Murder at the Cottage Review - Haunting True Crime Series

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Murder at the Cottage: The Search for Justice for Sophie, from Topic Studios, presents the true crime docu-drama surrounding the murder of French TV producer Sophie Toscan du Plantier and the hunt for her killer.

In 1996, two days before Christmas, French TV producer Sophie Toscan du Plantier was brutally murdered at her holiday cottage in Schull, West Cork. The initial episode reenacts the vicious crime and presents key evidence.


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We begin to understand, in this end of the world town that sits on the Atlantic Ocean coastline with a year-round population of 700, someone among them was a murderer. By the end of the first episode the audience is introduced to a suspect that would quickly be narrowed to the only suspect.

We also meet English journalist Ian Bailey, the first reporter on the scene, who oddly had remarkable insight into the crime. As the notoriety of the victim become more widely known, the small town was overrun with reporters from around the Emerald Isle as well as internationally.

During the first days of the investigation Bailey drove a reporter from the Dublin media to the scene of crime, and Sheridan reenacts this from the reporter's notes, and we understand Bailey's knowledge and understanding of the crime and crime scene resonated as someone with inside information.

Throughout the initial episodes we meet Sophie's parents, who explain the horrors of identifying their daughter, and being kept away from her for days as the police continue their investigation.


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The rage of the killer became clear as Sheridan recounts the savage murder. More than simply ensuring she was dead the killer of Sophie Toscan du Plantier savagely murdered her, with an intense anger, and rage, she was bludgeoned twice with cement blocks.

We are also provided forensic evidence which reveals possible DNA under Ms. Toscan du Plantier fingernails, as it was clear she struggles and scratched her assailant. The inside of her home showed no signs of struggle, two wine glasses were freshly washed and sitting upside down on the drainer. No blood was present in her home. The murder clearly took place outside the home, in the location, where the body was found.

Schull, West Cork, Ireland has a tradition that many extremely cold beach towns carry out. On New Year's Day residents gather and participate in the Polar Bear swim. Even with the pall of the murder of the French documentarian settling over the town, and the knowledge that someone, possibly even gathered here, committed the crime the tradition continued.

Sheridan continues to provide layers of information on Ian Bailey; he arrives at the Polar Bear swim with scratches on his hands, he is known to drink at bit too much; he is also known to have a temper especially when he drinks, and he is imposing in stature, at over six foot. At the time we meet him through video of the 1996 Polar Bear swim, he is shown in a long black coat and hat.


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Throughout the episodes we are provided other details of the case; a local resident's nighttime rendezvous with her former lover, puts her driving on the only road leading to the remote cottage, and she believes she sees a man, wearing a long black coat walking on the side of the road against the traffic.

The fight for justice continues even as each year passes. We meet her son, who has grown into a determined young man. He will see justice, for himself and for his family and more for his mother.

For the du Plantier family, in 2019, the key suspect, Ian Bailey, the first journalist on the scene, was found guilty in absentia by the French courts yet was never found guilty in Ireland, owing to a lack of reliable evidence. Having successfully fought repeated extradition requests from the French authorities, Bailey still resides in West Cork and maintains his innocence to this day.

In the true crime docuseries Murder at the Cottage: The Search for Justice for Sophie, Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker Jim Sheridan takes viewers on a journey of the unsolved case that has haunted West Cork for almost 25 years. He pieces together original evidence, never-before-seen footage, and interviews with those closest to the case.

Murder at the Cottage: The Search for Justice for Sophie is an intriguing, haunting and shocking, true crime docu-series. What appears to be solid evidence seems to be to flimsy for the local police to attempt to charge the only suspect.

Did he? Murder at the Cottage: The Search for Justice of Sophie leaves the final verdict up to the viewer.


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Country: Ireland, France.

Runtime: Six episodes/50minutes.

Writer: Jim Sheridan.

Director: Jim Sheridan.

Cast: Jim Sheridan, Sophie Toscan du Plantier, Ian Bailey.

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