Accused Season 1 Review – Fox’s American adaptation is inconsistent but culturally relevant

Season 1

Episode Guide

Episode 1 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 2 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 4 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 5 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 6 -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 7 -| Review Score – 2/5
Episode 8 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 9 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 10 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 11 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 12 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 13 -| Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 14 -| Review Score – 1.5/5
Episode 15 -| Review Score – 3.5/5


When it was announced last year that Fox was developing an American version of the British show “Accused,” there were fears Fox would spoil the ethos of the original. Now that their maiden season has concluded, some of those fears have been realized but similarly, some have also turned into hope for more compelling, hyperlocal television.

Accused’s 15-part season 1 uses an anthology format to make every single episode into a new story. Each of the episodes sport a different cast, setting, and themes, all bound together by one idea: the story behind the “Accused.”

The show features a range of different genres, from drama to thriller to romance, and explores complex themes such as justice, morality, and redemption. One of the more intriguing qualities of the show is its unconventional storytelling style.

Instead of following a traditional courtroom drama format, each episode is structured as a series of flashbacks and flash-forwards, interspersed with scenes from the trial. This non-linear approach to storytelling adds depth and complexity to each character’s story, and keeps the audience guessing about the outcome of the trial until the very end.

There’s a clear pattern to how the show develops within its two halves. Accused surprised everyone with how well the writers grounded the show in American roots in the first half. It features news pieces and stories that we have heard being discussed in mass media like gun shootings in school, acts of violence against trans people, and the recent overturning of Roe vs. Wade. Accused bucks the stereotyped characterization of characters and situations we have seen used to explore these themes before.

The show is able to present nuanced and thought-provoking discussions around these topics and often leaves the audience questioning their own beliefs and biases. Its examination of the American criminal justice system is particularly well-done, as it highlights both its strengths and weaknesses, raising important questions about the role of justice in society.

The moral mesh in the public eye is often formed on the basis of opinions and public discourses about the crime. But Accused interferes with that process to deploy the “hate the crime, not the criminal” trope. In terms of elevating the show’s cinematic appeal, the writers and filmmakers use a number of techniques to make the show visually interesting and engaging.

As mentioned earlier, the show’s non-linear storytelling is one way that the writers keep the audience on their toes and add depth to the storytelling. Additionally, the show’s use of flashbacks, jump cuts, and other editing techniques help to create a sense of urgency and tension, making the audience feel like they are part of the trial.

Due to each episode having its own ensemble cast, the writers give each actor plenty of material to work with, and the actors are able to create fully-realized and complex characters that are both sympathetic and flawed.

One inherent weakness of Accused, which had significant bearing from episode one is its format. Since we know that the stories are centred around one “accused,”, who will be exonerated (only one episode in season 1 is found “guilty” in the final trial) there is stunted excitement. The creative choice to use this format works against the makers by crystallizing the outcomes in the episodes.

On the contrary, one can also argue that the show’s strength lies not in the outcome of the trial, but rather in its exploration of complex themes and its portrayal of the American criminal justice system.

Each episode is less about the verdict and more about the journey the accused person takes to get there. The show delves into the lives of the accused, their families, and those affected by the crime, and explores the moral and ethical implications of their actions. It also raises important questions about the role of punishment and rehabilitation.

However emotionally challenging the moral core of Accused may be, the execution is inconsistent. Some episodes are stronger than others, and there are moments where the show’s writing and pacing can feel contrived or melodramatic. Additionally, the show’s exploration of social and political issues can feel heavy-handed at times, particularly in its treatment of issues such as race and class. There aren’t enough red herrings and twisty turns in some episodes of the season, breaking the narrative momentum.

Overall, Fox has given its American viewers decent food for thought and bucked the trend of generalizing situations and social issues. Accused is mostly passable with moments of brilliance interspersed throughout.

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  • Verdict - 6.5/10

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