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Review: Il Processo is an Absorbing Courtroom Drama

April 10, 2020
4 min read

Netflix’s new Italian series ‘The Trial’ is an intense courtroom drama that evokes intrigue through its typical who-dun-it premise. However, at the same time, it also weaves a narrative that so deeply feels for its characters and the scenarios they get themselves in, it’s simply hard to take your eyes off it.

At its center, almost all the events of ‘The Trail’ unfold themselves in context with an overarching murder mystery. What adds more heft to this is solid writing, consistent pace, and stylistic musical choices. What further makes its storyline a lot more nuanced are the characters and actors who play them. ‘The Trial’ is certainly not amongst the best offerings of the genre, but it shows golden potential and also takes a small step at highlighting issues that truly matter.

The Trial Plot Summary

The series begins with the introduction of Elena Guerra, a prosecutor who is later asked to investigate the murder of a 17-year-old girl named Angelica. However, it is soon revealed that Elena is going out of her way to solve this case since Angelica is her own biological daughter, who she had abandoned when she was a child. Opposing her is defense attorney Ruggero Barone, who tries to prove that Linda Monaco, the only defendant, is innocent. A hefty courtroom battle ensues between the two. But the deeper they delve into the details of the murder, the more they learn about the blemishes in their own biased justice system.

The Trial Review

‘The Trail’ unfolds its storyline with two parallel narratives. While one serves more like a brief a prologue to Elena’s past, the other focuses more on the murder mystery and the courtroom drama surrounding it. While its main narrative remains pretty linear and revolves around the attorneys steadily building up their respective cases, the relational dynamics and personal memoirs of Elena’s side of the story makes the action in court a lot more pressing and serious. The conclusion, however, comes as no surprise if one is quite familiar with reality: the powerful buy their way out whenever necessary.

As a viewer, you can simply see ‘The Trial’ like a soap opera that intends to explore the depths of crime procedurals. Even in that regard, it is quite credible and manages to translate its content with other western shows of the same genre. Even in its final moments, instead of confining itself to a firm conclusion, it gives a more realistic view of crime-solving by only portraying the imaginative projections of the attorneys and their insights on how the murder unfolded. But apart from this, there’s another aspect of it that you can notice if you empathize with Elena’s character: a tragic yet cathartic journey of a mother who tries to mend the mistakes of her past.

With each episode, the stakes of the case get higher. This either happens because of the involvement of many other players in it or simply because of how the personal lives of the attorneys start melding with it. Speaking of the prosecutors, Vittoria Puccini is just brilliant in her role. She perfectly encapsulates her character’s guilt and struggles to come in terms with her past. On the other hand, Francesco Scianna, who plays the role of the defense attorney, also does a fairly good job and truly shines during his scenes in the courtroom.

The final act of ‘The Trial’ plays a key role in establishing its overall stance as a crime drama. In its closing moments, it could’ve easily fallen into a crushing melodrama if it had solely relied on building up its mystery to a big reveal. Instead, it eventually ends on a rather bittersweet note, revealing that the truth behind the girl’s murder may not exist at all. As lawyers, they can just make sure that they’re on the right path and are serving justice instead of succumbing to their egos or desperation for success.

The only major drawback of ‘The Trial’ is that after its major reveal, it lingers a little too long. It harkens back and forth and even wastes too much time in explaining things. Overall, ‘The Trial’ is nowhere close to being a masterpiece, but its attention to detail and credibility is commendable, making it an absorbing one-time watch.

Read More: Best Crime Dramas on Netflix

Rating: 3/5

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