Follow TV Tropes


Series / Fearless (2017)

Go To

Fearless is a 2017 British Crime Conspiracy Thriller mini series produced by ITV. The series follows Emma Banville, a human rights lawyer, as she attempts to prove a man named Kevin Russell's innocence for a crime he was convicted of 14 years prior. In her pursuit of the truth however, it becomes evident the events that took place in 2003 are part of a wider conspiracy.

Beware of spoilers.

Fearless provides examples of the following tropes:


  • The Ace: Matthew Wild MP. He is young, attractive former war hero with a beautiful family and a modern approach to politics, with many pegging him as the next potential Prime Minister. However he has a dark past. As an army intelligence liaison in 2003 he accidentally hit Linda Simms with his car, starting the whole conspiracy and cover up.
  • Accidental Murder: How it turns out Linda Simms died. She turned up at the old officers mess expecting to meet her army boyfriend, but was instead greeted by high ranking British and American politicians and intelligence officials flanked by armed security. Running away in fear, she is accidentally hit by one of the fleeing cars driven by Matthew Wild, a then military intelligence officer.
  • Adult Fear: Charlie and Beth Simms greatest one was realised when their daughter was killed in 2003. What really rubs salt in the wound is when Emma tries to convince them to consent to her body being exhumed 14 years later.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • Kevin Russell is a bit of a pervert, having admitted to being in possession of sexual photos of 15 year old Linda Simms at the time of her death. However, regarding the accusation he beat her and buried her alive, he is completely innocent.
    • Heather Myles is a cold hearted operative who will do anything to keep the cover up intact, but it is hard not to feel sorry for her when Kretchmer and McKinnon threaten to blame her for the whole thing if she is unable to control the damage, which would send her to prison unable to see her children.
  • Being Watched: Because of the people she chooses to represent, Emma knows that the security services are monitoring her. It is for this reason she only uses a basic burner phone without GPS, and removes the battery whenever discussing private information with her clients.
  • Advertisement:
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Dr. Yusef Attar, once of Emma's clients. He claims to be working for a medical organisation helping the wounded in Syria, and that the British government is falsely accused him of recruiting for ISIS. It later turns out he is doing just that, much to Emma and even his wifes surprise.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Kevin Russell is finally proven innocent to the world (and his son), and Banvilles reputation is restored. Wilds confession to the true nature of Linda Simms death is caught on tape, and it is implied he faces consequences for his part in it. Greenwood is reinstated in her position at Counter Terrorism. Heather Myles has her diplomatic immunity rescinded and is arrested for her part in the conspiracy. Emma and Steve are implied to have been re-accepted by the adoption agency, and are shown meeting with another prospective foster child.
  • Code Name: Emma Banville's surveillance codename used by GCHQ is "Ruby".
  • Creator Cameo: ITV news broadcasts are seen throughout the series.
  • Creepy Uncle: Phil Simms, who is revealed to have transported his niece Linda and other underage girls onto the air base at RAF Crawbury for "parties". His brother, Charlie Simms, accuses him of "pimping out" Linda.
  • Crusading Lawyer: Emma Banville. She represents people accused heinous crimes such as pedophillia, child murder and even terrorism. In the case of Kevin Russell, she even agrees to do it free of charge in order to prove his innocence.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Banville and Greenwood eventually become this by the end of the series, finding common ground in their disgust of the levels the British and American governments have gone to conceal the conspiracy. They initially despise eachother, with Greenwood seeing Banville as a traitor and sympathiser of terrorists and criminals, and Banville viewing Greenwood as a corrupt, self serving officer willing to frame an innocent man to fast track her career.
  • Frame-Up: Kevin Russell was framed for the murder of Linda Simms by the British and American governments to cover up a wider conspiracy. They were helped inadvertently by Greenwood, who at the time was a cocky young Detective Inspector wanting to make a name for herself, who coaxed Russell into falsely confessing to the murder.
  • Government Agency of Fiction:
    • The fictional US Border Control replaces the real life US Customs and Border Protection, seen when Banville travels to New York.
    • The logo seen on the software on Heather Myles computer is for that of the "Government Intelligence Agency". However, it is mentioned onscreen that Myles works for the real life CIA, so the alternative logo was likely used for copyright reasons.
  • Government Conspiracy: Combined with a seemingly low scale murder of a teenage girl in south east England. In 2003, on the eve of the Iraq War, British and American officials met with a defector from Saddam's government on a small air force base in Suffolk. There, the defector fed them false information regarding the presence of WMD's in Iraq, which they would then pass on to their respective governments to gain authority to declare war. However as this meeting was being wrapped up, it was mistakenly stumbled upon by Linda Simms, a local 15 year old who was trying to meet her boyfriend who worked on the base. Simms was accidentally killed trying to escape, which was observed by her friend Rachel Leigh. In order to cover up the incident (which if publicised could reveal the nature of the meeting and prevent the war from happening), Simms murder was blamed on a local caretaker and her friend taken in by the Americans in exchange for her silence. Banville's investigation 14 years later puts the conspirators back on edge, as the young army intelligence liaison who accidentally killed Simms has now ascended to become the Leader of the Opposition in the British government.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Although not quite an alcoholic, Emma is seen drinking fairly heavily throughout the series to deal with the pressure of her work.
  • Intimidation Demonstration: After Banville covertly meets with a relative of one of her clients (who has been accused of terrorism), Greenwood decides to send an unmarked car and two intimidating Detective Sergeants to pull her over and give her a hard time. The officers claim it is because she has a broken taillight, but Banville knows she doesnt and questions as to why plainclothes detectives are performing traffic stops.
  • Jail Bait: Linda Simms was only 15 when she had sexually provocative photos of herself taken by Tony Pullings.
  • Just Got Out of Jail: Kevin Russell's initial conviction for the murder of Linda Simms is quashed, but a full retrial is ordered so he is released on license. However he ends up back in prison fairly quickly on an unrelated charge; assaulting one of the counter terrorism police officers who raid Banvilles house to arrest Miriam Attar.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Alistair McKinnon commits suicide before he can face charges for his involvement in the conspiracy.
    • Jack Kretchmer is implied to have shifted all the blame onto Myles and does not appear to face any consequences for his involvement in the whole ordeal.
  • Mandatory Unretirement: Heather Myles is brought out of what appears to be semi-retirement (she is on reduced workload and can spend time with her children) to deal with the fallout that arises from the reopening of the Simms murder case.
  • Miscarriage of Justice: The sentencing and imprisonment of Kevin Russell. His confession was falsely coaxed out of him by then DI Greenwood (after hours of brutal interrogation), the initial forensics were carried out by an unreliable lab owned by former police officers (and later proven wholly incorrect), he had a useless legal team at the trial, and the British and American governments personally interfered by bribing someone into giving false testimony to have him take the fall to cover up a wider conspiracy.
  • Missing White Woman Syndrome: The disappearance and murder of Linda Simms received extensive news coverage in 2003. It also helped advance the career of then DI Olivia Greenwood, who was fast tracked up the ranks to Counter Terrorism with the London Metropolitan Police.
    Emma Banville: "Nothing like a dead white schoolgirl to advance a few careers".
  • Mistaken for Pedophile: Emma accuses Logan Bradley of being such after discovering the sexually provocative photos Linda Simms took when she was 15 were for his pleasure. He angrily corrects her, noting that in 2003 he was only 17 himself (and the two were romantically involved), and was not "a pervert".
  • Must Have Nicotine: Emma is a consistent smoker, even going as far as removing smoke detectors in hotels she stays in to have a cigarette.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Emma after Kevin Russell kills himself. She blames herself for not pushing him harder against taking the plea deal, as it resulted in his son still believing he was guilty and rejecting him, leading to his suicide.
    Emma Banville: *sobbing* "I've betrayed my client!"
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Although the governments they worked for existed in real life, the two high ranking politicians involved in the conspiracy are fictional:
    • Sir Alistair McKinnon, the former Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet during the ministry of Tony Blair.
    • Jack Kretchmer, the former Under Secretary of Defense in the administration of George W. Bush.
  • No Communities Were Harmed:
    • Although the real life RAF Lakenheath air base is mentioned, the main installation of focus is the fictional RAF Crawbury.
    • Both prisons in the series, HMP Eastmoor and HMP Sizemore, are also fictitious.
  • No Party Given: Matthew Wilds party is never mentioned by name onscreen, but is clearly implied to be Labour. This in indicated through his desire to gain trade union support, his opposition to the Iraq War, the mention of the "Trotsky eyed dickhead" he is against in the leadership contest and his association with Sir Alistair McKinnon, who was a member of the Blair government.
  • Older Than They Look: Olivia Greenwood (played by 30 year old actress Wunmi Mosaku) looks far too young to hold the senior rank of Chief Superintendent. This is made even more clear by the fact she was a Detective Inspector during the Linda Simms murder case set 14 years prior (when the actress playing her would have only been 16). Needless to say its probably intended her character is meant to be at least in her late forties, but is just blessed with looking much younger.
  • Plea Bargain: When it looks like Russell may get off, McKinnon calls in a favour with a friend in the judiciary to offer a plea bargain. If Russell accepts a lesser charge of manslaughter, he will be released on time served (14 years) but will still legally be confessing to have killed Linda Simms. Although Banville discourages him from taking it, Russell eventually accepts in order to get out of prison.
  • Police Brutality:
    • Whilst attending an anti-nuclear demonstration in her youth, Emma was badly assaulted by a police officer.
    • The armed SO 15 officers who raid Banville's home when Miriam supposedly calls a number connected to ISIS are incredibly rough with both her and her young son. When Kevin Russell (also staying in the house) tries to intervene, he is also roughed up and arrested.
  • Retired Badass: Matthew Wild MP is a retired army captain and military intelligence liaison who won a medal for bravery in the Iraq War.
  • Soap Box Sadie: In her youth, Emma was a left wing environmentalist and anti-war/nuclear protester. As a result, she has a surprisingly large criminal record for a lawyer.
  • SWAT Team: Greenwood sends a team of CTSFO'snote  (elite officers with the Metropolitan Police's Specialist Firearms Command) to raid Banville's house after they suspect Miriam Attar has been contacting members of ISIS. They later raid a property in Birmingham where the elusive Dr. Yusef Attar is hiding out.
  • Wham Line: When Rachel Leigh's dementia ridden mother remarks with surprising lucidity "why has she changed her hair" whilst watching a news report on Matthew Wild and his family. This reveals that Wild's wife, Laura, is actually Rachel, Linda Simms friend who observed her killing 14 years prior.
  • Witness Protection: The closest thing to compare to what both governments do to silence those involved in the conspiracy:
    • After discovering USAF airman Logan Bradleys romantic involvement with Simms, the Americans immediately transferred him to Kuwait two weeks ahead of his squadron. When Banville confronts him about it 14 years later the same thing happens, with the Department of Defense packing up and moving him and his family the very same day.
    • Tony Pullings is given immunity from prosecution (for taking pictures and having sex with underage girls) in exchange for providing more damning evidence about Kevin Russell when his case is reopened, to ensure he is found guilty again.
    • Rachel Leigh is given a new life abroad and the opportunity to escape her small town by the British and the CIA in exchange for testifying against Russell in order to cover up the true nature of Linda Simm's death.
  • You're Not My Father: Jason Russell-Peterson grew up believing that his father brutally beat Linda Simms and then buried her alive, and consequently wants nothing to do with him. Even after Kevin chooses to take a plea deal to get released on time served Jason still beleives he is guilty, which leads Kevin to kill himself out of shame. It is only after Kevin's death Jason begins to realise he was innocent the whole time.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: