Masterpiece, Dark Angel

Sunday, May 21, at 9 p.m. on Western Reserve PBS

Joanne Froggatt, who stole the hearts of millions of viewers as Anna, the loving and resilient lady’s maid on “Downton Abbey,” stars in a totally different role in this spine-tingling MASTERPIECE drama. Dispensing death from the spout of a warm teapot, Froggatt plays the notorious Victorian poisoner Mary Ann Cotton.

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.

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 19th-century suspicious deaths: arsenic, which is tasteless and easily disguised in a cup of tea.


Watch it on Western Reserve PBS

Joanne Froggatt as Mary Ann Cotton
Western Reserve PBS Feature Program Be More PBS