TV Review – Unbelievable

Creators: Susannah Grant, Michael Chabon, Ayelet Waldman

Writer: Ken Armstrong, T. Christian Miller and more…

Starring: Kaitlyn Dever, Toni Collette, Merritt Wever 

Tagline: “Based on True Events No One Believed”

Trivia: This story was presented on a “This American Life” podcast from Feb 2016 titled Anatomy Of Doubt.

If I could give it a 7 out of 5, it would still be less than what it deserves. This is masterpiece of writing and performances.

Unbelievable, seems like your everyday detective-cops show, but nothing can be farther from the truth.

In my opinion, Unbelievable is one of the best feminist crime show I have ever seen. It’s an amazing display of the power of feminine energy and women and the difference it can create, without falling into your typical “look at women being badasses” way that Hollywood often does feminism.

Unbelievable is based on real events (which makes it even more unbelievable). It’s about rape investigation, but before you jump into the conclusion of “Oh, been there…” realize that it’s not about the rape. Yesit contains a central mystery, and yes, a key question coursing beneath is what would motivate a man to potentially become a serial rapist.

But the focus is on the victims of that rapist, how they are treated by an inconsistent criminal justice system, and what a difference it makes when a woman who says she’s been assaulted is not only heard, but also treated with compassion.

This might not be criteria for a unique storytelling, but it certainly feels like one when watching it.

The uniqueness of this show is that it deals with hard and painful events without glossing over the violence of the attacks, and it doesn’t dwell on it either.

Instead Unbelievable shows us flashes of what happened to the women, the way people who suffer from PTSD recall traumatic memories. This is a refreshing treatment to this type of crime.

I loved it that the two detectives (the amazing Toni Collete & Merit Wever) are both married and even though the show is a celebration of feminism not all men in the show are presented as the “bad guys”.

Without making a fuss about it, Unbelievable shows us how feminism is practiced on a daily basis by men and women who share responsibilities and pursue their careers on completely equal footing.

Detective Duvall (Merit Wever) is married and has two daughters, so she’s constantly multitasking: putting away groceries while making calls about potentially related cases, or staying up late to pore over security footage with a dozing child on one side of her and a glass of red wine on the other.

It’s an “I don’t know how she does it” portrait that explains exactly how she does it: by not sleeping much and — this is important — having a husband who works in the same field and also takes care of the kids when she’s pulled away from home, which is often.

The same can be said of Lieutenant Grace Rasmussen (Toni Collette), who eventually teams up with Duvall to track down the rapist. She doesn’t have kids, but she does have a partner who puts supper on the table when she rolls in the door after a long day. In Unbelievable, the men in the investigators’ lives are vital without overwhelming the story.

The performances of both Toni Collet and Merit Wever create fully authentic women who ooze integrity but also have enough insecurities and make enough mistakes to seem like actual human beings instead of stock “good cops.”

Kaitlyn Dever and Danielle Macdonald playing two of the victims are doing an amazing work in portraying different ways of handling such painful event.

Honestly, I could watch all of them act all day today, tomorrow, and throughout a long weekend.

Bottom line – in a world full of “same-same”, this series totally stand out and is worth every minute of watching it and learning how you craft great work.

As I said I would give it a 7 out of 5, but as it does not exist, so in my book it definitely gets 5/5 Stars


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