Unbelievable on Netflix: What are the first reviews? When is it released? Who is in the cast? Is it a true story?

Get to know your next binge watch show on the streaming service.

True crime fans know Netflix is the place to go for gripping documentaries, but their new series Unbelievable has been made into a drama based on a shocking real-life case.

Viewers may be familiar with the story already from podcasts about the investigation, and now it's being retold for TV.

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Here's all you need to know about Unbelievable, and the true story behind it.

When is Unbelievable on TV?

You can watch the full series now – Unbelievable began streaming on Netflix on September 13.

There are eight episodes in the series.

What is it about?

Unbelievable is about a real-life sexual assault investigation that began in 2008 – viewers should be prepared for the harrowing story of how the victim was accused of lying by most of the people she told in the aftermath.

Called "Marie" Adler in the series (that isn’t her first name), the assault victim had just turned 18 when a masked intruder broke into her home and raped her.

Marie reported the crime, but faced incredible prejudice about her life growing up in the care system, which had included previous assault during her childhood.

Even her own foster mother didn’t believe her and detectives actually went so far as to charge her with filing a false report.

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Meanwhile, hundreds of miles away, detectives Grace Rasmussen and Karen Duvall are investigating an eerily similar case that leads them to believe they could be on the hunt for a serial rapist.

Unbelievable follows Marie's search for justice, the detectives who back her case, and the trauma that rape victims face in trying to get the legal system to take their claims seriously.

Has the story been told before?

The real events of the investigation were first told in a Pulitzer Prize-winning article entitled An Unbelievable Story of Rape, written by T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong.

Devotees of the This American Life radio show and podcast, which was behind the huge hit true crime podcast Serial, may also recognise the story as it featured in an episode called Anatomy of Doubt, directed by Oscar nominees Susannah Grant and Lisa Cholodenko.

Who stars in it?

Central character Marie Adler is played by Kaitlyn Dever, best known for her recent starring role in comedy Booksmart and her long-running part on TV series Last Man Standing.

Detectives Grace Rasmussen and Karen Duvall are played by Toni Collette and Merritt Wever.

Toni’s most famous starring roles include Muriel’s Wedding, Little Miss Sunshine, The Sixth Sense, and the recent BBC series Wanderlust.

Merritt is known for Nurse Jackie and has also appeared in New Girl, The Walking Dead, Birdman, and Signs.

First reviews

The show has been greeted with an overwhelmingly positive response from critics, who have been blown away by the show's lead performances - with Kaitlyn Dever coming in for particular praise.

Den Of Geek described the show as a "masterpiece" and said: "Anchored by three quiet but powerful performances, particularly Kaitlyn Dever’s systematically overruled Marie who so often expresses herself in silence, Unbelievable centers the human toll of these blights on our national character and the resilience of individual women fighting back in whatever way they know how."

The Guardian gave the series 4 stars and said: "Unbelievable isn’t a programme about whether Adler was telling the truth. It’s about who gets to have their story heard, who is allowed to be believed. It’s about the power dynamics that underpin the criminal justice system and society at large. 'Am I in trouble?', Adler asks the police who take her first statements. The answer for her, and so many others like her, is a resounding yes."

Meanwhile, The Telegraph first review said: "The first hour of Unbelievable, Netflix’s new American drama miniseries, is some of the most brutal television I’ve ever watched. It features absolutely no violence, and the rape that the episode frequently flashes back to is shown without feeling gratuitous or exploitative, but it was still so powerful and bleak that it left me reeling."

US website Vulture described the series as "radical" and concluded: "Unbelievable is not about finding the bad guy so much as it about the value of genuinely hearing and understanding the victims. And it’s not so much about justice being served as it is about the possibility that, with the right people listening and fighting for her, a young, abused woman might have the chance to find some measure of peace."

Fans on Twitter were astounded by the performances in the series, but struggled to contain their anger and frustration at the true events depicted.

 

 

Unbelievable is streaming now on Netflix.

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