Dark Angel

Sunday, May 21, at 9pm on ThinkTV16

Joanne Froggatt, who stole the hearts of millions of viewers as Anna on Downton Abbey, stars in a totally different role in this spine-tingling, two-part drama on MASTERPIECE. Dispensing death from the spout of a warm teapot, Froggatt plays the notorious Victorian poisoner Mary Ann Cotton.

Born in North East England in 1832, a child of the coal fields, Mary Ann Cotton grew up in poverty with the dream of escaping the hard life of a miner’s family, a goal she came tantalizingly close to achieving. Her chosen means were her good looks, sexual allure, and the dirty secret of nineteenth-century suspicious deaths: arsenic, which is tasteless and easily disguised in a cup of tea. For authorities, the problem was that arsenic poisoning, if done skillfully, mimicked the symptoms of two of the major public health scourges of the day: typhoid fever and cholera.

Directed by Emmy award-winner Brian Percival (Downton Abbey), written by Golden Globe nominee Gwyneth Hughes (The Girl), and inspired by the book “Mary Ann Cotton: Britain’s First Female Serial Killer” by noted criminologist David Wilson, Dark Angel dramatizes the events that drew a troubled woman ever deeper into a career of casual murder, while her loved ones and friends, who were also her victims, never suspected a thing.