‘Criminal’ is a Netflix gift for all of us who love police thrillers with amazing interrogations. Genre in its purest form that hides behind it a very fun game. ‘Criminal’ are four series in one. Netflix has wanted the same concept to be developed in four different European countries: Spain, United Kingdom, Germany and France. The action of all of them takes place in a visually identical police station. In each chapter an alleged criminal will be interrogated by local police to discover the truth. Four series with the same decoration but with radically different cases and characters.
The concept of ‘Criminal’ is brilliant, it allows us to see the different ways of addressing gender depending on the country. For example, the three Spanish cases are formally very classic, they seem to be the work of Arthur Conand Doyle himself. However, the British mark their own to dive into the most smelly psychological sewers of criminals from the first minute. The best thing is that gender, addressed in one way or another, always works. This series is script and interpretation in its purest form. He has no time for any ornament.
If ‘Criminal’ works, it’s because it has good, well-built stories, the characters are interesting and the actors defend them very well. As there are differences between them, I will briefly talk about each one separately, scoring them so that you know which ones I liked the most, and obviously without doing spoilers. I present them from highest to lowest score
‘CRIMINAL UNITED KINGDOM’ [NOTE: 8.5]
The British handle this genre so well that it seems they invented it. It is true that they are not the best interrogations that a British series has given us (it is not ‘Line of Duty’, far from it), but they are the best of those given by ‘Criminal’. Just watch the first episode, with a wonderful David Tennant, to know that this is not a game and that the drama here is not only felt, but chewed. The first and the third chapter are brutal.
‘CRIMINAL FRANCE’ [NOTE: 8]
It has been a surprise, how well constructed the cases are and how they play with the viewer’s perception, but above all for the good choice of the theme of each case. It deals with everyday aspects such as machismo, terrorism or homophobia. The first episode investigates a survivor of the massacre in the room Bataclan, a woman who lost her boyfriend in the attack but who seems to hide something. I repeat myself, but the first and the third chapter are brutal.
‘CRIMINAL SPAIN’ [NOTE: 7.5]
The least dramatic bet, but no less effective. In Spain we like to spend a little on tiptoe in the drama, not to stain our hands excessively, but also end up telling a rocambolesque case. A little more stone cardboard, yes, but effective. It’s like being in the theater. Carmen Machi is wonderful, as always. Inma Cuesta breaks records to show us her most torn side. The case of Eduard Fernández is the one that has left me the coldest of the three.
‘CRIMINAL GERMANY’ [NOTE: 6]
German cases have been the least powerful of all. Partly because it is the one that neglects the stories of the police themselves, who end up being a great distinction between each of them. And partly because the cases are the simplest, not because the narration is simple but because it doesn’t get the surprising blow that the rest do so well. Despite this, it is well approved, if you see the other three do not leave this one, that way you close the circle as it deserves.