Criminal Season 2 Review: A Riveting Watch With Kit Harrington And Kunal Nayyar Standing Out

Fingers crossed for Season 3!

If you ever have the fortune (or misfortune) of visiting a British police station, you will be facing some major disappointments if you enter harbouring expectations for the interrogation room to look like a glamorous suite at an elite hotel after watching Criminal Season 2. But if you can keep your imagination in check then this second instalment in the Netflix interrogation drama would be a sin to miss, especially when it manages to churn out exceptional performances (Kit Harington and Kunal Nayyar particularly) while sticking to its usual structure without going stake. 

Criminal Season 1 doled out 12 episodes, three episodes each covering four European countries each. But given the coronavirus pandemic, this time we have to be content with Criminal Season 2 having only 4 episode under its UK iteration. Created by George Kay and Jim Field Smith, the first season of the series was a surprising success even as the entire drama confined itself to one police interrogation room, with just the faces of the suspects changing. 

No one expected for the second instalment to continue to surprise viewers but here we are, with four new suspects played by actors who went way out of their comfort zone to brilliantly play the complex characters in the different cases. 

What remains the same is the cast of detectives– Detective Inspector Natalie Hobbs (Katherine Kelly), Detective Inspector Tony Myerscough (Lee Ingleby), Detective Constable Vanessa Warren (Rochenda Sandell) and Detective Constable Kyle Petit (Shubham Saraf) are all back and ready to get the truth, by hook or by crook. 

While the plot, if looked at too logically is laughably impossible– suspects just giving up and confessing to their crimes in one 45-46 minute interrogation? But just like another Netflix drama that released today, Criminal Season 2 majorly soars by because of its stellar cast. 

Sophie Okonedo, who we saw last saw in Flack, is amazing as the grieving ex-wife of a convicted murderer and so is Sharon Horgan, best recognized for the comedy Catastrophe, as she turns vigilante for the series. 

But it is Kit Harington and Kunal Nayyar who truly stand out with their exceptional performances while the viewer is left trying to find any trace of the beloved characters they played for years. Harington appears in the second episode as an arrogant, narcissistic London-based estate agent Alex who has been accused of sexually assaulting a co-worker. 

The episode itself begins with a seven-minute monologue of him claiming that he is innocent while giving such strong wolf-in-a-sheep’s-skin vibes that not only his soft-hearted and mild-mannered Jon Snow from Game Of Thrones is nowhere in sight, we are totally convinced that he is the culprit. 

Kunal Nayyar is the second reason to watch Criminal Season 2, especially for those who remember as the endearing nerd Rajesh Koothrappali from The Big Bang Theory. He walks into the interrogation room as a convicted felon hardened from the years he has spent in prison and it shows. Here he is Sandeep Singh who is a calculative, cold-blooded man– a transformation that is both chilling and enrapturing. 

Adding to their powerhouse performances is Criminal Season 2 experimenting with itself. It doesn’t just stick to finding the truth but also explores the grey area in between and ask questions that are never addressed in any other crime drama. 

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