Night and Day: Spanish medical horror is disturbing, dark and deeply compelling
Ivan Radford | On 01, Jul 2018
Think you’ve seen dark Spanish drama? Think again. After Lifeline and Locked Up, Walter Presents’ latest offering from Spain is as shadowy and nasty as they come, delving into the underbelly of not only Barcelona but also the human condition.
The psychological thriller introduces us to Sara (Clara Segura), a forensic pathologist who is good at her job and happily married to her husband. Except that, underneath the surface, she isn’t. Lluis (Pablo Derqui – Lifeline), who’s a successful businessman, wants to start a family and Sara is deeply unsure about the whole idea – and so while they struggle through awkward appointments at the doctor (complete with bad metaphors and intimate questions), she secretly deals with the uncertainty by losing herself in anonymous encounters with strangers at night.
It’s a compelling proposition less for the steamy, soapy drama, and more for the intense way that creators Manuel Huerga and Oriol Paulo dive into the intense contrast of the series’ title: the clinical, controlled world of the day, and the stark, disturbing world of the night. The contrasting visuals feed into the duality of each character we meet, elevating what could be a Telenovela into a modern noir. Those visuals become even more striking when it comes to crime scenes: one night, Sara is called to a car crash, and the camera slowly pushes in to reveal the front seat, pulling the scorched nightmare into focus with a dark, auburn grit. It’s no wonder that the new member of Sara’s team promptly throws up at the sight – Sara, on the other hand, keeps it down, but not without admitting that she did the same on her first beat.
The shocking reveal of that body only becomes more striking as we learn that Sara recognises a tattoo on the victim’s arm, identifying him as someone she had a fling with a few weeks earlier. With a new man entering her clandestine life, after a pick-up at a bar, and the police starting to pull together leads for a serial killer on the loose in the Catalan capital, it’s no surprise to say that Sara’s more connected to the unfolding homicides than one mere tattoo. And so the stage is set for a tangled web of illicit connections, brooding corruption, and tortured corpses. It’s dark, sinister and deeply compelling.
Episode 1 of Night and Day will be broadcast at 10.15pm on Sunday 1st July on Channel 4, with the whole box set available on All 4 straight after.