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You do not know me based on the novel by Imran Mahmoud and uses a unique storytelling technique: the protagonist tells his story as a closing argument in his murder trial. It worked in the novel, but does it apply to television?

Initial shot: “Perhaps we will never know what was the motive for the murder, but we are not obliged to prove the motive,” a female prosecutor’s voice is heard as we disappear at the back of the defendant’s head.

Essence: The hero (Samuel Adevunmi), who is on trial for the shooting and murder of a South London drug dealer named Jameel Issa (Roger Nsengiyumwa), hears the prosecutor’s closing statement. The judge then informs the jury that Hero, who did not testify on his own behalf, has fired his attorney and will make the closing statement himself. The hero begins this closing statement by saying that he didn’t do anything that could send him to jail, and tells his side of the story.

In a flashback, we see the Hero, who sells luxury cars, get into a confrontation with Jameel that, according to the prosecutor, resulted in a shooting. Jamil calls out the name of a woman named Kira (Sophie Wilde), which angers the Hero. To explain why, Hero tells the jury about how they met and how their relationship developed…until she disappeared from her apartment and stopped answering his calls.

As the weeks go by, he is desperate to find her, as are his mother Adebi (Yetunde Oduwole) and sister Bless (Bukki Bakrai), who see it tear Hiro apart. One of his social media requests comes back with a lead in the Camden area of ​​North London; he is devastated to find Kira getting into a stranger’s car; this beautiful book-reading woman he is in love with works as a prostitute. After a period of depression, Bless convinces him that he should try to save Kira from whatever situation she finds herself in. He turns to Jameel for help and Jameel puts him in touch with someone who can get him a gun.

You do not know me
Photo: BBC

What series does this remind you of? You do not know me a bit like an ABC show For life. In this series, a wrongly accused inmate becomes a lawyer and helps others. Here the Hero makes an epic closing statement that will hopefully influence the jury. But both are about wrongly accused people taking matters into their own hands.

Our opinion: You do not know me it’s a pretty clever crime show, told in a way that feels completely unnecessary. Written by Tom Edge based on a novel by Imran Mahmood and directed by Sarmad Massoud, the show basically uses the Hero’s closing statement as the basis for building the story of how the Hero got to the point of making his own closing statement in the hope that it would hold up. him out of jail for life.

This structure may have worked well in the novel, but in the four-episode series it simply serves to give the Hero an audience when the judge admonishes the Hero or the jury from time to time that nothing he presents should be considered new evidence. But it’s clear that none of what he presents, especially the story of how he met Kira and how they built their relationship, will ever make it into a real closing argument. Every time we get involved in a real story and then return to the courtroom, this idea pops into our heads and is distracting.

But that doesn’t mean we didn’t think Adevunmi’s performance in those courtroom scenes didn’t grab attention; it does a good job of showing the Hero’s barely contained rage at being in this place. And we really liked the scenes that illustrate the story that the Hero was telling the jury; we felt the chemistry between Adewunmi and Wylde as Hero and Kira built their relationship from a random bus meeting into something real and joyful. Nsengiyumwa has enough menace to play Jamil, and we were also struck by the warmth with which Oduwole and Bakrai played the Hero’s stern but loving mother and sister.

We’re not entirely sure how the story will play out by the end of the first episode, which is always nice to experience when watching shows like this. We just wish the narrative didn’t revolve around a structure that – at least in the first episode – feels more like a gimmick than a story’s creative structure.

Sex and skin: There are several scenes where the Hero and Kira have sex, although there is a lot of clothing involved.

Parting Shot: The hero stops at the bridge, where he saw Kira working; she gets into the car and he pulls a gun from the glove box. “Say no and move on,” Hero tells the jury, asking himself the question. But do you love her? Do you love her?” He gets out of the car and puts the gun in his pocket.

Sleeping Star: Sophie Wilde is great as Kira, who has a bunch of books in her small apartment, but remembers every one of them, including how old she was when she first read them.

Most pilot line: The hero pauses and asks the judge for a moment, and the judge admonishes him to “make your argument from the evidence already tested in court”. The hero apologizes…then continues his speech.

Our call: AFTER. If the courtroom scenes in You do not know me if you don’t get bored, then you should enjoy the performances plus the story itself. But sometimes it’s hard to get past the court.

Joel Keller (ur.@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting, and technology, but doesn’t kid himself: he’s a TV junkie. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon, Rolling, VanityFair.comFast Company, etc.

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