It's the more insular characters who give weight to this particular story, and all of them happen to be women. Carey Mulligan's Detective Inspector Kip Glaspie, who's assigned to the case, is the story's main focus. She's no-nonsense, but instinctive in the way her male colleagues are not; her sensitivity, though limited, is enough to keep her glued to answers, even if it means sleepless nights. She's also seven months pregnant and a former Olympic pole vaulter, details that may feel incidental, but inform the character's interiority and complexity. Female detective stories are often centered on their lead's anonymity, so it's a welcome change to see a woman who lives beyond the borders of her profession.
We also spend time in the head of our "villain," Sandrine Shaw (Jeany Spark), Asif's murderer who's more than some faceless assassin. She's an Army Captain suffering from intense spells of PTSD, whose fragile emotional state is preyed upon by an illegal immigration ring. The horrors of war are just the beginning for Shaw, who's tormented by her superiors, by her indiscretions, by a loveless family. She's a different kind of killer than we've ever seen, because it's through a different light; much of the pain inflicted on her is by virtue of her sex.