Episode 1 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 8 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
On paper, Il Processo has all the ingredients to succeed. A grounded story, a shocking murder and a great hook. With a lot of investigative work, an impartial viewpoint and a fascinating glimpse at the Italian justice system, Il Processo frustratingly squanders any early season promise with a lacklustre and disappointing second half.
While the opening couple of episodes do a great job setting the scene and tone for the series ahead, the rest of the season flits back and forth between baggy sub-plots and melodrama that only serve to reinforce the feeling this should have been a 5-part mini-series.
The story itself revolves around investigator Elena. Called to the scene of a crime, she’s tasked with solving a shocking murder involving 17 year old Angelica who’s found dead in a river with her eye pierced. With all fingers pointing to Linda Monaco whom Angelica had bad blood with during her final night at a party, what follows are two parallel timelines that paint a portrait of what really happened to Angelica on that fateful night.
With Linda Monaco put on the stand for murder, Elena presents a slew of different witnesses that paint a portrait of what happened. On the other side of the fence is equally brilliant defence lawyer Ruggero. After an initial couple of scene-setter episodes, the focus shifts between these two characters throughout the season as we see their alternate takes on the case and both try to resolve it in their favour.
It’s a fascinating concept and this impartial viewpoint is certainly a high-point of the season. Seeing the events of that fateful night unfold in different ways depending on context or different bits of evidence is really interesting and will no doubt keep you watching right the way through to the end. Although the finale is underwhelming, with an open ending and a lack of resolution for some of the key plot points of the season, the journey there does have a few highlights.
Unfortunately these highlights are weighed down by an incessant need to pepper in melodrama, familial issues and a couple of other subplots that don’t really go anywhere. Some of the incredulous plot developments do leave a lot to be desired and the final few scenes leave more questions than answers.
Within the series though are plenty of forbidden romances, a personal connection to Angelica that threatens to upset the whole trial and even a shock witness and box of evidence that show up. For a series that begins so gritty and grounded, these fantastical elements shift the series far closer to mediocrity than it perhaps should.
While Ruggero and Elena are interesting enough characters, Linda Monaco is arguably the best of the bunch, managing to play that uneasy line between victim and culprit perfectly. This is kept up right the way through the show but unfortunately everyone else fails to make much of an impact. There are a few stylistic ticks that help this one stand out too, namely the moments that put Ruggero and Elena at the crime scene as multiple instances of the same scene are re-enacted in different ways, but mostly the drama is shot in a pretty straight forward manner.
For a show that relies so heavily on its story to drive the narrative forward, it’s disappointing to see Il Processo slip up so many times during the second half of its run. While there are some stand out moments here, it’s not enough to hide some of the glaring issues inherent with this series. The story in particular has problems with both pacing and its structure, and the melodramatic focus on Elena’s personal issues does the show no favours during some of the middle portion of episodes.
In a congested genre littered with stand-out hits, Il Processo does not do enough to stand out, extinguishing the bright flame it began with and petering out into a disappointing and underwhelming effort.