outrage reaches fever-pitch, the series asks what happens when a trial is dominated by cultural divisions and if the truth is ever clear cut. Is a fair trial even possible when tensions are riding so high?

Tom Padley and Joe Dempsie as the officers who find the body in 'Showtrial' Season 2

Tom Padley and Joe Dempsie in 'Showtrial' Season 2

BBC/World Productions/Peter Marley

The high-profile cast includes Francesca Annis (The Forsythe Saga) and Adeel Akhtar (Sherwood) at top billed, alongside Nathalie Armin (Flatshare), Michael Socha (The Gallows Pole), Joe Dempsie (Game of Thrones), Fisayo Akinade (Heartstopper), Tom Padley (Silent Witness), Kerrie Hayes (The Responder) and Barney Fishwick (The Buccaneers). 

The new series also stars Nina Toussaint-White (Bodyguard), Zoe Telford (The Lazarus Project), Ali Khan (A Haunting in Venice), Daniel Kendrick (Inside Man), Frankie Wilson (The Gold), Anna Próchniak (The Tattooist of Auschwitz), Anna Wilson Jones (Victoria), John Light (Around the World in 80 Days), Aidan McArdle (Ridley), Daisy Badger (The Sandman), Flora Montgomery (The Crown), Pearce Quigley (The Full Monty), John Marquez (Doc Martin), and Anna Healy (Mother’s Day).

Francesca Annis as Dame Harriet Kenny having a cuppa in 'Showtrial' Season 2

Francesca Annis as Dame Harriet Kenny in 'Showtrial' Season 2

BBC/World Productions/Peter Marley

Showtrial is created and written by Ben Richards, with all five episodes helmed by director Julia Ford (Everything I Know About Love) and produced by Ken Horn. Richards executive produces alongside Simon Heath and Emma Luffingham for World Productions, with Nawfal Faizullah and Katherine Bond for the BBC. Showtrial is produced with support from Northern Ireland Screen, in association with ITV Studios, and it is noted that the BBC missive states that ITV Studios is "handling international distribution." Season 1 debuted on AMC+ and Sundance Now and was dead on arrival on the tiny streamer. With a new cast and story, it looks like Showtrial may also look for a new and better distributor for the U.S. market come Season 2.

Showtrial Season 2 is expected to air on the BBC before the end of 2024. How long it will take to cross the pond is anyone's guess, but hopefully, it will debut here in 2025.


Ani Bundel has been blogging professionally since 2010. A DC native, Hufflepuff, and Keyboard Khaleesi, she spends all her non-writing time taking pictures of her cats. Regular bylines also found on MSNBC, Paste, Primetimer, and others. 

A Woman's Place Is In Your Face. Cat Approved. Find her on BlueSky and other social media of your choice: @anibundel.bsky.social

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