“Scott and Bailey” recap (3.1): Lady detectives, plus lesbians

At the police station, Helen has become much more somber, back to her nervous, tense, deeply upset state. She apologizes for swearing at Rachel and explains she got so pissed last night because of the memories that the interview at the store brought back up, memories she’s been running away from all her life. She then excruciatingly dances around the sexual abuse she and her siblings suffered from at the hands of both of her parents, and then retraces where she was the night of her mother’s death. She recounts a boring evening of her girlfriend making dinner and going to sleep. Which is quickly refuted when they find footage of her in fact being out in their car that night. And now Helen becomes increasingly upset.

The next morning after a night in jail, Helen finally comes out with what she didn’t want to admit: she was out that night picking up a girl she sometimes picks up at a place where you can pick up girls. She always pays her well, she says. Like I said, this isn’t exactly a happy show.

All of these scenes had me unconsciously holding my breath. Helen’s agony is so intensely drawn out on Nicola Walker’s face, her shifty eyes, her trembling chin. They were also stretched out to a brilliant, almost painful pitch, in a way that I believe more impatient American shows never dare to try. Perhaps the most chilling crying I’ve ever seen on TV.