If you found a burglar in your house, what would you do? In England, there are no “stand your ground” laws, so you have to really prove you thought your life was in danger in order to use a self-defense argument. In the new BritBox drama Intruder, a man, his wife and her friend have to figure out how to prove self-defense when self-defense isn’t close to what actually happened.
: STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?
Opening Shot: Shots of the shore at night. We then hear a frantic 999 call — 999 is the English equivalent of the American 911 — from a woman that said “There’s a burglar in my house” and tries to get out the fact that the burglar was dead.”
The Gist: Earlier that night, in a gorgeous modern house overlooking the ocean, Sam Hickey (Tom Meeten) and his wife Rebecca (Elaine Cassidy) are having quite the raucous dinner party with their friends, including Rebecca’s best friend Angela Pitt (Helen Behan). Lots of booze and blow and supposedly intellectual conversation. Meanwhile, two teenagers are perched on a hill overlooking the house, biding their time so they can burgle the house.
Angela stays over, and Rebecca goes to bed, but the coked-up Sam decides to stay up and work. But the teens think everyone’s asleep so they make their way in. The less experienced burglar makes too much noise and alerts Sam, who catches him in the act. The older burglar escapes with Sam’s laptop, and the younger one tries to exit the window of the laundry room, where he came in. But when he’s halfway out the window, Sam grabs him by the belt, drags him back in and stabs him in the back. The younger burglar dies almost immediately.
Rebecca wants to call the police, but Sam, even in his altered state, knows that what he did won’t be considered self-defense because the kid was trying to leave. So the three of them sit and think through what to do with the body and what their stories are before calling in the authorities. They move the body, put a rusty box cutter in his hand and clean the laundry room.
The story is that the kid attacked Sam and Rebecca stabbed him just to get him off her husband. They all tell the story at the scene and at the station. At the scene Family Liaison Officer Karen Bailey (Sally Lindsay) tells them that the burglar’s name was Sayed Khalil (Sonny Poon Tip). When she goes to talk to Sayed’s dad Haalim (Kriss Dosanjh), however, he insists that his son wouldn’t attack someone like that, and that Bailey should look into it, even if it delays Sayed’s funeral. But, not ruling his death suspicious, the police release Sayed’s body his father for an immediate Muslim burial.
Sam and Rebecca’s plan starts falling apart when Angela starts harassing Sam, and pushing for a relationship after their affair. In addition, there’s a pill ring run out of the shore town where this all takes place, and Syed may have been connected to something much bigger than just a robbery.
What Shows Will It Remind You Of? In spirit, Intruder is similar to Showtime’s series >Your Honor, where a supposedly honorable man goes to dishonorable lengths to cover up a crime in order to protect someone close to him. But something about Intruder felt more self-serving and sniveling than that.
Our Take: There’s something about Intruder, a four-part limited series created by Mike Benson and Gareth Tunley, that doesn’t sit right. It’s not the acting, and the shots of the modern house by the shore are well-done. It’s not full of head-scratching dialogue; the story proceeds in a logical fashion, for the most part.
But since the only introduction we get to Sam, Rebecca and Angela is via this semi-debauched dinner party, we are definitely not in their corner when Sam somehow makes the realization that he actually murdered Syed instead of killing him in self-defense.
We guess what we’re missing is the “why” of everything. Why is Sam, an author and radio host, so coked out of his mind, and did that have anything to do with how clouded his thought process was when he was stabbing Syed in the back? He seemed to have more than enough clarity immediately afterwards, when he realized how things went down and knew that things wouldn’t go well for him if he left the scene as is. How could he be under “coke rage” one minute and thinking rationally the next?
What the first episode feels more like, though, is a rich white couple with rich white couple problems trying to avoid paying the price for the killing of a person of color. This may be what Benson and Tunley intended. But there’s something about the way the first episode proceeds that makes us think otherwise. It seems that Sam is a cowardly person who would rather let this kid’s family suffer than tell the truth.
As we see Syed’s father looking over his artwork in Syed’s room and starting to sob with grief, we see that Syed was a talented kid that got embroiled in this robbery scheme somehow. We know that there’s something larger afoot here, starting with the sea captain-esque James Fitzgerald (Seamus Moran). This is one of those series where everyone bad is good and others who are good are bad, and it’s going to be hard to figure out who to root for. But by the end of the first episode, we know so little about everyone involved, we don’t really care what happens to anyone.
Sex and Skin: None.
Parting Shot: After his phone call with Angela, a shaken Sam comes into the bedroom with Rebecca. She embraces him and says everything will be OK, as we pull back from their bedroom window. We hear Sam say, “We’ll be OK.”
Sleeper Star: Sally Lindsay is the key to this series, as Karen Bailey. Even though she’s the family liaison officer, she’s going to be the one pushing to find the real story because Haalim Khalil will insist to her that his son isn’t capable of doing what Sam, Rebecca and Angela said he did.
Most Pilot-y Line: When Sam calls Angela back in the laundry room, his whispering is so loud, we were wondering how Rebecca couldn’t hear it, considering that they live in a house chock full of hard surfaces.
Our Call: SKIP IT. Intruder feels like it was supposed to be a more sophisticated show, but it turns out to be just a well-acted bunch of implausible scenes strung together.
— Decider (@decider) June 16, 2021
Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and tech, but he doesn’t kid himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, VanityFair.com, Fast Company and elsewhere.
Source : https://decider.com/2021/06/15/intruder-britbox-review/
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