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YMMV / The Escape Artist

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  • Complete Monster: Liam Foyle, on trial for murdering a young woman and savaging her corpse, initially seems aloof—admitting he's "not a very nice person"—but soon shows himself to be much worse. After defense barrister William Burton gets him off on a technicality and refuses to shake Foyle's hand, the latter begins stalking Will's wife Kate, files fraudulent complaints to hamper his career, then murders Kate. Later, once Maggie Gardner also gets him Off on a Technicality, he begins stalking her and leaving her disturbing gifts by breaking into her flat, rendering her a gibbering wreck. When finally confronted for his actions, Foyle has little excuse for his extreme pettiness beyond the fact that he is the way he is, and claiming that society should somehow accept him as some sort of lion amongst the sheep.
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  • Critical Research Failure: In-universe; Will proceeds in his own murder trial as if he's at the Old Bailey, not aware that Scottish courts are different.
  • He Really Can Act: Toby Kebbell does creepy really well.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Maggie Gardner. She may defend Foyle in the murder trial of Will's wife, but she's just doing her job in doing so, and she doesn't deserve what happens to her afterwards.
  • Moment of Awesome:
    • Will getting his revenge and walking away scot free.
    • Danny, Will's workmate, punching Foyle in the stomach in the middle of the Old Bailey and passing it off as a slip.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Foyle crosses it in the series when he murders Kate, Will's wife, simply because Will did not shake his hand. Just before the show's events, the murder of Sarah Mullens also qualifies.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • With Foyle it seems that he has this in his veins instead of blood. The man is not only a very good stalker, but rarely emotes on anything and is eerily calm at best.
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    • The murder of Sarah Mullens is nasty, and while we don't witness the act directly, we are "treated" to a horrifying image of her mutilated, eyeless corpse. It's implied that the sites Foyle frequents contain this sort of content and much worse, including necrophilia.
    • In the third episode, he starts stalking Maggie, breaking into her apartment - which he did by climbing up, no less - and giving her a sort of gift. Whatever it is turns out to be enough for her to start having a breakdown and begging to go around to someone else's house, as she no longer feels safe in her own home.
    • Foyle's rant about how he doesn't deserve to be persecuted for the way he is, arguing that as a lion he cannot be blamed for attacking sheep.
    • Foyle's death. How does a lethal allergic reaction to shellfish sound, particularly given how slow and painful it was?
  • Paranoia Fuel:
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    • Many critics and viewers have said that they're now worried that their entire life will be turned upside down if they don't shake the hands of people they meet. Or even if they do...
    • Foyle's climbing abilities provide plenty of this, too. Even high rise apartments aren't safe.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • When clearing out their house in the second episode, Will and Jamie go through some of Kate's belongings... finding a pregnancy test. This understandably breaks Will somewhat and makes him go a tad mad
    • The entirety of the trial in the third act, since Will is struggling to convince his friends and family that he isn't responsible for Foyle's death. Even after rewatching the episode, it's heartbreaking.
    • The final shot of the miniseries, with Will and Jamie lighting a lantern and letting it go. Doubly so since Will has just about managed to stop himself from falling into He Who Fights Monsters territory and moved on, but Kate won't be coming back.
  • The Woobie: Will Burton in spades. In the first episode alone, his life gets turned upside down because he doesn't shake his client's hand, resulting in his son being stalked and the murder of his wife, Kate. After that, his efforts to get Foyle prosecuted end in failure, causing him to end up on trial for a murder he didn't commit. Things eventually turn around for him, however, and it's revealed that he actually did commit the crime.
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