Face to Face
Faith and Law
Blood and Virtue
Random Access Memory
An Eye For An Eye
Unit 42 is a Belgium police procedural predominantly set around cyber crimes. While this in itself sounds very run-of-the-mill and formulaic, the execution is anything but. Like a well rehearsed song, Unit 42 hits the right notes at the right time, and across the 10 different episodes on offer, this Belgium crime procedural offers enough character development and interesting cases to keep you coming back for more.
The story here predominantly revolves around two central characters who tackle crimes together as part of a larger cyber-crime team. Billie plays the younger hacker girl, complete with a spunky attitude, an alter-ego online and a shady past that comes unraveled as the episodes progress. The polar opposite to this is Sam, a widowed cop still grieving over the loss of his wife and struggling to find a Nanny for his 2 kids while he works. Along with all the usual personal drama you’d expect from a procedural like this, Unit 42’s hook comes from the technological slant on the killings and it’s here where the show stands out.
Whether it be a webcam voyeur working at a tech company, a scientist found dead in a self-driving car or the exciting finale involving a drone and a blackout across the city, Unit 42 is consistent with its tone and manages to maintain a healthy dose of excitement and crime thrills throughout. Some of this is thanks to the way the episodes begin – showcasing a snapshot of the crime itself before cutting forward to see the Unit being given the case and working through them.
There are quiet moments of course, as you’d expect from a show like this, but these are handled well, with a good dose of character development for both Sam and Billie. Some of this is also delivered through the supporting players too, as one episode sees Sam’s colleague accused of murder while another sees Billie’s past come back to haunt her. It’s these moments that really make Unit 42 stand out although the cases themselves are pretty interesting, even if they do follow a similar structure across the series.
While the visual design and general production of the show don’t have anything that really stand out, some of the camera work is a little run-of-the-mill. This doesn’t have the usual Netflix gloss to it, although you can understand that given it’s not an in-house Netflix Original. The general aesthetic feels slightly toned down too so don’t expect a heavily saturated or visually stunning series here as Unit 42 revels in the gritty, griminess of its premise.
Ultimately though, it’s the script writing and character development that make this show so interesting. It’s always difficult to produce a procedural that’ll stand out or even one that’ll stand the test of time but Unit 42 feels like a show released in the right place at the right time. It’s worth sticking with too and if you’re a fan of the crime genre, you can’t go wrong with this one.
Verdict - 7/10