What To Watch This Week: Criminal

What To Watch This Week: Criminal

Criminal – a new Netflix Original with a unique format – is an immersive crime series spanning four territories and 12 suspects. Hailed as the new Line of Duty and described by Netflix as a “stripped-down cat-and-mouse drama”, this brilliantly acted show is a must-watch…
Photography Netflix

What’s the premise?

Within the walls of an interrogation room, investigators across four different countries go up against the clock to charge 12 suspects, each one accused of a grievous crime. Created by George Kay (Killing Eve) and Jim Field Smith (The Wrong Mans), Criminal is split into four mini-series: there are three 45-minute episodes from each of the UK, France, Spain and Germany. Each episode is filmed in the location’s native language, so make sure to switch subtitles on rather than watching the dubbed version you’re automatically presented with. Trust us, this will make for a much more satisfying experience.

The 12 tense episodes are all set in an interrogation suite centred around a sparse room where detectives stare down suspects and spar with legal counsels. From time to time there’s a glimpse behind the vast two-way mirror that looms large in the interrogation suite; or into the police station corridor, where we see detectives grabbing coffee and saying what they can’t say when the interview tape is recording.

The original international format – watch the three British episodes first then move onto the continent – suits a platform like Netflix and the series delivers on its promise of intrigue and nail-biting drama.

Who stars in it?

Away from its unusual format, Criminal really excels in its casting. There’s brilliant acting across the board – the monologues and silent stares across the interrogation table give it the feel of theatre.

The first episode stars David Tennant (Doctor Who, Broadchurch) as Edgar Fallon, a stone-faced doctor accused of sexually abusing and murdering his teenage stepdaughter. We encounter the interrogation at the 23-hour mark, as the investigations team is becoming increasingly desperate to nail him before their 24-hour window is up. Yes, Tennant has the most star pull across the cast, but it’s his character’s storyline and his clipped acting that make this the most impressive episode across the series. It’s a smart way of reeling viewers in.

In the UK series, the tight-knit police unit is led by Detective Inspector Natalie Hobbs (Katherine Kelly of Cheat, The Night Manager and Mr Selfridge). The team is shaken up when Paul, played by a hard-nosed Nicholas Pinnock (Marcella, Fortitude, Top Boy), turns up midway through Fallon’s investigation, ruffling the feathers of up-and-coming investigator Hugo (Mark Stanley from Dark River and Game of Thrones). Shubham Saraf (Bodyguard, Overlord) plays a mysterious newcomer on the team. No one seems to know why he’s there.

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