The Ugly Truth
Episode 2 of the Spain portion of Criminal is arguably one of the best episodes of the series. With some big reveals and an open ending, the episode does well to move things at a decent pace whilst delivering pressure cooker stuff as always in the interview room.
We begin with Maria arriving to work late, as the interview with Carmen has already begun. The woman, whose younger sister Aurora was found drowned in a bathtub, refuses to give up much information while Maria is brought up to scratch on what’s happened so far.
It turns out Carmen’s Father periodically beat her as Detective Luisa tries to get to the bottom of what happened. It turns out her Father was controlling but beyond that, there’s not much else she’s giving up. After being shown a picture of her dead sister in the bathtub, she looks away and tells them she wants to go home. Maria, however, thinks the girl is lying and has something to hide.
After offering her some water, Luisa continues with the interview where Carmen tells her she heard her sister in the bathroom but didn’t go upstairs as she had something in the oven and had to make lunch otherwise her Father would have been angry. Midway through the interview, as Carmen begins getting agitated, Maria bursts in and takes the reigns of the interview, asking to speak to Carmen alone.
It’s here she finds out from Carmen that her Father hit her and her sister. Her Mother, by comparison, watches TV and sleeps so she’s not much help around the house. She defiantly tells Maria that her sister hasn’t been a burden to her despite doing so much work around the house. As the interview continues, she probes on the topic of her sister before deliberating over Carmen admitting her sister was “almost always” happy. After a long silence, Carmen continues on by saying she doesn’t know anything more.
Given what she’s been through, Maria tells her she wouldn’t be surprised if she did do something stupid. After promising not to tell her Father, Carmen goes on to admit she doesn’t mind going to prison if he does too. It turns out her Father told her to drown her sister in the bathtub and her Mother knew everything. Whispering, Maria asks her why she did it. She replies that her Father said it was the best thing and promises to repeat this infront of a judge. Despite her confession, Maria is not 100% sure that she’s telling the truth.
She heads outside for a momentary break, where she’s reminded that the death of an autistic girl is a very delicate matter by her superiors. Maria is also reminded that she’s reckless by the other detectives and to take her time with this case. Here, she then heads back inside the room again, this time with Rai who happens to have an autistic brother and speaks to her about how he feels sometimes.
Given they can’t charge her Father, Maria goes on to say that unfortunately as she admitted to murder, they can’t charge her parents as they don’t have any proof. Her parents have an alibi – they weren’t home when she killed Aurora leaving Carmen in the firing line. As the ugly truth is revealed, Carmen tells them why she killed her sister – he did it to save her from sexual abuse. After an emotional moment, Maria leaves her in the room and heads outside, where Carmen’s Father is brought in to the station. Maria whispers to Rai in private that they’re going to nail him before the episode abruptly ends.
Despite the surprisingly abrupt ending, Criminal delivers one of its best episodes, chock full of tension and mystery and a pretty dramatic finale to boot. While some of the supporting characters feel a little half-baked in this Spanish themed portion of Criminal, Maria does well to take the reigns of the investigation and deliver some good drama.
Quite what the final episode has in store for us though, remains to be seen.