Review: Criminal UK

When I started Episode 1 of Criminal: UK, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into apart from the fact that David Tennant was in it; I absolutely adore him and would watch anything he is in. Let’s just say, I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

Criminal, currently available to stream in its entirety on Netflix and created by George Kay (Killing Eve) and Jim Field Smith (The Wrong Mans), is a thrilling drama filmed entirely in an interview room that looks at three extremely different cases, and what it means to be a criminal and the different techniques used to get that all-important confession. Spanning across four European countries – The United Kingdom, France, Spain and Germany, each country gets three episodes. While I’ve only watched the UK one, I’m sure the others are just as enticing.

Firstly, Criminal has an outstanding cast. From previously mentioned Tennant, to the unrecognisable Hayley Atwell and Nathalie Baye, each and every actor does an outstanding job of bringing to life the criminal they represent. It’s almost scary and nerve-wracking watching Tennant repeat “no comment” over and over again as he refuses to confess to the rape and murder of his step-daughter. Every single character is fleshed out and made realistic to an almost believable and engaging level that you simply cannot take your eyes off the screen. It’s captivating.

And on that note…the plotlines themselves and the stories behind the criminals are crazily deranged to the point that I had to Google if these were true stories. Sadly, they’re not, so props to the producers for coming up with such hair-raising, edge of your seat plot details.

Yet, despite these praises, this show isn’t perfect. Firstly, I found that the inclusion of a potential romance among the interviewers was unnecessary, and just boring? I just didn’t care and it definitely detached you from the whole purpose of the show. In addition, there’s something kind of repetitive about the show brought about by the contained setting. Although this was an interesting move and did make the show intriguing, by the end of episode 3 I kind of wanted to see the crime scenes and what actually happened to play out in action. Maybe that was just me wanting more, but I kind of got bored by the end of episode 3.

Overall though, the best bit about this show is that it makes you think. Every single episode ends with a cliffhanger, forcing the viewers at home to decide whether he was convicted or not. That, for me, made me frustrated, irritated but downright impressed with the whole show.

For fans who embrace series such as How to Make a Murderer, this is the binge you’ve all been waiting for.

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