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On the Scene 9/20: Netflix’s ‘Unbelievable’ is just that

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“Unbelievable,” an eight-episode limited series from Netflix, debuted on the streaming service last week.

Following the true story of the Pulitzer Prize-winning article from T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong, the series focuses on the story of Marie (Kaitlyn Dever), an 18-year-old girl from Lynnwood, Washington, who was charged with filing a false claim after being brutally raped in her own home.

A foster child who recently turned 18 and moved out to be on her own, Marie was woken up one night in her apartment by an attacking man, who tied her wrists together using her own shoelaces, gagged her and proceeded to rape her.

When finished he left, leaving no trace of anything behind – not even one hair follicle. Marie eventually was able to free herself and call the police.

Going through the story with the detectives several times over the next week, Marie’s story kept changing repeatedly, while no evidence had surfaced in their investigation. Eventually, the police got Marie to “confess” that she made the entire ordeal up and her case was closed.

Three years later, Detective Karen Duvall (Merritt Wever) began investigating a similar case in the suburbs of Denver, Colorado. Eventually partnering with Detective Grace Rasmussen (Toni Collette), the two women began unraveling a string of serial rapes in the area over the course of the past 15 months.

The series follows the two female detectives on their investigation to put away the rapist and how the cases in Colorado connects with Marie’s in Washington.

One of the best, well-thought out series that I have watched in a while, “Unbelievable” has to be one of Netflix’s best in a while.

Written by Susannah Grant, who is known for writing films like “Erin Brockovich,” “Pocahontas” and “Confirmation,” Grant’s writing of the screenplay from Armstrong’s and Miller’s article should be admired. She takes the long-form feature and turns it into an eight-part story that gets better and better with each hour.

From a directing standpoint, Lisa Cholodenko is one to be praised, as well. She takes you inside the heads of the characters and having the viewer experience their trauma as they relive the horror of each rape over and over. Covering the camera as if a blindfold was over it, you view what each victim viewed as they were attacked.

Dever, who portrays teenage Marie, is excellent in her role. Just trying to be an adult who is on their own, we feel every emotion on Dever’s face from shock, to fear, to angst, to sorrow. She is phenomenal in this role and deserves to be applauded.

Netflix’s “Unbelievable” is available to stream now. To read the Pulitzer Prize-winning article from T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong, follow this link: www.propublica.org/article/false-rape-accusations-an-unbelievable-story.


Ken Downey Jr. is the Managing Editor for Time OFF and Packet Media, LLC. This is a part of his series of weekly columns focusing on arts and entertainment. He can be contacted at kdowney@newspapermediagroup.com.

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