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Penance, the new thriller drama starring Julie Graham and Nico Mirallegro, might very well be your next binge.

Penance: Julie Graham as Rosalie Douglas, Nico Mirallegro as Jed Cousins — Photo courtesy of Sundance Now

Adapted by author Kate O’Riordan from her novel of the same name, Penance follows Rosalie Douglas (Julie Graham, Queens of Mystery, Shetland), a wife, mum of two children, and businesswoman whose life is shattered in the first few minutes of the three-part miniseries.

The holidays are supposed to be a happy time, but they aren’t for Rosalie, her husband Luke (Neil Morrissey The Good Karma Hospital, Striking Out) and their daughter Maddie (Tallulah Greive, Flatmates, Millie Inbetween). Not when two police officers show up at their house to deliver the news that Rob, their son and brother, is dead. Drowned in Thailand.

Two months later, the Douglas family is barely holding it together. Rosalie is still deep in her grief, refusing to believe that her son, a champion swimmer, could have accidentally drowned. Her marriage to Luke is in tatters after an act of infidelity. And teen-aged Maddie is drowning what looks to be some sort of guilt over her brother’s death in booze and drugs. Things cannot continue like this.

So Rosalie and Maddie attend a group bereavement counseling session hosted by Father Tom Hayes (Art Malik, The Woman in White, Cold Feet), Rosalie’s best friend and parish priest. It is here that they meet Jed (Nico Mirallegro, Rillington Place, My Mad Fat Diary), an attractive and charismatic young man, and invite him back to theirs for dinner (or supper or whatever posher people call the evening meal). Jed seems to be a godsend. He gets on well with Maddie, and his influence helps her get back to being clean.

As for Rosalie, Jed’s presence in her home affects her as well. Putting his resemblance to her late son aside for a moment, the guy is a hunk and she can’t help but notice (especially when he’s dripping wet in the shower or in her kitchen). Then there are Jed’s gazes and his getting all up in her personal space. It isn’t a giant leap, then, when she starts having erotic dreams about him.

Rosalie’s Catholic guilt sets in, but will her faith and willpower keep her from engaging in any sins of the flesh with Jed? It would be simpler to just get him the hell out of her house.

This, though, proves to be more problematic than she imagined.

Then things take a dark turn. Then another. And another…

One thing I appreciate about Penance is there is no fluff or fillers to turn the story into a drawn out, double-digit-episode drama. We meet the characters, get their stories, and see how everything culminates in three tightly-written and -acted twisty-turny episodes.

Another is the limited series will debut on this side of the pond in its entirety — no waiting for new episodes, people! You can binge the whole sinfully enticing thriller in one sitting.

Featuring in Penance are Wanda Ventham (Sherlock), Shereen Walker (Scott and Sid), and Bláithín Mac Gabhann (Normal People).

Penance premieres in the US tomorrow, May 21, exclusively on Sundance Now and its digital channels, including Sundance Now on Amazon Channels.


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Penance: Taut & Enticing Psychological Thriller Premieres in the US
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