Criminal Justice Season 2 review: A Hotstar Special Premiere
Criminal Justice’s cast: Pankaj Tripathi, Anupria Goenka, Kirti Kulhari, Deepti Naval, Mita Vashisht, Ashish Vidyarthi, Jisshu Sengupta, Shilpa Shukla
Directed by: Rohan Sippy and Arjun Mukherjee
The fact that the Indian justice system is flawed, and sometimes is even broken maybe a well documented and accepted fact. The lawyers realize it, as do the judges, and as for the people that find themselves within the system, well, movies and shows get made on them. Criminal Justice: Behind Closed Doors season two takes us deeper into that system, and uses a replacement lens to look at it. While season 1 was the remake of The Night Of, this season may be a spin-off of the first, with Madhav Mishra (Pankaj Tripathi), whom we met last season, headlining it.
The show’s plot was just about revealed within the trailer itself, so one wondered what’s getting to happen within the season. But those fears were misplaced. We meet the Chandras, an excellent affluent, happy, and picture-perfect family. Bikram Chandra (Jisshu Sengupta) may be a bleeding-heart liberal lawyer, who makes heart-thumping speeches for the downtrodden in courtrooms. he’s shown to be someone who has it all, including a gorgeous, doting wife Anu, played by Kirti Kulhari, and a 12-year-old daughter who loves doing crosswords. But by the top of the primary episode, we see this picture-perfect family disintegrate as Chandra is seen stabbed with a knife, and Anu is seen roaming the streets during a blood-soaked nightgown. Sure, that’s where our interest is piqued, and that we sit and see, that all’s not what meets the attention.
Enter Madhav Mishra, the favorite, quirky lawyer, who’s roped in to defend Anu, as no other lawyer wished to touch the case with a pole. he’s an equivalent, Madhav Mishra, from season 1, low on resources, equipped with a pointy tongue and quick wit, but will do anything to defend his clients, regardless of how guilty. he’s joined by Nikhat Hussain – Anupria Goenka reprising her role from season 1 – who’s is struggling to seek out work.
If you were expecting a taut, pacy legal thriller, Criminal Justice: Behind Closed Doors isn’t it. Rather it’s an excellent slow burn, where the detailing and therefore the tiny pieces of the puzzle all close slowly and steadily during a gratifying manner. This season takes its time, but it unravels beautifully. Yes, it’s a murder case, but it’s a whydunnit, instead of a whodunit.
Where Criminal Justice Season 2 wins is in using the lens of gender to inform the story. Women and their position within the criminal justice system may be a recurring theme within the show. It’s within the prison that things unfold. From unexpected allies to facing judgment from her inmates, Anu’s journey weaves in several viewpoints. Anu’s journey from her plush apartment in Mumbai to those cramped quarters, where the restroom overflows regularly, and you’ve got to fight for each slice of bread, is well captured and Kulhari’s performance is noteworthy. She speaks less, is fragile, but she soldiers on. That said, wish there was longer given to the backstories of other inmates.
Take note, Criminal Justice 2 is not any Orange is that the New Black, Netflix’s breakout series, though one can see hints of the Australian series Wentworth. But this is often not a show about women in prison. It’s about women and their struggle with and in society to even breathe sometimes. It’s about daily relatable things that ladies face everywhere. It’s a few women who are judged instantly for their actions, while a person can escape with murder. It’s about the notion of patriarchy, and the way often women enable it. It’s about women’s right to be acknowledged during a workplace dominated by men. It’s about women having the proper to chose, or to mention no, to remain or to go away. There’s a nod to sexual consent also, but neither of those issues overwhelms or dominate, all of them blend seamlessly, adding to the complex, layered narrative.
The story is cover for ten months, and while the larger overtone of the show is that of innate seriousness, Madhav and his wife Ratna’s (played by Khushboo Atre) banter does provide ample comic relief. It’s quite a delight to observe Tripathi with mehendi on his hands as he handles briefs and hearings in court. But when is Tripathi not a delight to observe, he has had a stellar run this year.
A stellar ensemble cast, comprising Mita Vashisht, Deepti Naval, Shilpa Shukla, etc. make sure that the ball isn’t dropped performance-wise. Where the series lags are within the length. It could have through with some crisp editing.
Produced by Applause Entertainment, who are riding high on their recent success of Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story, Criminal Justice: Behind Closed Doors maybe a gripping morality tale, to not be missed. A tip: Just twiddling your thumbs, and concentrate, otherwise you might miss some details.