Telling The Truth
Unbelievable’s first episode reminds me a lot of another crime drama mini-series on Netflix, Quicksand. It’s a comparison I made in the full season review too but the shocking manner in which the crime is slowly revealed, along with the cutaways and mystery from the word go, really mirrors the way that mini-series begun too. Beyond that though, the series gets off to a good start, albeit a slow one, as we follow the harrowing journey of Marie from the moment of her reporting the rape through to the vilified ending where she’s made out to be a liar.
We begin episode 1 with a young girl named Marie raped and after relaying her story on to the police officer at the scene, she’s forced to tell that same story again to lead investigators who arrive at the scene of the crime. As she’s taken to the hospital, things aren’t much better there either as the apathetic nurse takes swabs and talks her through what she’s doing. After finishing what she needs to do, she makes Marie sign some papers and sends her home.
As she leaves, the lead investigator, Detective Parker, returns and makes her repeat the story again, going through all the intricate details of what happened that night. It’s here we cut back and forth to the night of the incident, as we see Marie cut her binds and try to remain calm in the face of what’s happened to her. Even after going through all the details with him, he puts a piece of paper infront of her and asks her to fill out the statement in writing .
After returning home, Marie continues to have visions and struggles to fall asleep, while Colleen grapples with the gravity of what’s happened. As she continues to press on the matter, Marie pushes back leading Colleen to worry, given her dismissive behaviour toward everything.
Meanwhile, Judith speaks to Detective Parker about the validity of Marie’s claims, proceeding to divulge information on her tough upbringing and various different foster parents she’s been staying with. Sowing the seeds of doubt early on, Parker follows this up by poking holes in Marie’s statement, as well as one of her friends who assumes that, as Marie was tied up, she used her toe to dial his number. Given the lack of forced entry to her apartment and items found inside the flat, all fingers point to the incident being fabricated.
Calling her in for questioning, Parker and fellow Detective Pruitt tell her they think she made the entire story up and as tears flow down her face, the audio muffles out before she tells them there was no rapist. However, on the statement Marie writes that it was a dream, prompting both men to lose patience and tell her she’s wasting their time. Slamming her fists on the table in frustration, she tells them that maybe she blacked out.
Given the inconsistencies in her story, the police tell her that the only thing they know for sure is that she’s now lied to them 3 times. Eventually, she tells them there wasn’t a rapist, which prompts Becca back home to tell her to go back to the station and redact her last statement. Deciding to follow Becca’s advice, Marie heads back in where Pruitt loses his patience and gives her an ultimatum – take a polygraph test to prove if she’s telling the truth. If she fails it however, shes going to jail.
Deciding the risk is too great; she decides one last time not to and goes along with the story of her making everything up, much to the disgust of everyone she knows and loves back home. Running away from everything, Marie heads up to a bridge in the middle of the night and looks out.
If there’s one thing Unbelievable manages to capture early on, it’s the apathetic way the police handle this case from the get go. It’s rage inducing stuff too and given Marie’s obvious state of shock throughout the episode it’s actually pretty alarming that no one appears to have picked up on this. Still, the episode does well here to keep things engaging and interesting, especially given the solitary narrative woven through this episode. With the door left wide open from here, Unbelievable gets off to a pretty good start.