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'Trauma' is a Gripping and Dark Drama
March 17, 2018  | By David Hinckley  | 1 comment

The latest TV show called Trauma feels almost like a stage play. A tense, uneasy, riveting stage play.

A British series that is available on the streaming service BritBox, Trauma wraps up its story in just three episodes, meaning it runs about as long as a play.

It’s not a two-man drama, but it almost could be, since all other characters are ancillary to Dan Bowker (John Simm, top) and Jon Allerton (Adrian Lester, top).

Bowker’s 15-year-old son Alex (Albie Marber, right), who seems to be your basic good kid by the standards of a teenager, is rushed to a hospital with a serious stab wound.

Allerton, a trauma surgeon, is called in to operate. When they get Alex on the table, it turns out his heart was nicked, something the initial ultrasound hadn’t picked up, and he bleeds out.

His body isn’t cold before Dan Bowker becomes obsessed with the idea that Allerton made a mistake, some mistake, that cost Alex his life.

The remainder of the show, whose episodes BritBox will release weekly, follows Bowker as this obsession builds, consumes him, and makes life increasingly difficult for the people around him, including his wife Susie (Lyndsey Marshal).

Allerton at first tries to be professional and polite as Bowker pokes at him, suggesting he’s talking too fast or he looked panicky in the operating room.

By the time Bowker starts making ominous references to Allerton’s family, including his daughter Alana (Jade Anouka), Allerton realizes he needs to be considerably warier. 

Especially when Dan, who by coincidence had lost his last job just before Alex died, takes a new job at the coffee stand in Allerton’s hospital.

Stalker in the house.

Now, these all could be just the uncomfortable acts of an irrationally grief-crazed father who openly admits he’s “looking for someone to blame.”

Nothing we see in the story or know of Allerton’s personal life suggests Alex’s death was more than the kind of tragedy that plays out too often in emergency rooms and operating rooms.

But the script leaves open the possibility, albeit slim, that Allerton really did make a mistake. Perhaps he’d had a birthday drink or two at home earlier in the evening before he got the call for surgery. Perhaps there was some surgeon’s arrogance in play. 

So the inexorably building tension in Trauma stems both from Dan’s dangerous obsession and the little voice, one every parent can imagine hearing, that says, “What if my child didn’t have to die?”

Viewers, like Allerton, may have other questions. They might wonder, for instance, why Dan seems totally unconcerned with finding the person who stabbed Alex in the first place, or what his good-kid son might have been doing to land in a situation that ended in lethal violence.

Trauma doesn’t spend much time on that question, instead accepting that Dan has committed totally to the frustration and rage he directs at Allerton.

Accordingly, the essence of the story is the confrontation between those two men and the words exchanged therein.

It’s fast-moving and ominous, and while you won’t necessarily like what you fear is coming, it’s hard not to keep watching.

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what channel/cable provider? shouldn't providing this info be mandatory?
Mar 17, 2018   |  Reply
Lynn, The article says Brit Box so it's an online only streaming service. On the aside, I was chatting with someone who said they watched certain online only providers like Brit Box. And I was surprised to realize that I didn't recognize two of the online only providers they mentioned. And yet, I watch a *lot* of TV and feel like I spend a lot of time attempting to stay on top of what's new in online and cable TV world. It's challenging!
Mar 18, 2018
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