**This post references sexual violence, which may be triggering to some readers**
Listen up, all you Law & Order SVU fans—hit pause and switch over to Netflix’s new crime series Unbelievable, starring Toni Collette and Merritt Wever. Unbelievable breaks the formula of most cop shows by placing two women officers at the center of this 8-episode story. Beware—this series is seriously binge-able.
The show follows Detective Karen Duvall (Merritt Wever) and Detective Grace Rasmussen (Toni Collette) as they join forces from different jurisdictions to catch a serial rapist. Unbelievable portrays two complex women in positions of power without oversexualizing them, masculinizing them, or feeling the need to mention their gender every two seconds. The show makes the argument that, as women, they are more effective police officers – better at listening, approaching victims with more interest and compassion and checking their egos at the door (for the most part).
What makes Unbelievable most compelling is that it follows the victims in the immediate aftermath of their trauma. We learn that each of them copes and recovers in different ways and, unlike many other shows that use rape simply as a plot device, the characters in Unbelievable are humanized. One story follows the life of a teenage girl struggling to come to terms with the rape she experienced in her apartment.
The most difficult part of the show is the devastating reality that most rape cases are not pursued by police this strongly or professionally; rape kits are neglected and lay untested for years, allowing perpetrators to roam free. In this way, Unbelievable portrays a dream-scenario for catching rapists. The show sites other sickening truths about our modern police force; 40% of cops’ families experience domestic violence, addressing further dysfunctions with a system that should be protecting women.
Take Action! Watch Unbelievable on Netflix, and remember that victims of sexual assault are more likely to be unfairly scrutinized than victims of robbery or other crimes. #BelieveVictims