Netflix’s new crime and mystery release “Unbelievable” is an eye-opening show that everyone needs to watch. In a world where the police are supposed to serve and protect, you would expect them to have your back.
This was not the case for “Unbelievable” protagonist, Marie Adler. The series is based off of a 2015 ProPublica and Marshall Project article titled “An Unbelievable Story of Rape” by Ken Armstrong and T Christian Miller.
The series is set in Lynwood, Washington in 2008, where Marie (Kaitlyn Dever from “Booksmart”) is living in a community of foster kids aged 18 and older. On the first episode, a man breaks into Marie’s home and sexually assaults her. Traumatized, she does what anyone else would do: call the police and report the incident.
After asking Marie to repeat her verbal and written statement multiple times, people close to Marie begin to have some doubts. Voicing their concerns to the police that Marie’s story might have been made up, the detectives bring her in to ask some more questions. However, instead of trying to figure out what really happened, it was more of an interrogation; Marie is coerced into recanting her statement.
The rest of the series goes back and forth between Lynwood in 2008 and Lakewood, Colorado in 2011. In Washington, Marie is dealing with the backlash of making a false rape statement, meanwhile, in Colorado, a series of rape cases with similarities to Marie’s are being investigated. Two detectives of different districts, Karen Duvall (Merritt Wever) and Grace Rasmussen (Toni Collette) team up and set out to stop the raging rapist before he strikes again.
“Watching this show has made me more aware of real-world issues that I knew existed, but because of this show, I see they are not handled the right way,” freshman Kiersten Bowser said. “I think it’s an important show for everyone to watch and really take the information in.”
The series could not have been as successful as it was upon its release without the people behind the scenes. Created and directed by Susannah Grant along with acclaimed directors Lisa Cholodenko (“The Kids Are Alright”) and Michael Dinner (“The Wonder Years”), the show kept up its feminist yet intense tone that emanates a different feeling than other crime shows we’ve seen.
Another reason for all the oncoming success is due to the amazing work of the actors who worked on this piece. Dever plays Marie in a way in which anyone watching could feel the heartbreak and the pain she was going through, while Wever and Collette provide breathtaking performances.
The producers and writers of “Unbelievable,” combined with the performances given by the actors all make for a crime show that nobody saw coming. Director Cholodenko says in an interview with The Credits, “While that first episode is incredibly traumatic, if you know beforehand that you’re going to go on a ride that’s going to pay off, I think there’s a very good reason to stay hooked.”
The different depictions of the police show how the right, and wrong, treatment of a victim can lead to different results. While watching this series, I felt the hopelessness and fear that each of the rape victims felt, especially Marie. It proves to be the nail-biting crime show that is impossible not to binge watch and that the world never knew it needed.