Unbelievable: Season One (All Episodes)
September 20, 2019 9:19 PM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

The true story of Marie, a teenager who was charged with lying about having been raped, and the two female detectives who followed a twisting path to arrive at the truth.
posted by DirtyOldTown (24 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The first episode is extremely hard to take, even if you're not someone particularly anxious about rape/sexual assault trigger warnings. But it settles down in the second episode to focus on the investigation and aftermath and becomes something really essential.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:21 PM on September 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

even if you're not someone particularly anxious about rape/sexual assault trigger warnings

I'm not anxious about those things at all, and I tapped out about halfway through the first episode. I'll give it another try this weekend, but the tension in that first episode is intense.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:31 PM on September 20, 2019

Screw watching the episode, I found the promos triggering. EVERY TIME I TURNED ON NETFLIX I had to deal with that promo!

Netflix seems to be veering towards triggering shows (13 reasons why...this) That's fine as long as they don't make it the default promo that can't be turned off!
posted by miss-lapin at 10:08 PM on September 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

the first episode is supposed to bother the viewer - and so far, the other episodes are, in many ways, a response to the horror of the first episode, but there's no way for the viewer to know that while watching.

The involvement of Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman is getting very little attention in the articles that I've seen on the show so far, but there is a novelistic sensibility to how the series is constructed and presented. This is not a typical television series, and is much more powerful for that. The viewer keeps thinking that they know where the story is going, but then because it's based on actual events, discovers how powerful the media tropes really do control how we think about thinks like sexual assaults and police investigations and foster care and, and, and...
posted by jkosmicki at 2:54 AM on September 21, 2019 [5 favorites]

This went on my automatic to watch list because of Kaitlyn Dever, and no regrets, though I chose to reread the original article so I can handle the suspense.
posted by cendawanita at 5:20 AM on September 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

That is very well put, jkosmicki.

What Marie goes through is awful and that is a big chunk of what the show is about, but while that includes her rape, it's primarily about the second trauma of the incompetent investigation. What makes the show not just endurable but important is how empathetic, competent, and forcefully moral the second investigation is. It not only gives you hope for Marie's deliverance, it gives you hope that rape investigations can evolve to be better in general.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:22 AM on September 21, 2019 [3 favorites]

EVERY TIME I TURNED ON NETFLIX I had to deal with that promo!

miss-lapin -- I was able to stop the Netflix auto-playing promos by clicking into the 'Test Participation' link in my 'Account' page and selecting 'No' for 'Include me in tests and previews'. This only stops the auto-play on viewing Netflix from my television screen; they still start playing on my computer, but I have them on mute by default, so they're not so intrusive.

I haven't started watching this show yet, though it's in my list, so I'll probably be removing this thread from my Recent Activity until I do. I haven't read the article it's based on yet either, but it should be here: ProPublica - An Unbelievable Story of Rape. (Also there's the book Unbelievable: The Story of Two Detectives' Relentless Search for the Truth, and the This American Life episode Anatomy of Doubt)
posted by oh yeah! at 6:11 AM on September 21, 2019 [3 favorites]

This show is also loaded with talent. Not just the four leads, who are great. (Though special kudos for casting Merritt Weber, who radiates empathy like few other human beings can.)

But even beyond the stars. This is one of those shows probably half of the major speaking roles are cast with character actors that have done notably great but underappreciated work elsewhere or with out of the box choices who knock it out of the park.

I'm talking about Elizabeth Marvel (Homeland), Dale Dickey (My Name Is Earl), Liza Lapira (Super Fun Night), Vanessa Bell Calloway (Shameless), Annaleigh Ashford (Masters of Sex), and comedian/actor Bridget Everett, who is normally known for bawdiness but here shows she's also a terrific dramatic actor.

You get the feeling the casting director has been sitting on a list of unheralded women in the business waiting for the right moment to unleash a sneakily amazing cast.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:06 AM on September 21, 2019 [13 favorites]

Well, I didn't think I'd be watching the whole thing today, but I started this morning and couldn't stop (well, aside for going out for food once). Holy wow that was amazing.
posted by oh yeah! at 4:37 PM on September 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

That's fine as long as they don't make it the default promo that can't be turned off!

I recently found this Mentalfloss list of Netflix hacks to enhance your viewing experience, which was posted May 2018 and focuses on computer-based viewing, but if you are watching from a browser, there are some nifty add-ons and extensions that can control the auto-loading content and viewing suggestions.
posted by filthy light thief at 5:14 PM on September 21, 2019 [3 favorites]

Some of the best acting I have ever seen on television. I loved the subtlety of how Merritt Weaver’s character kind of shifts her persona when she’s with Toni Colette’s. In her own station she’s the toughass (she has to be, as the prominent female detective), but next to another strong female detective she can let her vulnerability show a little more. Seeing a certain actor pop up as a therapist later in the episodes made me scream! (As well as a certain former account man...)

Incredible show.
posted by sallybrown at 8:22 PM on September 21, 2019 [3 favorites]

Autocorrect is hell on Merritt Wever's name. Weaver, Weber.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:01 PM on September 21, 2019

I just want to thank people for their tips regarding the auto promo issue particularly the Mentalfloss link. Thanks so much.
posted by miss-lapin at 1:07 AM on September 22, 2019

As soon as I saw "Ken", I knew he couldn't be "the guy", because I would have recognized his voice, so it detracted from the suspense a bit. The two brothers should really have been played by unknowns for that reason.

This was a hard but worthwhile watch. Really stellar work all across the board. I could hardly bear watching Marie go through everything she did without anyone on her side. I don't know how she didn't utterly break down under the trauma and strain of it all. I wanted to throttle that foster mother of hers. Her examples of Marie's past "bad behaviour" were so damn minor they hardly qualified as misbehaviour at all. She had no business going to the police with her bullshit suspicions and prejudicing them against Marie, and she should have had better sense.

The second victim broke my heart with her determined polite smiles, and awed me with the quick thinking and intelligence she'd shown throughout the attack.

I did enjoy seeing the cop who decided Marie was lying take it in the teeth when he found out he was wrong. The thing was, that cop was an honest and conscientious man. He had genuinely meant to do the right thing -- he just didn't have the training or experience to know that minor inconsistencies are normal in statements given by traumatized rape victims, or to conduct an interview more sensitively and effectively. Better police training would go a long way to keep that sort of thing from happening.
posted by orange swan at 2:13 PM on September 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

I wasn't going to watch all of it today. But then I watched the first episode while eating lunch, and all the chores I got done today were while-watching-tv chores like laundry, rather than my original ambitious agenda for the day.

Really an excellent show, and incredibly well acted and directed. Kaitlyn Dever was just perfect. It was unbelievably hard to watch the first episode, and I cried a lot throughout the series. But I'm so glad I watched, and I'm so glad it's getting such good reviews and that people are talking about it so much. Hopefully it will lead to some more places training their police to be better about these types of cases.

What courage and strength all these women showed - it's heartrending and beautiful all at once.
posted by gemmy at 8:22 PM on September 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

I did enjoy seeing the cop who decided Marie was lying take it in the teeth when he found out he was wrong.

Yeah, I went back and watched that scene again (well, all of the finale minus the courtroom scenes), it was just so satisfying watching the realization dawn of how monumentally wrong he’d been. A lesser production might have felt the need to show us more of the photos, instead of staying on the detectives’ reactions.
posted by oh yeah! at 9:11 AM on September 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

This show would really benefit by episodic posts rather than a whole season post. That said, I unintentionally watched this in one go on a weeknight (already dreading work tomorrow).

The contrast between episode one and two is INTENSE. It's like an empathy switch. I just broke at Amber's recount, after experiencing the horrific injustice of Marie's.

This show is doing something I've never seen before. It's corny, but I felt really held by this. It's rare that I relate to all the characters, so strongly, deeply tied to my gender, and it's not fluffy or sentimental or stereotypically feminine. It's sad that that's even a thing.

There were so many scenes that didn't feel like sets, like when Duvall was spending nights at home researching late. It felt like she lived there, it wasn't cookie-cutter. Also refreshing to see that the rest of the cast were interesting and given depth in very subtle ways.

Loved how everyone's faults were telegraphed quitely. Rasmussen always leaving her cups about, scratching the car, not reading the room despite the impact of her seniority. Duvall's naivete and insecurities in what she suggests to Rasmussen and divulges to her husband. Yet her experience shines through in moments, like at the diner with the lechery patron (contrast with Rasmussen's clumsy attempt at the bar with Massey).

This series was both true horror and daily drama. Really impressive.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:52 PM on September 24, 2019 [6 favorites]

And do I need to even say that I'm grateful that they didn't objectify women and glorify violence at any point whatsoever for a full eight hours? How pitifully fucking rare.
posted by iamkimiam at 4:54 PM on September 24, 2019 [4 favorites]

The second victim broke my heart with her determined polite smiles

Oh my GOD, yes. Her bright smiles and asking Karen how she was and reflexively saying she was fine. My heart cracked.

And when she asked Karen what the note, "Here I am. Send me" meant and Karen explained, I sat up straight. What a lovely little character detail.

The first episode is tough and Kaitlin Deaver is so so so good. It was especially enraging because I didn't see anything in her reaction following the rape that seemed weird or unusual. She was kind of flat and spacey and caught between flashbacks and disassociating. THAT'S PERFECTLY NORMAL. WHAT THE HELL. And the foster mom, I wanted to slap her, though I thought the actress was note perfect.

I'm only about halfway through (I forced myself to be a Responsible Adult and go to bed instead of staying up all night to binge it) and it's so compelling. 10/10, would watch Merritt Wever and Toni Collette do ANYTHING together.
posted by Aquifer at 6:39 AM on September 27, 2019

I had given up on police shows, but I gave this one a chance due to the unique perspective. Wow. I loved this so, so much. Every actress is just utter perfection.
posted by gatorae at 7:58 PM on October 1, 2019

I burned through this show in two days and really loved it. I keep thinking about two lines, when the older rape survivor is confronting the rapist at the sentencing and is talking about all the things she doesn't do anymore and says, "It's made my world very small." And when Marie calls Karen and eventually says, "I can wake up and believe good things are possible." I was in floods of tears.

This show is so so so good.
posted by Aquifer at 7:05 AM on October 2, 2019 [1 favorite]

I had to skip most of the first episode, but have found the rest of the series incredibly cathartic.
posted by ChuraChura at 4:53 PM on October 2, 2019

That was excellent. The contrast between even the patrol cop who talked to Marie and the detectives was so sharp. The contrast between fhe Colorado cops and the Seattle detectives was breathtaking.

The second victim broke my heart with her determined polite smiles

She is the actress who played Dumplin and she's just amazing. The whole cast was excellent, Lisa Lapeira has been in so many great shows but this is maybe the first serious drama I've seen her in. And of course the three leads too.
posted by fshgrl at 12:01 AM on October 11, 2019

the first episode is supposed to bother the viewer - and so far, the other episodes are, in many ways, a response to the horror of the first episode, but there's no way for the viewer to know that while watching.

I stopped halfway through the first episode and came here. I'm glad I did, because I decided to give it another go.

Wow. Brilliant. Acting was superb from all the leads. It was heartbreaking and horrendous what Marie went through. I hope the real Marie is okay.
posted by daybeforetheday at 12:25 AM on January 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

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