For me the first episode was tenuous. Kaitlyn Dever carries a very heavy load in the first hour, portraying a teenager with an incredibly complex background who reports that she's been raped. It isn't until the second hour when Merritt Wever is paired with a reluctant Toni Collette as two detectives who, by coincidence, discover they might be looking for the same very sophisticated rapist.
Merritt Wever can make the answer to a question as simple as "What time is it?" a whole suspenseful soliloquy that rivets the viewer to what's happening as the investigation unfolds. And, Collette matches Wever's intelligence (both as a character and an actor) with a toughness that is absolutely thrilling to watch. Both actors are unusually luminous for this genre.
The entire cast is strong and full of very skilled character actors. At each turn, you're almost as excited at the plot discovery as you are as who's next to join a very large cast.
Expertly filmed and directed, the screenplay's need to bombard us with statistics is saved by the skill of the actors. Really, they're all so good you're willing to listen to anything just to see them on screen.
The isolation of the victims that results as result of the crime is stunningly portrayed, particularly by Dever. Her character's history is one that leads her to feel anything she does is wrong even if all her motives are pure. The resulting helpless of the victims of rape is frightening and a subject that is often neglected.
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