A new thriller from Apple TV+, Suspicion follows four British nationals as they are investigated for the kidnapping of Leo (Gerran Howell), the son of American businesswoman Katherine Newman (Uma Thurman). With Leo’s kidnapping almost immediately going viral, there’s a large amount of pressure on the joint investigative task force formed by the UK’s National Crime Agency and the FBI. They immediately fix their sights Natalie (Georgina Cambell), Tara (Elizabeth Henstridge), Aadesh (Kunal Nayyar), and Sean (Elyes Gabel), who were all present in the same hotel where Leo was kidnapped for a single night before returning to their homes in the UK.
Within its two episode premiere, Suspicion spends most of its time exploring the interpersonal relationships of three of the suspects: Natalie stresses out over her mother’s financial situation on the morning of her wedding; Aadesh desperately wants to get a better job and escape the need to work with his wife’s family; Tara—who seems to be doing the best out of the three—is balancing a divorce and potential custody battle on top of being a professor at Oxford.
The series also sprinkles in some mystery on the side with Sean, who at a first glance is the only one of the suspects who anyone would immediately point to as being involved in Leo’s kidnapping. Suspicion makes a point to show us that he’s some sort of evasive criminal mastermind, and it’s clear by the second episode that he’s been pulling off shady stuff for a decent amount of time.
While the exploration of each character is no doubt important, the first two episodes do move a bit slowly for a story that is about a high-stakes and high-profile kidnapping. We’re given potential motivations as to why these people may have wanted to do something that could change the direction of their lives, but there’s not a lot there to connect them solidly to Katherine or Leo; when the second episode (of five watched for review) closes out it feels like we haven’t made any headway with these people. Much of the action that happens in the show is tied directly to Sean, and it falls a bit flat because he’s the suspect who we know the least about. (And a barely-seen Katherine hasn’t made much of an impact at all.)
Though the writing has its flaws, the actors carry the show incredibly well. Kunal Nayyar is a standout, given that Aadesh is completely different from his previous and long-running role as Raj on The Big Bang Theory. Here, Nayyar does a wonderful job of showcasing Aadesh’s desperation and displeasure with the life that he’s stuck in, and it’s great to see him in something where he’s able to show off how talented he actually is.
On a more subtle note, the scoring of the show is wonderful, and while there are times where the instrumental music cues may border on cliche, Gilad Benamran does a very good job setting the mood for each scene. In the more subtle moments of stress, there are long, eerie notes that add to the tension.
Suspicion will hopefully pick up the pace in its upcoming episodes, but for now, the eight episode series has a solid start. Even if the whole connections between the suspects and their alleged victim are too murky at the moment, seeing them eventually come together down the line will hopefully be worthwhile. It will be interesting to see more of Katherine as the series progresses as well, not only because she doesn’t play a large part in the opening episodes of the show, but because Uma Thurman is the the most prominent star featured in the series, and one can only assume that Katherine has more to do with Leo’s disappearance than she’s letting on.
At the end of the day, Suspicion has all of the elements that make up a solid show: complex characters, an intriguing mystery, and performances that do a great job of enhancing the story that the writers are trying to tell. Where it falls short is in how it balances itself. Developing the characters is incredibly important, but not when the mystery that the entire plot hinges on crawls forward at a snail’s pace. In all honesty, Suspicion seems like it’s more suited to a binge viewing than having to wait for a new episode week to week, but if you have no problem waiting around for the plot to pick up, it’s worth the watch now.
The first two episodes of Suspicion premiere February 4th on Apple TV+, with subsequent episodes being released weekly.
Kathryn Porter is the TV Intern for Paste Magazine. You can find her @kaechops on Twitter
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