What I'm Watching: Unbelievable

A police procedural about a Washington/Colorado area rapist, adapted from an NPR piece. I'll say up front I watched this in a couple sittings, it kept my attention mostly, but also I didn't like it and it's not entirely worth watching.

What's mostly unbelievable are the caricatures. This show may be proof that artificial intelligence or aliens are here: Nothing Human would be able to write something this in-Human and artificial. As a case it's interesting; as writing it's bizarre.

First ep, the unbelieved victim is cute but fragile-looking, and so turns out to be a complete flake. First with poor recall of a traumatic event, then folding under hostile interrogation. The fucking pigs who take her statement and harass her into recanting are the worst kind of obnoxious honkie state-sanctioned gun-thugs, rather than any kind of police; they have no personalities or lives beyond this. Her ex foster parents are treacherous, the affectless, sociopathic stepmom slanders her to the pigs, the foster dad is played by Brent Sexton, the traitor sheriff from Justified, scumbag ex-LAPD (making him a double scumbag) in Bosch, one of my favorite heavy thugs in anything he plays, here he's almost normal just being a rotten unsupportive asshole. "It's nothing personal" he says calmly shooing off a foster daughter clearly in a distressed panic.

Second ep, the perfect victim is inhumanly steady (massively, morbidly overweight, but nobody ever brings it up), talked to the rapist and got a full description and some personal info. The nice cop on this case is a woman, and cares, and uses good psychology and is diligent in her investigation, never interrogates… Much of the ep is the nice cop's personal life. Just impossibly smart for a cop, and sweet within limits, total Mary Sue.

Third ep, tough bitch cop in Colorado can't accept help or "no", can't apologize, and acts like Dirty Harry on a bad hair day. Another victim with the same MO, this time a fairly unhelpful middle-aged black woman, but maybe the first non-caricature person? The mathematician friend of the steady victim is an unbelievable asshole machine-person, because of course that's a mathematician caricature. Flake victim from first ep is being harassed online now, apparently unaware you can turn off a phone and don't need to let people post on your badly-TV-whitewashed Facebook page; or even have one. But the caricature is that online harassment can't be escaped, so this show leans 200% into it destroying her already shitty life. Her nice not-quite-boyfriend is friendly and nonthreatening but of course that's because he's religious, not because he's got a personality.

Fourth ep, they've finally gone to the Feebies for help. I had a weird reaction to Agent Billy Taggart's name; turns out it's the same as Marky Wahlberg's dirty cop in Broken City (a bad but not unwatchable drama), probably no relation but weird coincidence. Additional coincidence, slight "what?" reaction every time I hear it, flake girl's PD lawyer is Mr Hughes. Finally another non-caricature appears, a college student I thought at first might be a rape victim as well, with as nervous as he was, but instead ratted out a college campus rapist, who is the very picture of a douchebro campus rapist, zero effort.

Eps 5-7 are straight police procedural, interrupted by flake girl repelling everyone she knows, and telling a therapist about surviving in zombie shows. Nice cop and Dirty Grace finally catch the rapist, have some character development at long last; not a lot, but they're less walking outlines now. There's a lot of "all cops are wifebeaters" and "men have no idea that rape is traumatic and urgent" which came directly from a very special episode of Law & Order: SVU. Otherwise the show finally found its stride, something it's good at.

Ep 8 finally they discover flake girl was telling the truth, the fucking pig has to face his fuckup and torture of the girl. Which I don't believe, from the zero character development he ever got, that he's capable of; a real fucking pig would fight evidence kicking and screaming. Court goes perfectly and takes no time, which is impossible. Perp says he "knows he can't be out there and was never going to stop", which is not what convicted rapists usually say. Then flake girl gets everything she wants and buys a very unsafe car and has a series of fantasy closure moments.

I almost hate this. When there's procedural, it's good; when it's robotically repeating trite lines from paper-thin characters, it's the worst shitshow on streaming. Nobody involved in writing or directing this is a Human, or has ever met a Human, or even heard recordings of Humans speaking.

★½☆☆☆

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