Honour evaluation: Heart-rending factual drama about the murder of Banaz Mahmod


Anybody who adopted the information final 12 months concerning ITV’s factual drama Honour will know about the added scrutiny screenwriter Gwyneth Hughes is now going through.

The 2-part collection focuses on the real-life police investigation into the dying of Banaz Mahmod, a 20-year-old Iraqi Kurdish girl who was brutally murdered in 2006 in a so-called ‘honour killing’ on the orders of her father and uncle, after she left her abusive husband to be with one other man. Nonetheless, the present attracted controversy earlier than it had even begun filming. 

Banaz’s sister, Payzee Mahmod, criticised the drama final summer time in an interview with the BBC, questioning the present’s give attention to DCI Caroline Goode, the former Scotland Yard detective portrayed by Keeley Hawes, somewhat than Banaz’s story. (Payzee solely advised RadioTimes.com extra not too long ago that she’s now “happy the dialog is being had,” however the debate round Honour has continued.)

A press release by Hughes, by which she described the drama as an “finally… uplifting [story]” resulting from “the sheer heroism and dedication of the cops who hunted down her killers,” was additionally met with criticism

Actor and author Furquan Akhtar tweeted: “It shifts the story from being about [Mahmod] to the white detective who ‘received her justice’. The challenge has a white lead, author and director.”

The opening moments of Honour episode one might not dispel anxieties about the present’s give attention to Goode: the first minute or so is an in depth shot of Keeley Hawes in character as she drives to the police station, chuckling often at the tacky radio programme she’s listening to. 


Keeley Hawes (centre) as DCI Caroline Goode in ITV’s Honour

However the key factor right here is that that is the place Goode’s days begin and finish for us as a viewer: on her technique to – or on her means from – work. Equally to Netflix’s Felony, we by no means see the police staff’s house lives; there are none of these ubiquitous crime drama scenes the place a police detective pours themselves a glass of wine at their kitchen desk whereas half-listening to their associate. Something we do study of the detectives’ private points, we study inside the context of the job, as one other worker would.

When an analyst tearfully publicizes she’s been “binned” by her boyfriend, she says so in the workplace, and even this scrap of personal info is simply revealed as a result of of its context in relation to the case: the analyst in query has been caught sleeping underneath her desk, obsessive about cracking a key piece of info which may ‘save’ Banaz, whom at that stage the staff nonetheless consider to be alive. Goode and her staff are determined to make up for different cops’ failings: Banaz went to the police for assist a number of instances earlier than her dying, even supplying a listing of names. 

Banaz (performed briefly however with nice sensitivity by newcomer Buket Komur) by no means seems on-camera past blurry police tapes performed again in Goode’s workplace – however she is all the time the unseen focus of Goode and her officers in each tightly-wound episodes. 

The one time we see the staff in a social setting is at riverside drinks close to the finish of the second episode, which I felt was a slight misstep – it might have been extra highly effective to see Goode return straight to the workplace following the last court docket scene. 

Whether or not or not Goode needs to be the focus of Honour, Hawes (who additionally produces) nonetheless excels in the position; notably in the last couple of minutes or so of the first episode, which takes her from tearful vulnerability to steely resolve and a loaded stare in the face of Banaz’s assassin. 


Rhianne Barreto as Bekhal in ITV’s Honour

Rhianne Barreto (Amazon’s Hanna) is good as the frank and courageous Bekhal, Banaz’s older sister who finally provides to testify in opposition to her personal father and uncle, forcing her to enter witness safety. Moe Bar-El, who performs Banaz’s real-life boyfriend Rahmat Sulemani, completely captures his quiet devastation.

Nonetheless, there wasn’t sufficient seen of Banaz’s former group, and the sexist, oppressive ambiance alluded to that led to Bekhal operating away earlier than the occasions of in drama. That ambiance is defined to Goode (the viewer’s stand-in) by members or former members of the group, however by no means absolutely witnessed or skilled by the viewer. Every time we meet Banaz’s father or uncle, they’re the variations of themselves that they need the police or jury to see – not the variations that so terrified Banaz and her sister. 

By no means thoughts the incontrovertible fact that we by no means see the police detectives’ personal lives – we by no means see the sufferer’s. Honour would have been a really completely different drama if the viewer had been aware of Banaz’s personal private life and ideas.

The collection ends with a repeat of the grainy police footage, with Banaz trying straight into the eyes of the viewer – however it’s nonetheless the model of herself she presents to the police. She can’t converse in her mom tongue; she by no means expresses her hopes and desires. 

Honour remains to be an excellent drama, however whether or not or not it assuages its critics’ early fears stays to be seen.

Honour airs over two nights on Monday twenty eighth and Tuesday twenty ninth September 2020 at 9pm on ITV. Contact IKWRO Girls’s Rights Organisation for extra info about Honour Based mostly Abuse. 

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