Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Collateral: A Complicated Crime

Not a day goes by when someone tells me about a new Netflix original that I must watch. Netflix is churning these things out like there's no tomorrow, and one has to be extremely choosy about the next binge watch because there are only so many hours in the day. However, thanks to my colleague Ron's recommendation, I offer up for your perusal, Collateral, a BBC Two series that is available to us Americans on Netflix. Consisting of a tight four episodes, it is a limited time commitment for maximum entertainment. It's what we crave.

This show must be a conservative Englishman's nightmare because it very much feels like a response to Brexit and the increasingly racist far-right rhetoric sweeping Europe these days. While it starts off as a seemingly simple murder mystery, things quickly escalate to reveal that there is absolutely nothing simple about the murder of a pizza delivery man who turned out be a Syrian refugee illegally living in the United Kingdom. Starring Carey Mulligan as Kip Glaspie, the lead detective in charge of the case, there are a host of characters that get pulled into the unfolding drama, including a vicar, a liberal MP, an MI-5 agent, a single mother with something to hide, and a soldier. Every scene of this show offers up a new twist and a slew of red herrings, and watching Kip make sense of this tangled web is an unceasing pleasure for the 4-hour runtime.

The politics at play are endlessly fascinating as you watch exceedingly conservative characters who think all immigrants are dangerous butt heads with the bleeding heart liberals who want to find a home for every refugee. Written by noted playwright and Oscar-nominated screenwriter David Hare, and directed by S. J. Clarkson, this show is decidedly on the side of the liberals, but it makes its case strongly, highlighting the current plight of British immigrants and those who have fallen through the cracks in an increasingly fractured and privatized system. This is a show that exposes how immigration policy affects everyone from the higher echelons of government to the lowest rungs of society, and makes a plea for all of us to be more empathetic and understanding before we simply dismiss an entire population of people in need.

I can't go into more detail as Collateral is one of those sumptous shows that surprises you with every turn and is so intricately plotted that even giving away one thread would lead to diminished enjoyment of the whole. So settle down on the couch, pull up your Netflix queue, and settle in for four hours of quality British drama with an incredible cast, taut storyline, and magnificent production values. You won't be able to stop. 

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