Keeping Faith is a Welsh drama from the UK. Like Hinterland it was shot twice, once in Welsh and once in English. It’s an 8 part series. Keeping Faith is a tense and suspense filled drama set on the southern coast of Wales. There are minor spoilers ahead.
Eve Myles stars as Faith Howells. She is in almost every scene and carries the emotional weight of the series beautifully. Eve Myles had to learn Welsh for this part, which she commented was the most difficult part of the job. I watched the English version and wouldn’t know if her Welsh was adequate or not, but she did a fine job with English.
Faith and her husband Evan (Bradley Freegard) had a small law firm. Faith was home on maternity leave with her third child. Her husband left for work one Wednesday morning and didn’t make it to work. He couldn’t be found anywhere. His disappearance caused a cascade of events that tested Faith and everyone who knew Evan.
The reality of Evan’s disappearance slowly sinks in with Faith and the people around her including Evan’s parents Tom (Aneirin Hughes) and Marion (Rhian Morgan). Evan’s brother-in-law Terry (Matthew Gravelle) was a cop. Terry married Evan’s sister Bethan (Mali Harries). Faith’s friend Lisa (Catherine Ayers) stood by her side through the painful discoveries after Evan went missing.
In addition to struggling with her husband’s disappearance, Faith had to go back to work as a lawyer to cover the work Evan should have done. The firm originally belonged to Tom, Evan’s father. Cerys Jones (Hannah Daniel) was another lawyer with the firm. The administrative assistant was Delyth (Suzanne Packer). Neither of them knew what happened to Evan.
The first hint for Faith that something was amiss with the business was when Delyth told her she hadn’t been paid. When Faith looked at the firms accounts she found a huge deficit. The more Faith looked into the law firm’s situation and her husband’s secrets, the more an intriguing web of lies and deception came to light.
Faith helped a client named Steve Baldini (Mark Lewis Jones). Baldini was a criminal who wanted to go straight and be allowed to see his daughter. Faith made that happen. The grateful Baldini became more help to Faith in her search for the missing Evan and in uncovering his secrets than the police were.
The officer in charge of the missing persons case was DI Williams (Eiry Thomas). Williams held a grudge against Faith. DI Williams was determined to charge Faith with murder, even though there was no body. She found (or planted) evidence of sorts from a related death.
The series takes place in little over a week. Each day the situation grew more grueling for Faith and her children. More and more secrets and more and more ties to criminals made Evan look guilty of running from a series of crimes. He left Faith holding the bag for a whole lot of problems. She was tested to the limit.
I was totally engaged in the mystery of what happened to Evan and how Faith coped with the barrage of problems she faced in the days after he went missing. Frequent plot twists kept me guessing.
The ending felt a little odd to me, but the last few seconds were meant to be a lead in to the 2nd series, which is in development. The series shows first in Wales, then on the BBC. The 2nd series will likely be released in late 2018, but US released dates are not yet known.
Keeping Faith was created by Matthew Hall. Pip Broughton directed most of the episodes.
Also check out: Hinterland
This is the second Welsh series I’ve watched. Both were excellent. I spotted some actors who played in Hinterland: Hannah Daniel, Aneirin Hughes, and Mali Harries. One of the good things about modern times is how easily good content from all over the world is shared globally. I’m grateful we get to see series like Keeping Faith.
Like Hinterland, Keeping Faith put a premium on minimalism. The score was simply a piano theme most of the time. There were some beautiful ballads used again and again throughout the episodes. I liked the music.
Minimalism became visible because of a lack of people other than the actors. No people on the streets, no people in buildings or around the courthouse and police station. No cars on the roads except the ones the actors drove. No people walking on the beach except the actors. The series felt stripped down to the bare essentials.
There were extras to be seen in a couple of children’s scenes – at the school and at the swimming pool. The children playing Faith’s 9 year old Alys (Demi Letherby) and slightly younger Megan (Lacey Jones) did a very fine job. Three infants were used for the baby Rhodri, who was in as many scenes as the other children and was carried around by almost everyone who helped Faith with the children as she searched for Evan.
The director was fond of close ups, especially of Evan. We only saw bits of him as his secrets unfolded – often just his eyes. A view of the whole Evan was rare, both visually and metaphorically. Other close ups were used as well. Hands, eyes, mouths – it felt intimate in many ways. The intimacy between Faith and her children was warm and loving.
The cliffs, beaches, and green hills of southern Wales in Keeping Faith were a beautiful backdrop for the story.
Keeping Faith is a finely told suspenseful drama. I certainly recommend it. It’s available on Acorn TV. You can catch it on Oxygen or VH1 starting in May 2018. As of today’s date, you have missed the first couple of episodes on those channels, but they might be available on demand.
Have you seen this Welsh series? What did you think of it?
Season 2 news update
The second season of Keeping Faith was announced by BBC One, according to this article in Variety. “Acorn Media Enterprises has come on board to co-produce the second season and has picked all rights to the show in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, as well as home entertainment rights in the U.K. and Southern Ireland. Acorn Media International will handle distribution rights for the series in Australia, New Zealand, UK and Southern Ireland.”