Review: I Know Who You Are (S1 E5&6/10), Saturday 29th July, BBC4

This fantastic, helter-skelter series continued with two more episodes tonight, once again taking us down new avenues of enquiry, presenting new suspects and uncovering yet more layers of familial intrigue and hidden character layers. In fact, that seems to be the main theme of this series – identity, and how it shifts and changes after an experience, whether traumatic or not. Make no mistake, the deeper we go into I Know Who You Are, the more we realise that everyone has their secrets. It’s just a case of how well they can suppress them.

NB: Spoilers inside

Juan Elías
The man at the centre of it all – and the man we still aren’t sure is telling the truth or not – took Pol to see Héctor Castro in prison, as requested. There, the old man told Pol that he had euthanised his wife (Pol’s grandmother) because of a debilitating illness and that Alicia had either covered things up and/or twisted the story to bury him. Héctor also told Pol about his mentally-disabled brother in the hospital. Poor Pol – that was a lot to take in. As the younger Castro stormed off to process this new information about his family, Juan Elías took his seat and received some crucial information – Ana had visited the old man two weeks before her disappearance and asked for €100,000 and told him that she needed to clear out, and that she would be leaving from Barcelona airport, with someone else… today. Elsewhere, the family tangles deepened – he told Alicia about the bag near the crime scene, showed her the gun he had hidden and was as honest with her as he’s been for a while. I can’t help but think this might be a bad idea going forward.

Episode five saw Elías take a very risky amnesia test – much to the annoyance of Heredia and Alicia – and Eva sat in with him. (Weirdly, the doctor who initiated the test was British, so we got a few spurts of English language, which took me by surprise.) Of course, there were no flickers of recognition when images of his family and Ana popped up; but there were all kinds of recognition when image of Eva were shown. Cue another epic showdown between Alicia and Eva, but this time Alicia had seen an opportunity to exploit a vulnerable Eva – she’s the only one who Elías remembers, and she’s the one who can draw out the truth.

Alicia Castro
At the end of episode four, we saw Alicia tell Ana Saura’s flatmate, Carla ‘Charry’ Mur, in no uncertain terms to inform the cops that Marc Castro was the father of Ana’s child. We wondered why she would do this. It didn’t take long to understand why: in an opening-episode flashback scene, we saw Ana tell Alicia that Pol was the father of her child. She had wanted to protect her son all along and, with Ana now missing, that need to protect her own had grown stronger. Blanco Portillo’s performance really is great as Alicia – a whip-smart woman, an arch manipulator and someone whose men in her life have repeatedly let her down. There’s not only a withering acceptance that most men are terrible but also constant tension with Alicia – a constant beadyness – and no wonder: she’s always looking out for the worst. Alicia wanted to find out about the gun so she did a few secret tests of her own, and went to a police friend of her’s – a police friend with benefits, no less – to find out more. That Alicia, she’s full of surprises. Her ‘friend’ told her that the gun was used as a murder weapon back in 2003, but had gone missing from the evidence room. The gun’s disappearance had links to Elías’s firm. The intrigue deepened. Could the answer to this mystery be found at Elías’s office?

Eva Durán
Poor Eva. Ever since she coerced Silvia to surreptitiously place a camera inside Elías’s apartment, she was becoming obsessed with her former mentor and lover. Every waking moment saw Eva watch Elías intently and voyeuristically, which was igniting long-buried feelings for him. When Silvia told Alicia about the camera, she, in turn, told Elías – the game was up. He told Eva to come over immediately, and told her about Ana intending to leave Barcelona airport. He wanted her onside because he still trusted her. It felt more than that, though – there was a tangible frisson between them throughout these episodes, and you could tell Eva was wrestling with extreme conflict. She knew it and her colleagues had noticed it. The need to find him innocent was overtaking the need to find him guilty. But she was drawn more and more into the Castro-Elías family web, when Héctor unexpectedly called for her. The old man told Eva that his firm handled the air crash that claimed her parents’ lives. He knew her. He told Eva to give Elías a chance.

Pol Elías Castro
Pol had a rough-old ride tonight – he found out more about his family than he bargained for – but he still had a need to protect his family. When he and Julieta went back to school, an on-site blogger – Santi, Charry’s brother – was causing them hassle by speculating about his dad and Ana, and writing graffiti all over the place. Pol threatened him and then fixed to blackmail him, by showing Carry photographs of her brother sleeping with her girlfriend.   Santi told him that he was turning into his father. Like father like son, eh?

Ricardo Heredia
There was definite tension between Heredia and Elías in these episodes, and no wonder – Susana told Elías that he was planning to embezzle him before the accident. A suspect, perhaps. What was Susana’s game? What is Heredia’s game? You honestly cannot trust anyone in this series – everyone hates each other.

The big man was fairly quiet in episodes five and six, but he was there at the key moments. Eva and her team anonymously tipped him off about Ana and the airport, and sure enough, when he got there Charry was there as her intended travelling partner. But there was no sign of Ana. With more new evidence he was now working from a new angle: that Ana Saura was alive and wanted to disappear. (In al honesty, I’ve always thought that the idea Ana had been murdered was a little premature, so I wouldn’t be surprised if she had engineered an escape. But from what?) In episode six we found out more about Giralt – Dirty David Villa, keen to expunge himself from suspicion as the mole, followed him and ended up at an open counselling session, where Girlat told all assembled about how his partner, Mikel, had shot himself two years previously. He was still struggling with guilt and grief.

In fact, in these two episodes, there were moments in amongst all the madness where things were allowed to breathe; where we saw the full impact of what it means to keep secrets for so long. From a fast-disintegrating Charry to Eva to Giralt. Everyone has a story to tell; everyone has tried to bury their dark side or their grief and their trauma. Yes, there were the fantastic set-pieces, the red herrings and the twist and turns were still there in abundance, but this is so skillfully assembled there was time for the characters to slowly reveal their own backstories and explore their emotions. And this processing of grief and demons led Giralt to a new suspect before the episode was out.

Paul Hirons

For our episodes one and two review go here

For our episodes three and four review go here

For our interview with Aida Folch go here






15 Comments Add yours

  1. Andy D says:

    Sorry to say but I booked out on these two episodes after sticking with it so far. It shares the same level of melodrama as Mar De Plastico (and shares some of the same actors too in the amazing Pedro Casablanc) but at least that was good fun to watch for all it’s faults. Nobody in this show seems likeable or has any redeeming features, and it stretches credulity a little too much to be enjoyable to me. I’ll stick to your great recaps from now on!


    1. Paul Hirons says:

      Thanks Andy. You’re right, of course, it’s extremely melodramatic and ridiculous, and everyone is a nightmare. But I’ve been drawn in and I have no idea how it’ll end!


      1. Andy D says:

        I’ll confess I read on in the Spanish press to see how it ended so maybe I was still a little intrigued too! I’d happily watch a Giralt spin-off though, he deserves his own show. He has a touch of the Gilou from Spiral about him!


      2. Paul Hirons says:

        Yes! That’s a great shout! (no spoilers, please)


  2. Andy D says:



  3. lizzbizz66 says:

    I’m afraid I’m losing it with this one.Way too convulated to be enjoyable.Better in a book when you can look up who people are.


  4. Sara Latham says:

    This almost passed me by, but I tried it on catch up and I was hooked almost from the start! I haven’t watched the final episode yet, so I haven’t read this review….

    I think the fast pace is the main thing; it’s really kept me interested all along. Acting wise, I think the two main leads (Elias and Alicia) are really strong but – for me – it is let down by much weaker (and unconvincing performances) by Eva and David. Eva is really awful (sorry) and far too cutesy to be believable – how would he have fallen for her 8 years ago (was she 12 then??)? and her a lawyer??

    Otherwise, good plot and I’ve really enjoyed it especially as I haven’t watched much in Spanish before…

    However – how very dare you compare Elias to the wonderful Gilou!!!!!!!!!!!!! ;) soon to be back on our screens :D


    1. Andy D says:

      Ha Ha! It was Giralt the sullen detective I was comparing Gilou to – Elias is far too smarmy!


      1. Sara Latham says:

        Oh ha! I didn’t read it properly as I didn’t want to read any spoilers! Yes Elias is a real smarmy bugger, good though :)


  5. Sara Latham says:

    And I have a very soft spot for the lovely Gilou B)


    1. Andy D says:

      Who doesn’t! Although I’m more of a Laure fan ;)


      1. Sara Latham says:

        I can imagine :) Such a great series and cast. I also love Judge Roban and (even though I hate her sometimes) Josephine :)


  6. Sara Latham says:

    I see what you mean about Giralt/Gilou, they both have that sadness about them….I didn’t see it until episode 6.


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