If Delhi Crime, an Indian series on Netflix, were American or British, it would be called a standard procedural. But a few things make it more compelling than that. First, the crime in question is a shockingly brutal gang rape of a young woman that is based on an actual crime that happened in Delhi in 2012. Referred to as the “Nirbhaya” case, the rape caused riots throughout India and drew international outrage, leading to changes in Indian law that provide faster investigation and prosecution against sex offenders.
See our review of Delhi Crime Season 2 here.
Watching a procedural set in Delhi is eye-opening. The show follows the Delhi police as they solve the case and apprehend the 6 suspects in a record 5 days. I say “record” because the police in Delhi regularly deal with snarled traffic, power outages during interviews at the station, a shortage of vehicles available for inspectors to get to the crime scene, an utter lack of funding and more. It’s like watching police solve crimes with both hands tied behind their backs, which makes you respect the team that much more when they succeed.
Getting an inside look at Indian culture is fascinating, too. Through the course of the show, we see several strata of lifestyles, from upper middle class to the basest of slums. The life of a policeman is tough. They work all the time, sometimes going home only two times a month. There is no extra pay for long hours, and worst of all, it is not considered an honorable profession. There is a revealing scene where one of the inspectors avoids telling his future in-laws what he does because they would not let the marriage occur if they knew. And yes, arranged marriage is still alive and well.
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Our Take on Delhi Crime
The show itself is really well done. Creator Richie Mehta researched every aspect of the case with the Delhi police for 6 years so he could get the
details right. The production value is high, and the acting is fantastic. Particularly outstanding are Shefali Shah as Vartika Chaturvedi, the Deputy Commissioner of Police who takes it upon herself to lead the case, and Rajesh Tailang as the mild mannered yet determined inspector Bhupendra Singh, who is DCP Chaturvedi’s trusted confidant. Mehta made the thoughtful decision not to show the rape, instead focusing on the police’s point of view of the case.
I highly recommend the Delhi Crime. The procedural format is comfortable for American audiences. The first episode is grim, and hard to enjoy, but once the police get started on the investigation, the shock lifts a little. One of the reasons I love foreign crime TV is learning about another culture, and Delhi Crime does not disappoint.
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