Pilot -| Review Score – 3/5
Mommy Issues -| Review Score – 3/5
The Big Break -| Review Score – 3/5
The Graduate -| Review Score – 3/5
The Feels -| Review Score – 3/5
Tyson -| Review Score – 3/5
The One That Got Away
Deal or No Deal
Bait and Switch
I Woke Up Like This
Rollin’ with the Homies
It’s Always Been You
There’s a certain stigma that comes with being branded as a CW show. From the continuing decline of the Arrowverse into cheap effects and filler, to under-developed ideas and forgettable stories, CW series are notoriously well-known for failing to live up to expectations.
When In The Dark dropped on the network back in 2019, you’d be forgiven for writing this off as just another casualty case waiting to happen. Thankfully, In The Dark is not like other CW shows. With a compelling murder mystery and some surprisingly good characterization late on, this drama series may be a slow burn but it’s worth sticking with for the long haul. More importantly, it manages to elevate itself above many of the recent shows on the network.
The story revolves around blind alcoholic Murphy. Angry at the world, she sleeps around as a way of dealing with her own past trauma. When Murphy isn’t trying to solve the Tyson mystery, she spends her working life over at Guiding Hope, a school for training guide dogs which Murphy’s parents own.
After saving her from a mugging a year earlier, street kid Tyson is the only one Murphy finds solace and peace with. When he ends up dead in an alleyway, Murphy’s life is turned upside down.
When the police arrive to investigate though, Tyson’s body is nowhere to be seen. Desperate to uncover the truth, Murphy teams up with best friend Jess, police detective Dean and a host of other colourful characters to find out what really happened that night.
Along the way, the investigation twists and turns while running parallel to the usual romance sub-plots you’d expect. With 13 episodes to fill, it’s disappointing then that some of these angles don’t really go anywhere.
Murphy’s colleague at Guiding Hope, Felix, is one such example of this and despite his importance to the story, doesn’t really have much to do. His sub-plot is easily the weakest of the bunch while several other characters, including Jules, only become important when the script calls for it.
This excess fat extends to other aspects of In The Dark too, including several stand-alone episodes that push the investigation aside in favour of character building. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, it also inadvertently loses some of the urgency the mystery would have had with a punchier 8 or 10 episode run-time
As an example of this, one episode late on sees Murphy on the run with her lover Max. Through some pretty contrived circumstances, she finds herself on her own. There’s a good 10 minutes of Murphy wandering through the snow after this until she finally makes it back home. From here until the end of the season, the incident is barely mentioned again.
When the investigation does take centre stage though, In The Dark really shines and allows the writing to come through. There’s a lot of entangled characters wrapped up in this and they all become important to the main narrative.
Late on, the show delivers a lovely little twist surrounding what really happened and who’s responsible. It’ll almost certainly catch you off guard too and does well to reward your patience through some of the slower segments.
Despite some pacing issues and a couple of plot contrivances throughout, the finale closes things out nicely and sets the scene up for an interesting second season ahead. Despite its slow start, In The Dark soon gets back into the groove of things. It’s not perfect, but for a CW show this is actually a pretty good effort.
Verdict - 7/10