Follow TV Tropes


Series / Delhi Crime

Go To
"This crime is not just heinous. It's insanity."
DCP Vartika Chaturvedi

Delhi Crime is a Netflix anthology series created by Richie Mehta (Amal), that dramatizes a real, different crime investigation in India's capital per season.

The first season, based on the infamous 2012 Munirka gang-rape case, was released in 2019. The series has been renewed for a second season that will depict a different case but feature the same cast. It is unknown what case it will be or if the cast will play the same characters.


The first season provides examples of:

    open/close all folders 
  • 20 Minutes into the Past: Released in 2019, set in 2012.
  • A Father to His Men: Deconstructed with Vinod. He is caring and understanding to his poorly paid, poorly trained, and very overworked men - yet this is built into his general characterization as an incompetent commander (though it also helps give him Hidden Depths).
  • Arranged Marriage: One of the lead detectives is looking up potential husbands for his daughter.
  • Attention Whore/It's All About Me: The victim's boyfriend is annoyed by news broadcasts ignoring him and concentrating on her, even though she has it millions of times worse than him and will most likely die. He negotiates to appear on TV telling his side of the story twice before a week passes and cancels each only because of pressures from Vartika, even though he is told repeatedly that his TV appearance could derail the case and let the aggressors go unpunished. The credits reveal that he eventually had his interview, just a week after the woman died from her injuries.
  • The Baby of the Bunch: Neeti has just been a police officer for two weeks when she is assigned to the case and has almost the same age as the victim. Sonu is an evil version, as he is the only member of the rape gang that is under 18.
  • Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop: Deconstructed. There are several and severe problems with the Delhi Police department, but all of them come from being severely understaffed and overworked, with poor pay, poor means, and poor training. Every officer we see in the series, from any rank, wants to help and do his job at heart. And the Strawman News Media and the "concerned" politicians only make things worse by attacking them and forcing them to undergo ill-timed investigations for their own gain, instead of just giving them the time and means to do their job.
  • Bad Samaritan: The attack involves two levels of this:
    • Akash and Deepika take a bus home at the station, but the bus is not covering any route, just a trap to rob anyone who boards it.
    • The first to attack is an apparent passenger, Jai. Deepika cries for help to the driver, Amar, unaware that they are Siblings in Crime. They then take turns at the wheel to rape her. In fact, Jai was the one who worked as a driver during the day, and switched seats with his brother during their crimes.
  • Based on a True Story: Advertized as based on the Delhi Police files concerning the investigation of the real case.
  • Big Brother Bully: The pack of rapists includes two brothers. The older brother, Jai Singh, is the leader of the gang and a sadistic pychopath. The younger brother excuses himself by claiming that "nobody says no to Jai".
  • Beleaguered Assistant: Vartika slides into this when her superior ropes her into dealing with the media and his own superiors, who want to use the case to remove him.
  • Beleaguered Bureaucrat: The amount of hoops Vartika has to jump through is astronomical. From workplace sexism to general incompetence, bosses who are more interested in covering their asses than getting anything done, and a police office so badly budgeted that their power gets cut off.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Jai Singh seems polite and clueless about any crime until the cat is out of the bag. Then he drops the act, puts on a terrifying expression and owns all his crimes, seemingly proud of them.
  • Bittersweet Ending: All the perpetrators are caught and sentenced to death, but Deepika succumbs to her injuries and the leader of the rapists, Jai Singh, takes the coward's way and kills himself in prison.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Vartika has a rebellious daughter, Chandni, who wants to leave India because she doesn't feel safe in the country, and attends demonstrations clamoring against the Delhi Police (which includes her mother).
  • By-the-Book Cop: Both Vartika and Neeti insist that everyone must follow the rules.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Pretty much any officer in any level of commanding position is subjected to this, including Vartika, her superior Vijay, and her immediate inferior, Vinod.
  • Closer to Earth: Time and time again, the women come across as more pragmatic, empathetic, and caring about the rules than the men, be it police or civilians.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The most common profanity is chutiya (among both Hindi and English speakers), but Vartika lets out the occasional "asshole", and a massive "FUUUUUUUCK" when she hears that Akash is off to give a TV interview.
  • Coincidental Broadcast: Happens at least once, but it is generally downplayed. Usually the character will be waiting for the broadcast or get a call and then put on the TV to watch in, rather than just appearing by coincidence.
  • Consummate Liar: Jai Singh keeps his cool as he lies about his whereabouts during the night of the rape and pretends to know nothing about it. This makes Vartika think that he's done the same before.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Chandni wants to study in Canada because she thinks India is dangerous for women. Vartika is against. Chandni agrees to her mother's proposal to do a tour of the city and see that it's not that bad and still has much good to offer. The next night, the brutal gang-rape occurs.
  • Corrupt Politician: An additional problem for the investigators is people pestering them because they want a scapegoat to blame for the crime, actually making solving the crime even harder.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: Brajesh uses his own blood to write "forgive me mom" on the wall of his cell when he tries to kill himself.
  • Cruel Mercy: The attackers throw their victims alive from the bus, but it is a Hope Spot: they want to kill them by driving the bus over them. Fortunately, Akash is just Playing Possum and can roll himself and Deepika out of its path. Unfortunately, this only brings Deepika a few agonizing days and the knowledge that her murder won't go unpunished.
  • Culture Clash: Three Delhi cops go to rural Bihar in search of a suspect. While in there, the local Buddhist commander tries to honor them by sacrificing a rooster and serving it to them, which troubles the leader of the Delhites deeply because he is a devoted Hindu and doesn't eat meat. A fight almost breaks out, but the leader manages to diffuse it by convincing the commander that he will fulfill his duty to honor his guests by releasing the rooster.
  • Da Chief: Vartika fits the role to a T.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance:
    • One of the lead detectives is essentially shopping husbands for his daughter. Nobody considers it worth a comment.
    • When Deepika regains consciousness, her first reaction is to ask the police not to tell her father.
    • Several male cops criticize Akash and suspect him because they think that he should have fought harder to protect Deepika, even though he was against six and it would have just gotten him killed. When it is revealed that Jai went ballistic at the sight of Akash being cuddly with Deepika, they buy his point and blame him for "bringing her to their lives" and then endangering her.
    • The entire police department works on quid pro quo. When someone needs something to advance in the case, they'll call someone and ask for counsel or support as a favor, instead of just saying they have to do it because it is their job. All it takes is someone who can't be overruled deciding to not help and the investigations will fall apart.
    • During Jai Singh's nightmarish confession, he justifies himself by saying that combative women who let their boyfriends cuddle them in public like Deepika are "what is ruining the country". Not psychopathic highwaymen-rapists-torturers-mutilators-attempted murderers like himself. This is rejected by everyone else, however.
    • A suspect manages to escape Police, but is convinced to come back after yelling at him how much shame he will bring to his family.
    • No suspect is ever handcuffed. They are moved around by (male) cops holding their hands tightly.
    • Legally, a suspect can deny requests to be seen by a witness for identification, and doesn't need to justify it.
  • Designated Girl Fight:
    • Chandni attacks a girl at school for saying that her mother is a terrible investigator.
    • Subverted at the demonstration before the India Gate, where it looks like Neeti (one of the riot officers) will come across Chandni (one of the demonstrators), but they never get close enough.
  • Detective Drama: Shows the investigators tryig to crack the case and how it impacts their lives at home.
  • Dirty Communists: The area Alok flees to is threatened by Naxalite insurgents (Indian Marxist-Leninists).
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • According to Jai's chilling confession, they were only going to rob the couple before they started making out in public. He attacked Akash, Deepika defended him, so he raped her anally and vaginally and had his pals take turns to rape her too, she bit him and another so they bit her multiple times all over her body, then raped her anally and vaginally with an iron bar, tried to eviscerate her with his own hands, then threw the couple from the moving bus and tried to run them over with the bus.
    • A man leads the police to a Sonu in his 60s because he humiliated him once in the presence of the girl he liked.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Alok's wife gives him to the police for leaving her alone with his parents to go to Delhi.
  • Driven to Suicide: Two perps try to slash their wrists while in jail and one cries that his mother must have killed herself after hearing the news. Jai later succeeds in hanging himself while in prison.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Vinod trying to get the case off his station by involving another jurisdiction, Neeti not buying a driver's claim that he is just carrying schoolbooks and ignoring his attempt to bribe her.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas:
    • Amar flees to his mother's home in Rajasthan. He almost evades Police but is convinced to surrender after being told of how much shame he will bring to her.
    • Brajesh freaks out and cries from thinking that his mother must have killed herself after hearing news of his arrest. He only composes himself when a policewoman calls her and lets him hear her voice. When he tries to kill himself, he writes "forgive me mom" on the wall with his own blood.
  • Evil All Along:
    • Jai acts polite and confused until the police produce evidence that he is lying and was on the bus during the attack. His mood changes completely and retells the attack in detail. With pride.
    • Downplayed with Akash. The cops suspect that he is hiding something, then have their suspicions confirmed when they find that he was cheating on his real girlfriend with Deepika, and that he's been sued 20 times for unspecified reasons. He also tries to sell his story to the TV repeatedly despite being told that it will ruin the case against the perpetrators.
  • Evil Cripple: Jai has a damaged arm from an old driving accident.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Vartika comments that Deepika would have been luckier if she was killed right away.
  • Foreign Cuss Word: Many characters use Hindi profanity while speaking English and vice versa.
  • Forever War: The Naxalite insurgency in eastern India, which has been going on in some way since 1967.
  • For Want of a Nail: Akash and Deepika wanted to return home in a rickshaw, but the driver would only take them to the bus station.
  • Freudian Excuse: Amar claims that Jai changed when his wife died, becoming very angry at couples showing affection in public. However, he also implies that he was violent and didn't tolerate dissension before.

  • Gory Discretion Shot: No gore needed. The description alone will turn up the stomach of most people.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: There is about as much Engish spoken as Hindi, with the English often littered with Hindi words (mostly profanity) and the Hindi with English words (or, Hindi words of English origin that sound exactly like the English ones). Not surprising given the history of India as a British colony.
  • Groin Attack: The unbelievably over the top rape includes shoving an iron bar up Deepika's vagina repeatedly until her uterus and intestines are torn, then trying to extract her uterus by hand. But by this point the uterus has been so destoryed that it is actually part of Deepika's intestine that is pulled out of her vagina.
  • Hated by All:
    • The Delhi Police department, broadly perceived as uncaring and corrupt, and Indian law enforcement in general due in part to a recent increase in gang rape cases. One of the agents even hides his profession when discussing the marriage prospects of his daughter, because well-off families will rather not become related to police.
    • Nobody has anything good to say about Jai Singh (and for good reason), and is either scared or completely disgusted by him.
  • Hidden Depths: Vinod works as a prototypical, at times comically incompetent cop... but he's also very understanding and supportive to his agents, keeping quiet about an overworked officer buying medicine for his wife, for example. He also offers Vartika to become The Scapegoat if the investigation on the police department's conduct demands one.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight:
    • Most perpetrators continue their routines in the aftermath of the attack as if nothing happened. Jai covers his daily bus route, for example, and road control agents fail to identify him due to a communication failure.
    • In one scene, the officers march the detainees through an angry mob that wants to tear them apart with their own hands. Completely undisturbed.
  • Hiding Behind Religion: Jai has a Shiva figurine on the bus's dashboard, but never gives indication of being religious. It is just as possible that he has it to give victims a false sense of security before the attacks.
  • Hypocrite: Vartika defends passionately the rulebook when other colleagues ignore it, but she herself fails in this regard from time to time (embracing colleagues despite being banned, telling her family about the arrests, throwing her son at Jai Singh and giving officers permission to hit him). That being said, she still sticks more to the rules than most.
  • If It Bleeds, It Leads: The press picks up the story and runs wild, telling all sort of damning and gruesome details and even making some up for viewers.
  • Ignored Expert: The investigators deal constantly with citizens, journalists, activists, and politicians who want someone to hang for this crime, unaware (or unconcerned) that their extra pressure on police is just making them less likely to apprehend the culprits.
  • I'll Pretend I Didn't Hear That: A field agent tells Vinod that he was absent from his job because he was buying medicine for his sick wife and has no other time to do it because he's working unpaid extra hours. Vinod just lets him go with a warning and tells him to keep quiet and pretend they have not had this conversation.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Neeti's Establishing Character Moment has her stopping a driver and insisting on checking his cargo just as she's been told to do, ignoring his excuses and a blatant attempt to bribe her. She later gets assigned to support Deepika's parents in the hospital, and politely refuses to touch Jai when Vartika gives her permission to do anything she wants to him.
  • Irony: One of the older female officers took the police academy admission exam only because she wanted to support a friend. She passed her exam and her friend didn't.
  • It's Personal: The crime is so repugnant that the police, society, and women in particular consider it this.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: Early on, Vinod tries to get a different police department involved because they have the area where the bus was headed, but Vartika shuts him down because the crime started the moment the bus took off, in their jurisdiction.
  • Just One Little Mistake: Jai (and all his colleagues, by extension) may have walked away if he had not kept his cellphone on during the attack (allowing antennae to ping his location), and they had remembered to clean the blood in the spot under the iron plank. But even all of this would have been unnecessary if they had just killed the victims inside the bus instead of throwing them out and then tried to run them over.
  • Kangaroo Court: The court investigating the police's handling of the case is blatantly hounding for their blood, helped in part by a minister who wants to use the case to put the police under his mandate.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Sonu gets only three years in reform school because he is a minor.
    • Jai hangs himself in prison, denying the cops their stated hope that he will suffer from waiting in death row.
  • Let Me Get This Straight...: Said to a terrorist in the first episode before enumerating all the stupid decisions he made leading to his capture: he broke his parole (which he was given despite trying to put a bomb in the Parliament), he took a mistress while he was in prison yet returned to his wife when he was out, which made her report him, and then he killed her in front of the police officers sent to arrest him, adding a murder charge to his rapsheet.
  • Local Reference: Chandni wants to leave India for Canada. Mehta is Canadian of Indian descent.
  • Lost in Translation: There is as much Hindi as English dialogue, and the Hindi is often littered with English words and the English with Hindi words. The lower in social status characters are, the more Hindi vs English they speak and the more thick their Indian accents are. Conversely, the higher the social status, the more English spoken and the least Indian accent, with a couple of Indian ministers even speaking British-accented English.
  • Lower-Class Lout: All the perpetrators are poor.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Several characters believe that Akash should have fought harder to defend Deepika, even thought there is no realistic chance that it would have accomplished anything. The press also concentrates on the female victim as if she was the only one (but to be honest, she is indeed the main objective of the attackers and the one who got out worst).
  • Misblamed: Several characters try to pin the blame for the crime happening and not being instantly solved on the Delhi Police and Vartika in particular, when she's actually dedicating her hole time to the case.
  • Missing White Woman Syndrome: Some people comment that the case is gathering unprecedented reaction while another extremely similar one in Delhi some months before just went unnoticed. Though not stated outright, an immediate difference is that the victim in the case at hand is middle class, while the one in the older case was poor.
  • Motive Rant: Jai gives a long, elaborate one as soon as he's informed of the evidence against him.
  • Naked People Trapped Outside: The rapists undress both of their victims completely before throwing them out of the bus, later burning their clothes.
  • New Meat: Neeti has just been out of the academy for two weeks and isn't even from Delhi.
  • The New '10s: Set in 2012, released in 2019.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: By throwing the victims out of the moving bus and then trying to run them over, the perpetrators instead ensure that they will survive and tell everything to police.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Most people involved have their names changed, including victims and the perpetrators.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: The rapists try to justify their acts as a reaction for Deepika trying to protect Akash from Jai's unprovoked attack.
  • Not So Above It All: Vartika loses her composure after hearing Jai's Motive Rant and throws her shoe at him, then gives Neeti's permission to do anything she wants to him. Neeti says that she'd rather not touch him.
  • No Woman's Land: Zig-Zagged. The show is not short on women in positions of authority, those above in hyerarchy are never questioned regardless of sex, and the police at least treats their male and female colleagues interchangeably. However, Arranged Marriage is a reality, all poor women are housewives (and effectively live-in maids for their parents in law), and everyone agrees that public molestation and rape in the city is more common than it should.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Vartika has to invest even more hours into an ill-timed inquest into the police department's conduct while she's trying to solve the case.
  • One of the Boys: Vartika, specially after she has to don her uniform for public appearances and just keeps wearing it.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted thoroughly. A lot of unrelated characters share the surname Singh despite being unrelated, including both police officers and criminals. The search for Sonu is also complicated because it is a nickname shared by several men and they don't have anything else to identify him, other than a vague idea about his age, occupation, and procedence.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Sonu remains at large for the longest because not even his partners in crime know his real name.
  • Only Sane Man: Vartika has to deal constantly with hostile bureaucrats and civilians, careless colleagues, and inferiors overly eager for blood.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Vartika is called and woken up in the middle of the night with scant evidence as to what's even happened but she gets dressed and goes anyway, why? Because Narayan never wakes her up at night.
  • Police Brutality: Almost all officers beat or threaten detainees at one point, even Vartika. Neeti is the most glaring exception.
  • Police Are Useless: A widespread belief in the city and the country, to the point that people don't bother to report crimes, or accusse the police of making things worse with their negligence.
  • Police Procedural: In the end, it counts as one.
  • Powder Keg Crowd:
    • The demonstration at the India Gate devolves into random vanadalism of parked cars and chasing the minister's son (who is one of the attendees) even before the riot police intervenes to dissolve it.
    • Averted with the demonstration before the police station. It is annoying and pushes officers to use the backdoor just not to deal with it, but never becomes a real threat.
  • Properly Paranoid: Chandni wants to leave India because she thinks the country is not safe for women. The gang rape happens the next day. We later learn that she was touched up by a creep while using public transport.

  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: The crime is found particularly heinous by everyone and galvanizes the entire nation within a few days.
  • The Scapegoat: It is immediately apparent that the inquest is just looking to pinch the blame on someone and remove him. Ideally, the minister wants this to be Police Commissioner Vijay, and use it to put the police under his direct command. Vartika and Vinod's names are also traded as possible recipients if Vijay doesn't get it.
  • Serious Business:
    • The Delhite cop who almost causes a fight with the Bihar army commander because he won't watch a rooster being sacrificed and then eat it, and the army commander who won't take the refusel of his rooster as anything but the greatest insult.
    • Jai justifying his horrific crime because the couple had the audacity of cuddling in public, and the woman of protesting because he started beating the man over it.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Deepika dies at the hospital, Jai kills himself before trial, and Sonu only gets three years behind bars because he is a minor.
  • Siblings in Crime: Two members of the gang, Jai and Amar Singh, are brothers.
  • Sim Sim Salabim: Not too blatant, since it is a real Indian story set in India. But precisely for that reason, the show has occassional elements that most won't expect in a Police Procedural, like a detective looking for husbands for his daughter, an ivory smuggler being caught in a road control, or a witness wondering if the police is after him because of a Noodle Incident with a sacred cow.
  • The Sociopath: Jai Singh. Though never diagnosed onscreen, he fits all the expected marks of Antisocial Personality Disorder.
  • Something Only They Would Say: The real Sonu is recognized because of the way he announces the destinations of the buses he works on.
  • Spiritual Sequel: You may as well call this "Indian Crime Story". It can also be compared to Chernobyl in that it has a recognizable gender (Police Procedural vs Disaster Movie) but it is set in an exotic location, with no foreign correspondents, and the main character is an Ignored Expert having her job complicated by political interference, negligence, and corruption.
  • Spiteful Spit: Vinod spits on Jai after he finishes his confession, most likely as a way to soothe a desire to beat him.
  • Strange Cop in a Strange Land:
    • Neeti is fresh from the accademy and just arrived from Gujarat. The worst kind of cop that a smuggler used to drive illegal goods in a Delhi highway could expect.
    • The Delhi cops that travel to Rajasthan and (specially) Bihar, as they have to deal with undeveloped rural infrastructure, cultural differences, and (in the latter) the threat of communist and tribal insurgents.
  • Strawman News Media: The press milks the case for all they can, giving credibility to all sort of rumors and exaggerations just to get higher ratings. A journalist even tells Vartika that she has been told by her superiors to plain make up stuff that will make the police look bad. Later on, they hound Akash for a TV interview (and would probably do to Deepika, if doctors had not forbidden strangers from talking to her), not caring that this might be used by the perpetrators's defence at their trials.
  • Street Urchin: One is asked during the search for Sonu... who turns out to be a barely grown example himself.
  • Stupid Evil:
    • Jai decides to kill the couple by throwing them off the bus and running them over. At that point the bus's interior is already covered in Deepika's blood, so killing them inside would not make any harder to clean it. By adding this pointless final villainy, he instead ensures that the victims will be discovered while still alive, and that they will tell police everything.
    • The terrorist in the first episode. See above.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: How Vartika feels at times.
  • Take a Third Option: In a example of Culture Clash, a Hindu cop cannot accept a rooster's sacrifice and meat, and his Buddhist counterpart cannot not give the rooster to him because of hospitality laws and will take a refusal as an insult. The Hindu convinces the Buddhist to release the rooster in his name.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Sonu, one of the six attackers, is under 18. Although he isn't sure.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The completely over the top attempt to murder Deepika.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: The perpetrators don't stand out and are free to resume their lives in the immediate aftermath of the attack, with no suspicion.
  • Thicker Than Water:
    • Alok's parents refuse to collaborate with police when they come to Bihar looking for him. It is his wife, who lives with them, who outs him.
    • Averted with the Singhs. Amar is terrified of Jai, but not very loyal, and their other brother Dada collaborates as soon as he learns that they are being sought for the notorious bus gang-rape case.
    • Similarly, the men of Bihar would have wanted to protect one of their own from the Delhi police and the Indian army, but they think the gang-rape heinous enough to make an exception. They even confide that if police doesn't get Alok first, they will tear him apart with their own hands.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: The crime galvanizes Indian society and leads to demonstrations clamoring against both the criminals and the police.
  • Vigilante Execution: Several officers and civilians threaten the criminals with killing or maiming them before they make it to trial.
  • We Could Have Avoided All This: After the case goes viral, a man who was robbed by the six-man gang using the same fake bus scheme comes forward. Had he bothered, they may have got them before their last victims. But he thought Police Are Useless.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: During the investigation, the officers employ all their hours into the case and even sleep in the police station, isolating them from their families.
  • White Sheep: Dada Singh, a brother of Jai and Amar who is not a criminal and collaborates when he is told what they are being looked for.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Jai uses his arm injury to claim that he could not have committed the crime.
  • Wretched Hive: The series begins with a voiceover telling how Delhi has the population of a small country, but only a fraction of police of other megacities. Most have their hands full from just dealing with traffic and protection of public figures, which leads to a lot of crimes being unreported and unsolved.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: The police runs into several different Sonus before finding the one they are looking for.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: