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Netflix’s Unbelievable Is a Powerful Statement on Trauma and Empathy

Netflix came out with a new limited series on September 13th. This true crime follows a young woman, Marie, and her experience with a violent rapist that broke into her home. As it follows Marie and her struggles, the show also focuses on a cop a few states over who is investigating a similar rape.

Credit: usatoday.com

Viewers watch in horror at the way that the police force responds to rape cases, often dismissing them, and even accusing victims of being liars. Marie is caught in a string of lies with her integrity being questioned constantly. Her faith in adults, especially cops, weakens as no one helps or believes her.

Credit: thehill.com

As Marie is navigating her way through her post-trauma life, the show also focuses on the hardships cops face with rape cases. The lack of evidence and the unreliability of a trauma survivor mean details can get skewed. The plot thickens as they fight to find the rapist who seems to be just as intelligent and careful as the cops have been.

Credit: inlander.com

Not only are the characters beautifully curated and raw, but the directing is also seamless. With a constant switch between the two main characters, the cut scenes and panning style make watching both beautiful and interesting. This series is packed with powerful stills that carry the weight of each scene.

The topic of rape is greatly stigmatized, not just in real life but also tv. Unbelievable focuses on the hardships of both survivors and cops. It paints cops in a human way, as people who make mistakes and have to apologize just like everyone else. It puts a scientific explanation as to why rape victims are more likely to be hounded than other victims. But most importantly, it shows that people can move on from trauma, no matter how horrific it may be.

Unbelievable opens up a conversation that not many cop shows or shows, in general, are willing to have.


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Taylor is a freshman at BU with a dual degree in International Relations and Journalism. She loves vegan food, writing poetry and art museums.
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