Everything you need to know about ITV’s new must-watch thriller Innocent starring Katherine Kelly

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While most crime dramas usually centre on a gripping whodunit, ITV’s latest offering Innocent cleverly flips the genre on its head.

The series, written by Unforgotten’s Chris Lang, instead focuses on what happens when the central character has already been jailed and is then found to be the victim of a major miscarriage of justice.

Following the success of the first series, the show is back for a second four-parter, but this time it’s a new storyline with a fresh cast to boot.

Following in the footsteps of last series’ guest lead Lee Ingleby, actress Katherine Kelly takes over the reins as former teacher Sally Wright.

After being found guilty of the murder of 16-year-old pupil Matty Taylor, who was stabbed to death with a broken cider bottle, Sally lost everything and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

However, five years later, as the show begins, a new piece of vital evidence emerges that proves she was nowhere near the crime scene on the day in question. Sally’s released from behind bars and granted her freedom – but at what cost?

Katherine explains: “We get very quickly away from the wrongful imprisonment. That’s dealt with inside the first five minutes. It’s then really about Sally integrating back into society and how the place has moved on and how she hasn’t… yet.”

And while nobody would begrudge Sally for wanting to hold people to account for turning her life upside down, she instead sets out to restore and reclaim her life, choosing to look to her somewhat bleak future, rather than focus on the past.

Katherine says: “Sally is a tremendously damaged and traumatised human being, and yet she has that inner strength to make a conscious decision to move forward with her life."

She continues: “I don’t like to use the word victim, because she definitely doesn’t see herself as that, but Sally has been a victim of the system for one reason or another and she’s trying to re-establish her life in her community back in Keswick.”

However, it’s not as easy as picking up where she left off. With rumours still swirling that Sally was having a sexual affair with the schoolboy and some still convinced that she killed him, her reputation is understandably in tatters.

And the old life she once knew and loved has completely vanished, including her marriage to former husband Sam, played by Jamie Bamber.

Jamie explains: “Everyone in this small community has essentially decided that she’s guilty and turned their back on her, Sam more than anyone as her husband.

“In the meantime, he’s divorced her and attached himself to a new family, ready-made with an 18-year-old stepdaughter. He realises that he walked away from a woman at her lowest ebb for no reason. It couldn’t be more awkward for him.

“He’s about to get married to his second wife, who is also deeply insecure about this situation. The story really asks the question, who is innocent in all of this when everyone has been so quick to judge?”

However, Sally isn’t going down without a fight, as Katherine explains: “Sally’s got a tricky relationship with her ex-husband, but she’s still wearing her wedding ring, because he’s the love of her life and always has been.

“I suppose the through-line for her is that she says that everything was taken away from her for no good reason and she wants it back.”

Despite this and other numerous challenges she comes up against, Sally also agrees to help the police with their investigation to find Matty’s real killer and meets with DCI Michael Braithwaite (Shaun Dooley) – a man hiding a heartbreaking family secret of his own who is determined to solve the case.

Katherine concludes: “The show is really about freedom and its importance. For me, what is more important than being free? It’s something that we absolutely take for granted, and yet when it’s gone it’s so hard to claw back.”

Innocent airs Monday to Thursday at 9pm on ITV

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