Criminal is a 2019 international European television series produced by Netflix. Taking a more psychological way to narrate a police story, the series is set in four different police stations of four different countries (UK, France, Germany and Spain), within the enclosed space of a police interrogation room.
Composed of twelve stories (three for each country), each episode oppose the local small interrogation team to the suspect and their attorney.
The first United Kingdom story is about a doctor (David Tennant) accused of molesting and murdering his stepdaughter.
The second United Kingdom story is about an aggressive suspect (Hayley Atwell) accused of poisoning her sister's boyfriend.
The third United Kingdom story is an attempt to get an immigrant truck driver (Youssef Kerkour) to locate a van full of victims.
The fourth United Kingdom story has the team interview the wife (Sophie Okonedo) of a convicted murderer for details.
The fifth United Kingdom story is about a young businessman (Kit Harington) accused of rape by his colleague.
The sixth United Kingdom story follows the interrogation of an online vigilante (Sharon Horgan) who led an operation to unmask online predators.
The seventh United Kingdom story is about a stoic businessman (Kunal Nayyar), already convicted for murder, being interrogated about another murder.
This series features examples of:
- Actor Allusion: A relatively simple one; Edgar is a doctor. Some people confessed they could not keep a straight face when detectives addressed him as such.
- The Alcoholic:
- Stacey admits she and the victim both liked to drink too much.
- Hugo Duffy turns out to be one.
- Ambiguous Ending: Whether the migrants in "Jay" escaped the truck or were kidnapped is unknown.
- Armour-Piercing Question: Several
- From the first story: "Why does her plaster have little hexagons on it?"
- From the second story: "How long were you sleeping with Roderick?"
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Julia in the second UK season.
- Bittersweet Ending: Alex, from the second season, as the titular suspect is cleared of the rape accusation because his accuser is found to have lied about that, but as he points out, he will never be rid of the suspicion he did do it.
- Bottle Episode: All of them. They take place only within the police station, and the vast majority of the time is spent inside the interrogation box and on the other side of the one-way mirror.
- Chekhov's Gun: Hugo Duffy's coffee mug with the large, obnoxious "H" on it, which he drinks from in every episode and which nobody ever refills.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Kyle Petit. Initially, he seems like a Naïve Newcomer and potentially a source of conflict within the team. He was never a trainee; he was brought in by Natalie to help cover Hugo's alcoholism.
- Christmas Episode: "Stacey". Ends with a sad sarcastic "Merry Christmas".
- Cigarette of Anxiety: The police officers frequently have them when the interrogations get tough.
- Convenient Photograph: Sandeep gets caught for not one, but two other, murders because a murder victim had taken a photograph with him.
- The Ghost: Naturally, every single episode has more than one significant character who never appears onscreen. For instance, Stacey's sister, Mary, who really poisoned Roderick.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Edgar admits he is like this.
- Insistent Terminology: The suspects will frequently give something away about their true motivations by insisting on a certain terminology.
- Minimalist Cast: Although not as minimalist as some examples, the show only ever has the suspect, their lawyers, and the police doing the interrogation.
- Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Edgar in the first story, a pedophile who raped and murdered his stepdaughter.
- Papa Wolf: Paul speaks of things he would do to a person who has abused his daughter. Kind of subverted: he does not even have a daughter, but is manipulating Edgar to pretend to be a Papa Wolf, too, and to say something at last.
- Punk in the Trunk: Injured but alive, Edgar's stepdaughter was transported like this.
- The Quiet One: Paul Ottager rarely talks, which means that when he does, everyone listens.
- Scary Black Man:
- Ottager frequently plays this role in interviews, but he doesn't fully fulfil it in regular life.
- Roderick in "Stacey" allegedly abused Mary, Stacey's sister.
- Shout-Out: Theoretically, Jay's lorry could have been loaded with furniture, stationary or "My Little Ponies".
- Sleeping Their Way to the Top: Edgar claims that his stepdaughter is not a good netball player, but is in the team because of the relationship with her coach.
- Taking the Heat: What Stacey is trying to do.
- Wham Shot: In "Jay" (the third episode), Ottager's reaction when he sniffs Hugo's flask, which indicates that Hugo really is an alcoholic and he's ruined the interrogation.
The first France story is about a woman (Sara Giraudeau) who present herself as a survivor of the Bataclan terrorist attack. Suspected to never have been there, she is accused of having defrauded the governmental victim assistance fund.
The second France story is about a middle-aged business woman (Nathalie Baye), CEO of a building company accused of killing one of her employees.
The third France story is about a man (Jeremie Renier) suspected of killing another man in an anti-gay hate crime in the Marais neighborhood.
- Bittersweet Ending: All the stories.
The first German story is about a rich CEO of a building company from West Berlin accused of killing a East Germany neighbor and employee in the early 90s after the Wall fell.
The second German story is about German young businessman of Arab origins accused of domestic violence and attempted murder of his wife, followed into the interrogation room by a suspiciously behaving lawyer.
The third German story is an attempt to get the widow and accomplice of a deceased Serial Killer to reveal the location of their very first victim's remains so that the girl's dying mother can die knowing her daughter will be laid to rest.
- Downer Ending: Ylmaz, the second German episode, ends with the title character blackmailed to get back with his abusive spouse with the promise of parental rights, and mostly to avoid his wife abuses their son as well.
The first Spain story is about a middle-aged woman accused of covering for her brother's murder of her one-night-stand.
The second Spain story is about a teenager with mental issues accused of her autistic younger sister's murder.
The third Spain story is about a drug lord, and how the main female detective must decide between orders from her superiors and the fact that the man orphaned her nephew, who she's taking care of.