26th Sep2019

‘Criminal’ Review (Netflix)

by Rhys Payne

Stars: Katherine Kelly, Lee Ingleby, Mark Stanley, David Tennant, Rochenda Sandall, Nicholas Pinnock, Shubham Saraf, Lolita Chakrabarti, Kevin Eldon, Hayley Atwell | Created by Jim Field Smith, George Kay


Criminal is Netflix original drama series that follows the police force interrogating suspects on very serious crime trials. Unlike other series, Criminal displays the mental battle that takes place between criminals and the police force which makes for a much more authentic and real viewing experience.

Due to its nature Criminal is a very dark and gritty show and the use of costumes and setting reflect this. Each episode takes place in three locations in the police precinct – all of which are dimly lit and murky which a lot of metal being used as decoration which helps add to the serious nature of the show. Instead of having a dramatised and glamourised setting they decided to use a more serious and real setting which take the audience focus off the background and forces the audience attention to solely be on the exchange between characters. This show creates tension perfectly in a natural way. The creators of the show had clearly thought about the use of silence in dialogue and music to create tension but also each investigation is under the added pressure of being against the clock. There are filmed scenes of just the clocking ticking down with adds excitement but also adds to the tension.

Although this show is technically a crime drama there is very little reference to the crime. The crimes these suspect have supposed committed is discussed but, unlike in the likes of Criminal Minds, you don’t see a crime being committed etc., which again pulls the focus on the mental battle happening in the interview rooms. These conflicts are created in a way so the audience can often see many different sides to the criminals and also the slow breakdown of the character. Each episode is a different suspect with the highlight for me being David Tennant who delivered a very serious and intense character which is a side to him that I personally have never seen him do before. Tenant was very believable as a criminal doctor in this series and I cannot wait to see him playing some more serious characters in the future.

In general, Criminal is a crime series which is more suited for a more mature audience due to the nature of the crimes and the ’type’ of drama it creates. Towards the end of the series we start to learn more about the police characters which I hope is only for one episode. I personally would prefer if we don’t focus of character backstories and traits etc., and instead keep the focus of the interviews. The main problem with this series is the fact that there is only three episodes and while the show was great I wasn’t able to become immersed in this series due to the limited episode number. I sincerely hope Netflix will add more episodes for the first series before making a second series.

*** 3/5

FYI: That rating would rise to a potential of 5 stars if Netflix add more episodes… Criminal is available on Netflix now.


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