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Criminal Justice: Behind Closed Doors review – A thought-provoking courtroom drama

Release Date: 24 Dec 2020

Cinestaan Rating

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Keyur Seta

The makers of the eight-episode Disney+ Hotstar series attempt to break new ground in second season.

The second season of Criminal Justice — like its predecessor, which was released in 2018 — is a crime drama that revolves around a court case. However, the only thing in common between both seasons is the murder weapon. 

While the first season saw cab driver Aditya Sharma (Vikrant Massey) trying to prove his innocence after being falsely accused of murder, its follow-up, directed by Rohan Sippy and Arjun Mukherjee, sees the central character, Anuradha Chandra (Kirti Kulhari) aka Anu, confess to her crime from the get-go. 

Anu is the wife of affluent criminal lawyer Bikram Chandra (Jisshu Sengupta) with whom she has a daughter. Although she has everything as her disposal, Anu is far from happy and is being treated for clinical depression. 

One night, things take a horrific turn when Anu stabs Bikram, much to the shock of their daughter. Bikram is taken to the hospital while Anu owns up but refuses to divulge any details. 

Lawyer Madhav Mishra (Pankaj Tripathi), who has just tied the knot, takes up Anu’s case and later joins forces with advocate Nikhat Hussain (Anupriya Goenka). As the legal eagles proceed with the case, they grow more certain that there is more to their client’s reticence than meets the eye. Meanwhile, the legal fraternity looks askance at the duo for coming to the defence of the self-confessed murderess.

While the first season had a detailed and gut-wrenching depiction of the hellish existence of Indian jailbirds, Anu's time behind bars was mostly skimmed over.

Kulhari has successfully submerged herself in her melancholic character, who appears lost in a world of her own most of the time, while Tripathi effortlessly leaves you in splits due to his character's knack for subtle humour. Mishra's unusual friendship with Hussain comes across as genuine and the actress excels in the supporting role. Khushboo Atre proves her mettle as Tripathi’s wife, which is her first significant role. While Sengupta, Mita Vashisht, Deepti Naval, child actor Adrija Sinha, Ashish Vidyarthi and Shilpa Shukla put their best foot forward, Kalyanee Mulay shines while essaying the role of a tough cop and an emotional wife, a character who's a far cry from the one she played in Nude (2018).

Though the writers let the cat out of the bag at the start of the series itself, this doesn’t cause one to lose interest for the most part. The larger concern is the slow pace that sets in after a few episodes, which makes one look back fondly at the breezy pacing of the first season. Thankfully though, the last two episodes reward your patience. The social commentary about issues faced by women works well and makes the show more than a mere courtroom drama.

Despite the few shortcomings, Criminal Justice: Behind Closed Doors is an interesting and thought-provoking watch.  

Related topics

Disney+ Hotstar

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