As the series begins, we see a young girl with a doll dancing on a ledge. Seconds later, Jason receives a letter from his father, Kevin (Sam Swainsbury). Jason heads downstairs, where he is greeted with a birthday surprise. After the celebrations die down, Jason’s stepfather, tells his mother, Annie (Rebecca Callard), about the letter. Later that night, Annie performs an investigation online. She watches a video featuring Emma Banville (Helen McCrory), who has helped a potential pedophile escape justice. Annie immediately sends Emma an email discussing Kevin’s case. Emma gets the email and begins researching Kevin. In the morning, Emma wakes up and chats with her refugee house keeper, Miriam Attar.
Emma makes her plans clear, before heading out for the day. She heads to the prison and meets with Annie. Both venture inside for a sit down with Kevin. Initially, Kevin doesn’t seem impressed. However, Emma proves she is smarter than he might believe. Kevin makes it clear that he blames Olivia Greenwood (Wunmi Mosaku) for coercing a confession from him. He explains that she told him everything to say. Nevertheless, he doesn’t seem ready to accept Emma as his solicitor. Before he leaves, he reveals that Olivia told him confessing would make it easier on himself and Jason. After the conversation ends, Emma takes a detour and stares through a chain link fence.
Emma returns to the law office and tells Monty Berman (Allan Corduner) and the team about the case. Monty’s daughter, Maggie (Jemima Rooper), doesn’t seem interested in soiling their name any further. Monty agrees to give Emma a few more days. Dominic (Jonathan Forbes) asks Emma if she is really going to torture herself listening to the PACE tapes. Emma explains that she has to in order to determine whether or not Olivia put words in Kevin’s mouth. Dominic reveals that Olivia is now working counter-terrorism. That night, Emma visits her father at the hospital. It appears that a spy agency of sorts is watching her every move. Emma tells her father that she visited the place where he unraveled. Emma’s mother enters and gives her a hard time. When Emma leaves, she meets with another client in the carpark.
Emma speaks with Hamid in her car. The spy agency gives the go ahead to bump Emma. Emma tells Hamid that his uncle, Yusef, is not making life easy for herself or his wife. Hamid explains that Yusef has gone to Syria to work as a doctor. He promises to get in touch with Yusef and tell him to return home. Later, Emma is pulled over by undercover detectives and harassed. When Emma leaves, she finds that her partner, Steve (John Bishop), is at the pub. She tells Miriam the good news about Yusef. Then, Emma heads to her office and begins listening to the audio tapes. Steve interrupts moments later, before Emma returns to her work. The listening continues throughout the night and into the morning. She finds segments of the tape when she believes Olivia is leading Kevin. She takes the evidence to Dominic and confirms that Kevin was led.
Then, Emma explains she wants access to the police records. Since the lawyers weren’t obligated to keep them, they’re forced to visit the police station that was in charge. Emma and Dominic visit the station and inquire about the Linda Simms murder. The officer in charge gives Emma a hard time after recognizing her. Dominic manages to convince the man to help to some extent. They return to a hotel that night and examine their evidence. Emma explains that they’re looking for anything out of the norm. Emma reveals that the sexual evidence was inconclusive, but Linda was not a virgin at the time of her death. The following day, the couple heads out to the school where Linda’s body was discovered. They enter the workshop, where detectives claim Kevin killed Linda. Then, they look at the location outside where the body was found.
Emma admits it is strange that there are no conifers nearby, yet Linda’s hair contained sand, plant fragments and pine needles. Then, Linda’s parents arrive with a journalist. Charlie Simms (Rick Warden) and his family tell Emma to stop her investigation. Once they manage to escape the Simms, Dominic asks Emma if it worth it. Emma explains that Kevin has already been locked away for 14 years and he deserves justice as well. Emma also reveals she has been trying to adopt. Jason argues with his mother after noticing a new newspaper article about his father. Emma and Steve visit the adoption agency. Everything goes well, except for the newspaper article. Later that night, Steve admits he knows the journalist. He contemplates speaking with Tony Pullings (Alec Newman). At the prison, Kevin is attacked and reminded that he is guilty.
This convinces Kevin to drop his bid for freedom. Annie tells Emma the news the following day. Emma convinces Annie to keep fighting. Then, Emma meets with a forensic experts and learns that the fragments found on Linda’s body were also covered with kerosene. She admits the type of kerosene is commonly used in jet fuel. This leads Emma to believe the body was originally buried near an airfield. Emma looks at a map and pinpoints Crawbury as the most likely location. Emma visits Kevin and pleads with him to not give up. She also promises to get him put into a protective unit. Kevin agrees to accept her help. Next, Kevin is led into the courtroom. The judge admits relying on the old evidence would be dangerous. While he overturns the conviction, he also orders a new trial. Afterwards, Olivia speaks with Emma. Olivia shows her pictures of a half naked Linda.
Olivia believes that Kevin took the pictures. Later that night, Sir Alastair McKinnon (Michael Gambon) calls a colleague, Heather Myles (Robin Weigert), in Washington. Alastair admits he is worried now that Kevin has been released. Heather tells him to be calm and explains she will meet him soon. Kevin is shown at the motel. Crowds gather outside and protest his release.
Fearless started off pretty strong, besides a few hiccups along the way. The concept of a potentially innocent man being locked in prison for 14 years is always intriguing. Plus, you really can’t go wrong with Helen McCrory. In fact, each member of the cast did great in the series opener. The only downside of the episode was the refugee propaganda. It felt like it was thrown in there to tug at heartstrings and it simply got in the way of a really good thriller.
There is a chance the whole Syrian refugee angle will pay off in the long run, but it was nothing more than a distraction here. Let Emma focus on helping Kevin clear his name. That in and of itself will be good enough. As long as the series doesn’t get too politically correct and end up pitting Emma against an entire spy agency, it should be good. The episode scores a 7.5 out of 10.