The Trial or Il Processo has all the necessary ingredients to churn out a well-cooked courtroom drama. It starts with a promising premise with a teenage murder at its center. It offers us an impartial glimpse inside the Italian Judicial System.
But the second half of the series loses the realistic grim atmosphere it had created by introducing various dramatic elements. The Trial serves as a good introduction to Italian dramas.
1. Quick Review
The Trial is a good courtroom drama that you can binge over a weekend. Packed with powerful performances, it is an average investigative crime thriller. It also breaks away the usual Mob dramas that have become synonymous with Italian cinema.
With a slow-burning trial and enough dramatic elements to allow for some character developments, The Trial is something fresh in an old existing genre.
2. Is It Worth Watching?
The Trial begins with a bang and pits two great lawyers against each other. Both of them want to use the case to propel their careers further, and as the show unfolds, you uncover that it will have an impact on their personal lives as well.
The eight-part miniseries revolves around Elena Guerra, a public prosecutor whose marriage is falling apart. She is called to investigate the murder of a 17-year old teenage girl named Angelica whose body is found in the river
All the fingers point towards Linda Monaci, a girl with whom Angelica had had some bad blood. As Linda is arrested and put on Trial, Angelica discovers that she has a personal connection with the victim.
This makes her determined to solve the case and put the person responsible behind bars. As Elena attacks the case with fierce determination, she clashes swords with Defence Attorney Ruggero Baron. He’s a hotshot lawyer who is determined to do whatever it takes to win the case.
As the series progresses, the night of the murder is re-created from different viewpoints and perspectives as both Elena and Ruggero try to swing the case their way. The fact that Linda maintains her innocence and proclaims to be a victim who is being framed also complicates matters.
II. Cast & Performances
Vittoria Puccini gives a powerful performance as Elena Guerra, a woman whose personal and professional life is thrown in turmoil because of the investigation. The opening scene in which she is talking to a class of school children and demonstrates her investigative skills is a precursor of what’s to come.
A professional at the top of her career with one chance to save her failing marriage, she is a hunter on the prowl looking for any theory and narrative that helps her win the case.
Francesco Scianna is a worthy counterpart to Puccini both as a lawyer and as an actor. He is ruthless in his trial scenes and is willing to go to any limit to prove his client’s innocence.
Camillia Fillipi shines as Linda Monaci oscillates between playing the suspect and the wrongfully accused victim on the stand.
III. Detailed Review
The Trial introduces a new style of storytelling in which the events of the fateful night are recreated again and again as both the lawyers approach the murder from different angles. New evidence and witnesses are added as the show runs in two parallel timelines- one in the court and one recreating the fateful night. The impartial viewpoint of the lawyers unfolding the narrative is a highlight for the show.
The second half of the season is packed with badly written subplots and lots of melodramatic elements that kill the show’s realistic and serious vibe. There are multiple forbidden romances, and Elena’s conflicts and history bring nothing to add to the show. With new evidence and surprise witnesses coming in, the show moves closer to dramatic mediocrity.
The Trial relies heavily on its central story, and the second half of the season shifts the focus elsewhere. One cannot help but wonder whether this show would’ve been better off as a 5 or 6-part series with some unnecessary drama cut out.
3. Final Thoughts
The Trial brings a new story and a unique storytelling style to the table. The setting in Italy and an insight into their judicial system are attractive perks to watch the show. The middle episodes slack off, but the show tries to make up for an ending that will spark many discussions online.
While the show is more drama than true-crime, it has the characteristics to be a binge-worthy show that’ll keep your attention. The acting is great, and the courtroom clashes are the best moments of the show, which will keep you engaged.