With police forces stretched and opportunist thugs taking advantage, a horrific incident on board a bus in Delhi is the tipping point for the city, throwing India into a state of outrage and shock. Split across 7 episodes, Indian crime drama Delhi Crime does an excellent job building tension while perfectly capturing the mood and feel of a country on the brink of chaos.
After an introduction to our main characters, Delhi Crime begins with two victims brutally attacked and raped. With few leads to go on, DCP Vartika Charturvedi takes the reigns of the investigation and assigns her most trusted officers to the case. Among them, rookie officer Neeti Singh and veteran agent Bhupendra Singh. With the first episode acting as an introduction to Delhi, its city-wide crime and the gang rape itself, the rest of the episodes see the officers pursue what little evidence they have to go one.
As the media grab hold of the incident and stir up a flurry of public outrage aimed at the police, the ministers come under pressure to make sure the police find the men responsible. From here, the final few episodes really turn into a juggling act, as the police try to stave off the angry protesters outside the police station whilst trying to keep their own anger at bay in the face of catching the final culprits. All of this leads to the final episode and an incredibly powerful image to close the series out.
Be warned though, Delhi Crime does not hold back with its explicit content. Some of the descriptions, especially during the episodes where the culprits go into detail over what they did, are sickening and incredibly gruesome. This does work quite well to stir up the emotions though, adding an appalling disgust toward these men and helping to really side with the police.
With 7 episodes each clocking in at over 50 minutes, there are inevitably some slower segments here to counter-act the tense progression of the investigation. These are usually interspersed between the two teams of officers, one on the ground trying to catch the culprits and the others back at the station interviewing the men who are caught. There’s some good characterisation here too and Vartika in particular, with her exasperated, frustrated demeanor, is easy to empathise with and seeing her struggling to juggle both her home and work life adds an extra dimension to her character.
The inevitable slower segments are still absorbing to watch here too and most of that is thanks to the acting which really is fantastic. The interview segments at the police are particular highlights, and between Bhupendra catching two of the culprits out as they’re interviewed in separate rooms or another officer trying to hold back his boiling anger, there are some really nicely worked segments here that help make this such an impressive series.
It is worth noting too that like some other Indian TV shows, the dialogue is spoken through a mix of Hindi and English dialogue. While this isn’t a deal breaker by any means, it’s still worth noting as you do find yourself constantly switching between reading subtitles and watching the English dialogue, sometimes in the same sentence.
Delhi Crime may not reinvent the crime drama wheel but what it does do, it does very well. It takes an important story, retells it with conviction and class whilst showcasing some impressive acting in the process. The later episodes do get quite intense too and some of this is helped by a pulsating electronic soundtrack and consistent lighting throughout. With a wave of crime dramas being released recently, Delhi Crime stands out as one of the most impressive this year, following in the footsteps of Sacred Games and delivering an impressive Indian series well worth checking out.