Your son is charged with murder, would you believe his story?
The TV Mini-Series based on William Landay’s novel of the same name is a riveting thriller, offering a strong storyline and ensemble cast. The plot follows an assistant District Attorney and his family’s journey through court when his 14 year old son is accused of murdering a fellow high school student.
Chris Evans swaps his Captain America Shield for a briefcase, as he plays the doting father and assistant district attorney, Andy Barber. With an impeccable beard, muscular stature, and impressive status in town, he represents the perfect American family man.
Starring opposite as his wife, Laurie, is Michelle Dockery, who’s volatile performance becomes more significant with each episode. Whilst Andy deals with the crisis pragmatically, Dockery encapsulates many of the emotional feelings and unnerving inner thoughts that Laurie is going through as a mother. Dockery adds vulnerability and a raw edge to the series.
Possibly the most captivating performance comes from Jaeden Martell, who plays the accused son, Jacob. Martell is remarkable at subconsciously toying with audiences, offering suggestive glimpses into his character as he unearths the many layers of Jacob. Martell doesn’t shy away from delivering the ever-ranging emotions of a teenager, but posing just enough ambiguity to keep you on your toes throughout.
The series also features an entertaining collection of co-stars. Cherry Jones plays Jacob’s defiant defense attorney, J.K. Simmons is the family’s spine-tingling worst kept secret, and Pablo Schreiber is the adversary the show needs. All of the cast fit seamlessly into their differing roles to provide a compelling watch.
As the show plays out a whodunit narrative, its layers unfold to bring an emotional, thought-provoking story to life, which separates it from your typical crime drama. Though a slow burner, it deals with an array of hard-hitting subjects, from privacy and internet security, to violence and death.
If you can look past the frequent product placement (seriously, there’s iPhones everywhere), what’s also worthy of appreciation is the impressive production, which combines cinematic-worthy visuals, from the on-location aerial shots to the beautiful minimalistic settings. The score also does a wonderful job of accompanying the carefully constructed gloomy atmosphere of the series.
A show well deserving of a watch, with a killer ending that leaves you wishing it was more than a mini-series.