It’s ironic how the plot of Netflix’s new limited series, “Unbelievable,” is actually so believable given the world today.
“Victim blaming,” “slut shaming,” “attention whore” — whatever name it goes by this week, the pattern of not believing and denying the victims of sexual assault has been ingrained into society, enough so that it’s the topic of Netflix’s latest crime drama.
“Unbelievable” depicts the events and handling of a series of rape cases from Washington to Colorado in the early 2000s by different police departments, as well as the gross mistreatment of a victim. From the first scene, this limited series is gripping, raw, emotional and gut-wrenching.
Inspired by true events, it follows Marie Adler (Kaitlyn Dever), a 16-year-old young woman from Washington with a history of abuse, and the aftermath of her brutal rape by an intruder at knifepoint. The series follows Marie as she must relive her experience multiple times in her statements to the authorities in the investigation.
Interwoven with dark and violent scenes of her assault, “Unbelievable” portrays the pain Marie experienced, capturing the horror of her trauma. Nightmares of the event haunt her, leaving her with sleepless nights.
But seeds of doubt cause the two male detectives in charge of her case to not believe her accusations and use intimidation tactics to coax her into confessing that she made it all up. To top it all off, they charge her with false reporting, causing her life to crumble as she loses her job, her apartment and friends, and battles suicidal thoughts.
Meanwhile, in northern Colorado, a series of heinous rapes are committed and two female detectives notice the similarities in the crimes. Detectives Karen Duvall (Merritt Wever) and Grace Rasmussen (Toni Collette) join forces to create a task force dedicated to finding the serial rapist and work to catch him before he strikes again. They demonstrate compassion and respect when interviewing the victims, things Marie was robbed of when she was denied justice.
What this series shows is how hard it can be for a woman to speak up, especially in a toxic environment where she is threatened and told by society that she is shameful.
In the end, the rapist is caught and the victims can begin their journey to healing, but will be scarred for life from the trauma they endured — trauma they will carry forever. Marie has found closure as she demonstrates her strength and courage to carry on.
“Girls make stuff up, you know — there’s status to being a victim” is a line uttered by a young man in the series, reaffirming how society views women who try to come forward.
With the #MeToo movement allowing women the platform to speak up and be heard about their experiences, this series couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. As a victim of sexual assault myself, this narrative is all too familiar. This painfully accurate and powerful series is a must-see.
Women fear speaking out because when others have, they’ve been criticized. Now that is outrageous and truly “unbelievable.”
Rating: 5/5 stars