The Trial (Il Processo) Season 1 Episode 1 Recap & Review


Who Killed Angelica Petroni?

One of the few genres that somehow manages to feel both wholly fresh and overly familiar, crime dramas have been a staple of the small screen for decades. From Midsomer Murders and Murder She Wrote to the more famous Sherlock Holmes and Poirot, there seems to be no end to the number of these on TV. Of course, because of the sheer amount of depth and options to choose from, it’s progressively harder to find those that really stand the test of time.

Il Processo is an interesting series in that respect. It’s not wholly original and a lot of the usual tropes are here to see but the clever editing and impartial viewpoint make this a fascinating series and one that’s easy to become invested in as you deep dive into the Italian law system. With lots of police and investigative work, numerous different witnesses and a compelling whodunit hook, this may just prove to be another top contender in the streaming platform’s list of International crime series.

After seeing flashes of a murder down by the docks, episode 1 of Il Processo sees us cut to the classroom as we see police prosecutor Elena give a presentation to a class about her job. It’s a solid opening and it’s enough to get a feel for exactly what she does.

Not long after, Andreoli picks her up and together, they drive down to the docks where they find another prosecutor, De Luca. He fills her in on the situation and confirms that a young girl has been pulled from the river and taken away. Her name is Angelica Petroni, a 17 year old. Maurizio and Paola are her parents, who own an electronic shop and it turns out Angelica didn’t return home the night before she died. Her actual whereabouts remain a mystery.

Elena tells the police captain Fabrizio she’s leaving on a one year absence with her husband but before she goes, Fabrizio tasks her with talking to Maurizio about Angelica. Beyond learning that she was a hostess and left on the 3rd March 2018 at 7pm, she doesn’t get a whole lot more information.

In Angelica’s room they do find some pictures and a CD Rom labelled “Demo”. After listening to the band Solutions, Paola arrives in the room and tells them Angelica wanted to find her real parents after she was adopted by them. This inevitably brings her to the Institute, where she learns from the nun that Angelica’s biological Father Stefani gave her up for adoption.

The investigation continues and Elena meets Stefani to get his take on what happened. Angelica went and visited his family, asking why he abandoned her along with a host of other questions. Only, one of these seems to implicate Elena as the biological Mother. Given this issue is now personal, Stefani implores her to take on the case and find who killed Angelica.

The cause of death happens to be an injury to the eye; something pierced through and that’s what killed her. She also has a split lip and was six weeks pregnant. After getting this report from the coroner, Elena heads back to her car in shock and deliberating over what to do next.

Andreoli brings her back to the office though as they get word that Elena was in contact with Claudio Cavalleri, the former leader of Solutions whom she left numerous missed calls for on his phone. However at 7.20pm on the 3rd, they both entered the same cell range which leads Elena to think they may have met.

With the water washing away any trace evidence on the body and SMS transcripts a long way off from being transferred to the police, Elena decides to take the case on and try to close it before heading on leave with her husband.

Meanwhile, Counselor Ruggero arrives to speak to Claudio about the investigation. A slick back and forth between the police station and his home ensues as Ruggero warns that Elena will go in hard on him. It’s here we learn someone was following Elena in a car. After a heated end to this statement, Elena turns her attention to Claudio’s wife Linda to try and corroborate the story. Shutting off the camera they talk plainly, where Linda confirms that Claudio was not actually with her that night.

It turns out someone leaked information to the press about Claudio and Angelica being involved with escorts and as Ruggero races back to Claudio’s house, he finds Claudio dead in the bath, having left a note confirming where he was that night; with the Monaco girls.

As Elena keeps digging, she finds Angelica’s scooter being followed by a car holding a private investigator. Grilling him in the station, she asks just who hired him to follow her. Visibly afraid of his client, she asks again – “who paid you to follow Angelica Petroni?” It turns out that person may be Linda Monaco, which backs up the idea that she was suspicious of Claudio having an affair. Is it enough for her to commit murder though? And who is really guilty here? Just before the interrogation begins, the episode ends.

With an intriguing set-up and lots of unanswered questions, Il Processo gets things off to a great start here, with a smartly written plot and a methodical pacing running throughout. Elena is certainly a likable character and although Ruggero feels a little formulaic in his hot-headed demeanour (clearly a ploy to use as a polar opposite to Elena’s calmness), there’s enough here to really take to the mystery and keep watching to find out what happened to Angelica.

While it seems likely right now that Linda is the one responsible, this doesn’t look like the sort of case that will be resolved in a straight forward fashion. Still, we’ll have to wait and see what happens next but so far, the first episode gets things off to a really impressive start.

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