'Will Trent' review: Crime procedural stands tall above the rest

Who could resist that puppy-dog look? And the chihuahua is cute, too. Photos: Handout

Watching the first episode of crime procedural Will Trent awakened memories of Millennium, that brief candle of a Chris Carter mystery/procedural in which Lance Henriksen's Frank Black was able to "see" crime scenes through the eyes of killers.

In Will Trent, based on Karin Slaughter's bestselling novels, our titular hero (Iron Fist's Ramon Rodriguez, walking a tightrope between stubble-scruffy and dapper) sees things from the victim's perspective.

Way to gain sympathy audience points, Will – or should that be "Trashcan"? In the series opener, we learn so much about the guy that it amounts to information overload.

He is dyslexic (though the series has been criticised for an inaccurate depiction of the condition), a brilliant investigator (with keen powers of observation and said ability to project), has just nailed a bunch of corrupt police officers (hence the "Rat Snitch Traitor" graffiti on his car), and came up through the foster system where the derogatory rubbish-disposal nickname haunted him.

But this Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) special agent shrugs it all off to do his job astoundingly well at crime scenes, to the chagrin of his counterparts in the Atlanta Police Department (APD) – not just for ratting out their colleagues but for frequently upstaging them on cases where the GBI is called in to help.

'I don't care if you are a TV dog, you can't have any chocolates.''I don't care if you are a TV dog, you can't have any chocolates.'

So there's a whole lot of dimension to this character and the series, with Slaughter and series co-creators Liz Helden (Deception) and Daniel Thomsen (Westworld) dangling a jumble of threads before our eyes from the very start.

Then, deftly, over the course of these first 13 episodes (there's a second season, yay), they weave them into an impressive tapestry that connects its characters – even the "one and done" guest stars you think will not be seen again – more deeply than one would think at first.

This solid narrative is part of Will Trent's appeal, bolstered by Rodriguez's ease in convincingly conjuring a hero who is both annoyingly stubborn and empathetic to a fault.

Rodriguez capably fleshes out Will as a complex lead character who often struggles against his own demons, sometimes even while conversing with his mental "constructs" of victims, the net result usually being an inventive solution to his cases.

His involved approach to victims and crimes leaves his boss Amanda Wagner (Sonja Sohn, The Wire) perpetually perplexed yet unshakeably confident.

'What can I say, I'm the kind of hero who makes everyone else just a blur in the background.''What can I say, I'm the kind of hero who makes everyone else just a blur in the background.'

Will is also in an on-off relationship with APD detective Angie Polaski (Erika Christensen), who was with him in foster care, and their shared history is the basis for one of the show's more interesting relationships as well as a few startling revelations.

As we join the series, he finds himself saddled with a partner, Faith Mitchell (Iantha Richardson), whose mother Evelyn (LisaGay Hamilton, The Practice) happens to be one of the cops Will exposed for corruption.

Way to set up a potentially explosive team-up there, eh? But stick with it, and you'll find this show full of surprises, a number of them quite pleasing.

The others range from shocking to grim to unpleasant, all in service of making this a memorable, involving first season that stands tall in the crowded crime procedural field.

All that, without even taking Betty the chihuahua into account.

All 13 episodes of Will Trent Season One are available to stream on Disney+ Hotstar.

8 10


Will will, Will will hook you.

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Disney , Davin Arul


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