Criminal [8/10]

An irresistible binge beckons in the shape of the four Criminal seasons of three episodes each, namely “Criminal: United Kingdom,” “Criminal: Spain,” “Criminal: France,” and “Criminal: Germany.” Each of the twelve episodes is set in the same two rooms, a crime interview room and the onlookers’ room behind a one-way mirror, and each features one or two interviewers quizzing a suspect while the rest of a combined interview team of five or six hovers next door. The only differences between the four locales are a cosmetic one involving different out-of-a-corridor-scenes meant to beckon London, Paris, etc.; and different teams speaking different languages. Each 45-minute episode is an intriguing standalone puzzle and interrogation contest. Each provides a satisfying twist. Each suite of three episodes features intriguing character tussles and engagements within the teams. With such a “built for live theatre” setting, the end result is a dozen fascinating, well-written narratives of suspense and modern relevance. The overall roster of a couple of dozen hero-interrogators is pleasingly diverse and stocked with tremendously effective actors. All in all, the four series make for a 2019 viewing highlight. Spain stands out as the most intense, France is the most startling, Germany sets the most sombre mood, and United Kingdom contains the slickest tension, but watch them all! Admire and enjoy.

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