The three wives of Jorginho Peixoto
Sometimes the butler didn’t do it
Jorginho’s iron will
Taking out the ash
No one was expecting
The secret friend
The next victim -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Out of all the different countries with originals on Netflix, perhaps none are quite so diverse and intriguing as Brazilian offerings. From sci-fi dystopians like 3% to thrillers like Good Morning, Veronica, there’s certainly a lot of variety coming out of South America to whet the appetite. While the quality of these productions can swing wildly, there’s certainly enough originality to check them out.
This time the spotlight falls on Unsuspicious, an Agatha Christie-esque whodunit, combining elements of Spanish original High Seas and Apple TV’s quirky Afterparty. The result is a show that manages to nail a light and vibrant murder mystery tone while simultaneously adding enough twists and turns to keep you watching until the very end.
The story is quite straightforward and wastes no time jumping into the thick of the action. After witnessing the murder of playboy Jorginho Peixoto, a slick bit of editing cuts us back a few days earlier.
Three women receive letters; an invitation to dinner where Jorginho has a big revelation for them all. He’s convinced someone is trying to kill him. And unfortunately, that paranoia becomes a reality several days later. So who’s responsible?
As Detective Nunes enters the fold, stumbling and bumbling his way through the investigation, the attention turns to the large ensemble for the rest of the show’s duration. It’s here, the pace slows down a little as we get to know all the different players.
Among those in attendance are Thyellen and her brother Raul, who have more than a few secrets together. Patricia is certainly no saintly trophy wife either, given she’s been having an affair, while Aquila and her family end up embroiled right in the thick of the action.
In fact, Bete’s daughter Yara ends up teaming up with Nunes several episodes in to try and solve the murder. Oh, and best not discount Washington Rodrigues, Jorginho’s butler, either. He unwittingly ends up along for the ride.
All the usual suspects are here, and the show does a pretty good job fleshing them out and giving each a compelling reason and motive against Jorginho. Understanding how all these puzzle pieces fit together becomes part of the allure, although toward the end of the season, it becomes apparent that the show is dragging its heels a little.
Episodes 6, 7 and 8 in particular go on for far too long and I can’t help but feel a tighter script toward the back-end of this season would have helped immensely to keep the earlier momentum intact.
The humour is going to be quite hit or miss too, depending on your taste. There’s a lot of slapstick and physical humour in here, although there are a couple of well-placed quips and satirical nods to other murder mysteries too.
Some of that can be linked back to the aesthetic, which is suitably vibrant and colourful throughout. The mischievous musical score works wonders to really lighten the mood, while the show never takes itself too seriously.
Unsuspicious is far from perfect though and there are parts of this story that could have been better developed. Raul, for example, is very one-note through much of this story, which I guess is pretty ironic given he’s the musical one of the ensemble.
Likewise, Patricia doesn’t have an awful lot of depth either, which is a shame as her character certainly has an interesting story. However, the other characters do have decent arcs and some deliciously twisted secrets, culminating in an ending that teases there could be more to come in the future.
Even without a second season though, Unsuspicious is a fun and enjoyable murder mystery. With episodes clocking in at 30 minutes a piece, this is an easy series to sit and binge through. If you’re looking for a compelling mystery with twists and turns aplenty, this one’s certainly worth checking out.
Verdict - 7/10