Rotten Tomatoes rating: 94%
Based on true events – which became a Pultizer-winning article – Netflix’s limited series Unbelievable begins with the rape of 18-year-old Marie, which she reports to the police.
Picking apart her story, they find inconsistences, and when confronted with them, Marie admits it could have all been a vivid dream. Later, she said she’d made it up, and faced charges in court for this gross misdemeanour, punishable by up to a year in jail. Marie took a deal, which seemed like the path of least resistance at the time. She just wanted to go home.
A couple of years later, Detective Stacy Galbraith took on a rape case in Colorado. She discussed the details with her husband and fellow cop, and he spotted similarities with another case being investigated. Galbraith got in touch with Detective Edna Hendershot, and purely through this coincidence, a massive manhunt was launched, eventually leading them to a highly organised serial rapist.
Unbelievable has author Michael Chabon (Wonder Boys) as one of its executive producers, and two heavyweight Emmy winners Toni Collette (United States of Tara, Wanderlust) as Detective Grace Rasmussen, and Merritt Wever (Nurse Jackie) as Detective Karen Duvall (names have been changed). Kaitlyn Dever (Booksmart) plays Marie.
Early reviews praise Unbelievable. “Pain Gives Way to Grace in Powerful New Crime Series” says Rolling Stone; AV Club reports the series “tells a powerful, all-too-real story about sexual assault”, adding that the only thing missing from this adaptation of a ProPublica investigation of sexual assault is “any sensationalism”.
The subject matter has never been more topical in South Africa where women – like all over the world – hesitate to report rape, and their credibility is often on trial as much as the guilt of the accused.