WARNING: This story contains spoilers.
Liar culminated in its series finale last night and viewers were divided.
The ITV six-part psychological thriller followed the story of Laura Nielson as she fought to prove her rape allegation against smooth-operating surgeon Andrew Earlham.
The drama peaked with Earlham’s grisly death – but with unanswered questions of who, when, where and how it happened. As the credits rolled, ITV announced there would be a second series.
Some viewers thought the murder of Earlham was just desserts for the serial rapist, but others were frustrated that Laura’s character, played by Joanne Froggatt, was denied seeing her assailant brought to justice.
The Mail Online‘s Jim Shelley called it “an annoying, absurd, anti-climax,” barely qualifying as a denouement.
Viewers took to Twitter to vent their anger and disappointment at what they saw as an unsatisfying end:
Meanwhile, Lord Sugar had expressed his hopes that the drama wouldn’t be given a “silly ending” in order to make another series.
But following the episode he replied to one Twitter fan that he wouldn’t spoil the ending because ITV could do that themselves:
TV presenter Caroline Flack said she hoped there would be some kind of plot development to make Earlham’s murder all worthwhile:
But others thought the tense 60 minute finale to ITV’s most watched new drama was what they’d been waiting for over the past six weeks:
The Daily Express called it “the ending everyone deserved, pay-off for the characters, pay-off for viewers who’d loyally stuck with Liar.”
The Huffington Post thought the plot twists and turns as well as the fact Laura finally got the evidence she needed to prove Earlham had raped her resulted in “an ultimately satisfying ending.”
According to overnight figures, the episode attracted an average audience of 6.5 million viewers and a peak of seven million, making it the biggest audience ITV has seen for a brand new drama for three years.
Fashion blogger Zoella took to Twitter to say she too had been gripped – although perhaps somewhat exasperated – by the show’s ending:
As the first series drew to its conclusion, ITV has announced the second series will look at who murdered Andrew Earlham. Both Joanne Froggatt and Ioan Gruffudd will reprise their roles in the new instalment of the drama, which will perhaps give viewers the answers they crave.
There has been other criticism of the first series of Liar, which the second may perhaps address and rebalance.
It has been noted by some that Liar had a predictable storyline since it would be deemed irresponsible for the plotline of a prime time drama to feature a woman falsely accusing a man of rape. Rod Liddle wrote in The Spectator “it has to be the man lying”.
Even despite this, Alex Moreland in the Metro labels the series not only insensitive towards victims of rape but “reckless.” He finds it troubling that it is not until the end of the third episode that Earlham is revealed as a rapist and therefore the liar.
To question Laura’s account of sexual assault for half the series – when in reality instances of false rape accusations are low – perpetuates a stereotype that he calls “harmful.”
Christopher Stevens writes in The Daily Mail that the series portrayed a “bleak message” for rape victims that police were unable to act to bring Ioan Gruffudd’s character, Andrew Earlham to justice but that the second series “promises to be dark, convoluted and gripping… just like the first”.
And with the promise of the new series examining who murdered Andrew Earlham – including pointing the finger at a number of female characters – could we see a redressing of the age-old story of the woman as the victim?