A few weeks before Guilt premiered, Hulu insisted on airing trailers everywhere. Glancing at the trailer, I had decided that I was not going to watch the show. Then, the reality of my barren playlist hit me – I had nothing else to watch.
Guilt follows the story of Grace Atwood, an American student involved in the murder of her British roommate Molly Ryan. Sounds familiar, huh? Well, Guilt is loosely based on the Amanda Knox case, where Knox and her then-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, were wrongfully accused of murdering British student Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy.
Despite numerous similarities, showrunners maintained that Guilt will have diverse elements including ties to the British Monarchy and that the show won’t necessarily go in the same direction as the Knox case.
Grace Atwood. Yes. Grace and her French boyfriend discover the mutilated body of Grace’s roommate and friend, Molly. The case sparks a media frenzy with Grace being thrust into the spotlight against her will. Grace’s sister, Natalie, flies to London and teams up with London-based lawyer Stan to clear her sister’s name. The story unravels into a mystery that involves the royal family and questions Grace’s apparent innocence.
Guilt comes across as the typical try-hard soapy mystery loosely adapted from real events. After all, true stories draw in an already existing audience. The greatest asset the show has to offer is perhaps, Billy Zane in all his splendor. His portrayal of ethically questionable lawyer Stan is the only one worth watching. Alas, even Billy Zane can’t save a sinking ship.
Freeform’s Guilt insults its audience by packing too many elements in its series premiere: the royal family, the ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ brothel, and motives for 75 percent of the characters. It appears that the show does not trust its audience enough to take the time to explore characters and their stories. Instead, it regurgitates dramatics and spends time incriminating everybody in the hopes of capturing the audience’s interest.
Daisy Head, whose real father Anthony Stewart Head co-stars in the show, screams the typical “I’m an actress because my daddy is a famous actor.” While it may be that she is looking for her bearings in a brand new show, she suffers from the common disease of overacting. However, the poorly written dialogues and predictable characters may account for that.
Yet somehow, the show has an indubitable ability to deaden characters. Anthony Head’s character as Daisy’s father is purely one-dimensional and even a great actor as himself cannot bring life to the tedious, “okay at best” dialogues.
Despite numerous flaws, Guilt has a lot of potential. Emily Tremaine’s Natalie Atwood complements Billy Zane’s quirkiness. Should the show decide to give them more screen time, there might be hope. Sadly, it remains unsure whether the story will be able to seamlessly come together to carry the show into its second season. Then again, Freeform renewed Shadowhunters. Guilt surpasses it by a landslide.
Don’t rule out this show before you give it a try.
Q U I C K • C E N T S
b r i e f • s u m m a r y
Amanda Knox in England, involving the Prince (of England, I assume) …and boyfriends, girlfriends, Billy Zane, and legal things.
t h e • g o o d
Fresh faces highlight the show
Has a lot of potential
t h e • b a d
Poorly written dialogues
Tried to be soapy, ended up being clumsy
Has an “every other show” vibe
Packed too much in the first few episode, hence losing the viewer
p r o g r e s s
f o l l o w • u p
Maybe, but the show was cancelled
f i n a l • t h o u g h t s
Give it a try if you’ve nothing else to watch