‘The Split’ Review: Life and Love in a Family of Divorce Lawyers

For those who have missed the glory days of CBS’s The Good Wife, the SundanceTV drama (in a co-production with the BBC) The Split is a welcomed replacement. And unlike the 22 episodes of a broadcast series, The Split — which comes from Abi Morgan (The Hour) — runs an economical six parts. Like The Good WifeThe Split deals with both attorneys and families, but unlike Alicia Florrick, Hannah Stern (Nicola Walker) is fully established as a high-powered divorce lawyer when we meet her. She’s the eldest daughter of a family of lawyers, the DeFoes, but recently left the family firm to work alongside a recently divorced former flame, Christie (Barry Atsma), who is still enamored with her. Though Hannah loves her affable husband Nathan (Stephen Mangan), with whom she has three children, you already know that this love triangle will continue to simmer throughout the season.

That’s the thing about The Split — there’s not much about it that’s unexpected. In many ways its a pretty standard procedural, where the cases of the week (more or less) have some metaphorical bearing on the DeFoe women and their lives. For Hannah, it’s reevaluating her marriage in the wake of several emotional revelations, including the return of her father (Anthony Head) who abandoned the family 30 years prior. For her younger sister Nina (Annabel Scholey) it’s realizing the toll that working tirelessly for her mother has taken on her and her personal life, where she prefers dating unavailable men (or clients). Rose (Fiona Button), the youngest sister, is about the get married to the very sweet James (Rudi Dharmalingam), but is having doubts about the institution of marriage altogether. It all culminates, in many ways, with their mother Ruth (Deborah Findlay), who taught them all from a young age that the only person a woman can truly trust is herself.