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Series / Accused

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Accused was a British television series which ran from 2010 to 2012. Despite high critical acclaim, it was canceled after two series. The show followed a criminal trial in each episode, showing how the defendant got to be there. Noted actors Christopher Eccleston, Andy Serkis, Naomie Harris, Sean Bean, and Robert Sheehan, among others, were featured on its run.

An American remake began airing in 2023 on Fox.

This series provides examples of:

  • Clear Their Name: "Alison's Story" is focused on this after Alison gets framed for drug dealing by her abusive husband's cop father, as a means to get him full custody of their kids.
  • The Cloud Cuckoo Lander Was Right: Possibly the case with paranoid schizophrenic Stephen at the end of "Stephen's Story", where it appears that his stepmother really was poisoning his father and brother. However, it's left ambiguous whether this is another of his delusions or not. In "Tina's story" Stephen's father reappears, suggesting his final conversation with his stepmother was indeed a delusion.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • In "Frankie's Story" Frankie's friend Peter is bullied ruthlessly by the other soldiers, led by the cruel corporal, after he cracks under fire. This leads to him shooting himself.
    • In "Tina's Story" Stephen Cartwright reappears when he enters a juvenile prison to start his time. After only a short period, he hangs himself. This spurs the episode's plot, as Tina blames another guard who didn't move him to a cell with another prisoner where he could be watched as she asked.
  • Downer Ending: "Willy's Story", "Frankie's Story" and "Stephen's Story" end with the title characters getting sentences that seem longer than deserved (or for Stephen, he shouldn't really have been convicted at all, given that he's insane).
  • Frame-Up: In "Alison's Story" Alison is framed as a drug dealer by her husband and his police captain father so she'll lose custody of their kids. Thankfully, this is revealed, she's acquitted, and they get arrested.
  • Hallucinations: Stephen sees Alastair Campbell telling him from the television screen to kill his stepmother to save his family from what he believes to be her poisoning them.
  • Hearing Voices: Stephen almost constantly hears voices whispering as part of his delusions.
  • Hollywood Law: In "Frankie's Story", Frankie is a British soldier who served in Afghanistan. Problem is, the crime he's accused of occurred in Afghanistan on a British military base, against a fellow soldier, yet he's put on trial in a civilian court back in the UK. Any crime on a military base, committed by a soldier, against another soldier, would fall under military jurisdiction and be tried by a military court.
  • How We Got Here: The form of every episode's plot. Often what the case is about isn't even revealed until late in.
  • Insane Equals Violent: Stephen is a paranoid schizophrenic. His delusions lead him to stab his stepmother, believing she killed his mother, his dog, and is trying to do his father and brother in as well. Somewhat justified with his condition, as the belief they're being persecuted is more likely to make the person use violence (which like Stephen they also may honestly believe is self-defense or defense of others).
  • Insanity Defense: Discussed in "Stephen's Story". Stephen's attorney wants him to get a psychiatric examination so they can prove he was insane at the time of his crime (he's clearly a schizophrenic). Stephen refuses though, denying he's mentally ill and claiming what happened was justified to defend himself and his family. This doesn't work, and he gets convicted of attempted murder. Granted, Stephen was aware of the possibility of going to jail, but preferred that to a mental hospital as a prison sentence would come with a set release date.
  • Justified Criminal: Willy steals out of desperation to pay for his daughter's wedding.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • In "Kenny's Story" Kenny's friends were equally guilty, but the only evidence against them is Kenny's confession, so the jury acquits them.
    • In "Alison's Story" Alison's husband isn't arrested for raping her, as she didn't report it, but is for other crimes.
    • In "Tina's Story" Tina's rapist is also not arrested for the same reasons.
  • Knight Templar Parent: Mo, with her own mother aiding and abetting, pulls out all the stops to keep her son Jake out of jail. In the process she perverts the course of justice, betrays every principle she espouses, repeatedly deceives her best friend Sue whose own son, Sean, Jake was coerced into killing and even states under oath that Sean would have done the same in Jake's position. In the end Jake gets the maximum sentence of twelve years, Sue bitterly spurns Mo, and Mo and her mother become pariahs.
  • Rape as Drama:
    • In "Kenny's Story" the rape of Kenny's daughter sets the plot in motion after he then seeks revenge.
    • In "Alison's Story" Alison is raped by her husband when he thinks she's cheated on him. This then leads to their separation, a battle for custody of their kids and him framing her as a drug dealer with assistance from his police captain father so she'll lose them.
    • Tina is set up to be raped by a prisoner after she attempts to report a fellow prison guard's negligence, which left another prisoner alone where he killed himself.
  • Sympathetic Murderer:
    • Frankie. After he's relentlessly bullied for trying to report bullying of his friend who eventually killed himself over it, he snaps and kills his corporal, who led this. It doesn't help that he won't reveal any of this in court however, giving him no mitigation. He gets 25 years in prison.
    • Jake murdered another boy only because he was being coerced by the leader of his gang with the threat of being murdered himself if he didn't comply. He feels terrible about it, and pleads guilty.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Stephen is clearly a paranoid schizophrenic, which makes him think his stepmother killed his mother, the family dog, and is now trying to kill his father and brother as well. Eventually this leads to him stabbing her in what he believes to be a defense of them and himself. He refuses to admit he's mentally ill though, or allow a psychiatric examination. This means he's convicted and gets six years in prison when most likely he wasn't responsible at all.
  • Vigilante Man: In "Kenny's Story" Kenny and his friends attack the man they believe violated his daughter. The plot shows why this is a very bad idea, however. The man was innocent, and Kenny's convicted of murder after he dies.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Simon, in his guise as Tracie. This even gets him acquitted, as he goes into court dressed as Tracie and successfully shows how ridiculous the idea of committing a crime in that outfit would be.