Trust Me (TVNZ On Demand)
Reviewed by Calum Henderson
It's good to have a plan in case life blows up in your face one day. My go-to has always been faking my own death in an elaborate insurance scam like I once saw on an episode of Bungay On Crime, where a man "fell overboard" from a cruise ship wearing full scuba gear and walked along the ocean floor all the way back to his car. But I'm always open to exploring other options.
Trust Me, a new-to-TVNZ On Demand mini-series from the BBC, has put the idea of identity theft on my radar. The identity thief here is embattled nurse Cath Hardacre (Jodie Whittaker, the current Doctor Who, here playing a literal "doctor who?" – you'll see), who's stuffed her career by going to the papers and blowing the whistle on her employer for patient neglect.
The hospital board is giving her grief about the whistleblowing, her ex-husband (Blake Harrison, Neil from The Inbetweeners, who is apparently old enough to play an ex-husband now) is giving her grief about child custody arrangements... Something's got to give.
Luckily her best mate, ED doctor Ally (Andrea Lowe), is moving to New Zealand to be with the handsome Kiwi sheep farmer she's improbably managed to meet in Sheffield. This seems like terribly hack writing but we'll forgive it because it's flattering just to be mentioned in an international TV show.
In her haste to flee to New Zealand, Ally has left behind a flat strewn with her old stuff and told Cath to "take anything". She means her tops and make-up, not her whole identity, but when Cath finds a folder in the bin with her CV and med school degrees all bets are off.
Don't let the BBC logo, competent acting and moody lighting fool you – this is basically a mad Shortland Street storyline that's been condensed into miniseries format. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing, the madder the better I say, but it's important to approach these things with some perspective.
As for the identity theft, it does seem to have some advantages. After memorising her new CV and watching a couple of YouTube surgery tutorials, Cath / Ally waltzes into a job at a hospital in Edinburgh, then starts dating a Scottish doctor who's way hotter than her ex. Maybe I move to Australia and steal the identity of a top investigative journalist?
Below the surface, though, it's all a living stress dream. In one horrific scene worthy of a Saw movie she accidentally resets a man's badly broken ankle without any pain relief; in another she actually says "oops" while slicing into a man's abdomen. It can't be good for you, being this under the pump all the time.
I'll keep watching, because I want to see what happens when her boyfriend tells his doctor mates about her and they go "oh yeah, didn't she move to New Zealand to be with a hunky sheep farmer?" But identity theft? Seems like more trouble than it's worth. Not the scam for me.