The Law According to Lidia Poet Season 1 Review – A stylish period-drama grounded in modern feminist ideas

Season 1

Episode Guide

Episode 1 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 4/5

It is always a pleasant surprise to find bold ideas reinventing the period-drama genre. Even if it is self-explanatory that those kinds of films and television shows need to be made a certain way, little tweaks can make a huge difference.

For Netflix’s The Law According to Lidia Poet, that task turns into a relishing opportunity to see the past through the prism of the present with the position of women being at its centre. Poet’s larger-than-life personality, brevity, and immense courage are encapsulated in the form of six complex legal cases she solves on her own. The idea of what she represents in history is deeply grounded in modern feminist ideas, giving the show contemporary relevance.

Each episode in the six-part series follows Lidia Poet, Italy’s first female lawyer disbarred by the bar association. Since the court cannot fathom bizarre “female fashion” in their sacrosanct halls, she stays out of, and instead, helps her brother, Enrico, to take up cases and fight for innocent victims. In the background, her unresolved personal issues warrant your attention. She is in between lovers – Andrea and Jacopo – but leans towards the latter. She also struggles with the memory of her father, which arouses angst, regret, and a sense of longing within her.

The plot is more or less central to Lidia Poet’s extraordinary crime-solving abilities, although the narrative also benefits from worthy subplots. At the outset, it must be mentioned that Poet’s characterization as a strong-headed fearless woman is not amiss. But her profile as a detective-like figure running around chasing clues and fighting people is a creative choice to imbue dramatic flair into the storytelling.

Watching her will remind you more of Sherlock than Harvey Spectre. That is not to say her legal acumen does not surface in a scathing fashion from time to time. But it dwarfs in the shadow of the latter, which is perhaps closer in line with the thematic motivations.

Matilda de Angelis is quite breathtaking as Poet. She is truly the lifeblood of the show. Everything flows through her and there are hardly any sequences without her being in the frame. Angelis recreates Poet with a personal dash of style, confidence, and suaveness that makes the idea of a woman like Poet excitable in those tepid times. The actress understands the kind of portrait she needs to create to get the attention of the modern viewer but also places Poet in the realms of our modern sensibilities. Angelis is drop-dead gorgeous as well in the role. Everything about her – hair and makeup, costumes – is compellingly crafted to embellish Poet’s appeal.

The Law According to Lidia Poet moves at a lightning pace. Each episode feels like having the right number of narrative elements, avoiding the possibility that the story may feel weak or inadequate. The crispness in execution flows from the previous creative choice to efficiently map out the plots. It is a great combination that facilitates bingeing the show quite easily. It is one thing to call something binge worthy and another to actually be worthy of it. A lot of the series takes place in darkness. The screen is dimly lit most of the time and the makers use unnatural light to substitute for it. At times, this lack of brightness feels a little tingly.

It does not make the story difficult to follow but takes the bite off to some extent. While the recreation of Turin could have been more adventurous, the setting’s charm fits perfectly in the context of the story. We do not get an extravagant depiction of the city but it never feels out of place. Another impressive achievement of the show is the integration of dogmatic and controversial nuances from the era into the storytelling.

Whether it be homosexuality in the second episode, the belief in the ability of humans to communicate with spirits, or the major concern of the class divide; shades of all those issues are present in the show.

Lidia also feels like a more complete advocate of the law due to her insistence on finding the truth. She is not merely concerned with winning the case for her clients – which always happens by the way of coincidence, except for Margherita in episode 4 – but to make sure the truth prevails to ensure justice. It is unlike Enrico and the other lawyers, who are more professional and unwilling to part with their perception attached to the case.

The Law According to Lidia Poet is an attractive yet somewhat distracted retelling of the titular character’s journey to prove her self-worth to the world. The show is a scathing reminder of how the position of women has evolved in society and how she has gained an equal footing in most regards. This representation of Lidia Poet will inspire many young girls in the four corners of the world to be limitless and fearless in self-expression.

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  • Verdict - 7.5/10

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