Review: ‘Suspicion’ brings a talented ensemble cast to a provocative thriller
It should come as no surprise that Suspicion — an intricately penned and potentially provocative thriller from Apple TV Plus — is so engaging. With an emotional premise, solid casting, and perfect pacing, it lays out its ground rules quickly, whilst unpacking character moments with care. In a plotting coup that maintains momentum from the outset, it taps into multimedia platforms and then exploits them for entertainment purposes.
A tightly constructed opening gambit drops audience members into the deep end, while intrusive camerawork makes them feel instantly complicit. In an information age where attention spans are short, distractions are abundant, and deep fake footage defines the culture, this abduction is clever stuff. Instantly written off as a prank and shared accordingly, this viral video not only establishes the premise, but throws a little social commentary in for good measure. Then, a series of key introductions follow to illustrate motive and opportunity for all concerned.
The members of this ensemble cast have ample reason to play their parts, whether that relates to a personal ideology or professional ambition. Some are driven by loyalty to family; others have a more selfish agenda in mind. Suspicion does make sure to put Uma Thurman’s Katherine Newman front and center early on, giving audiences an indication of what drives such an inherently powerful woman. Although her screen time is sporadic, this veteran actor does a lot with very little, conveying depth and determination without having to grandstand.
Elizabeth Henstridge gives Oxford University lecturer Tara several shades of grey, as she obsesses over issues of class while operating within an elitist institution. Familiar to some from her long-running role as Jemma Simmons in Marvel’s Agents of Shield, this offers the actor a chance to portray a character with complexities operating effortlessly within an ensemble.
Kunal Nayyar also does something similar with Adesh in his efforts to move away fromThe Big Bang Theory. Having created some low-key impact on season 2 of Netflix’s Criminal, this actor continues to pick interesting projects to create distance from his legacy. Sporting a south London accent and coming across as the perpetual underachiever in his family, Adesh is hamstrung by ambition. That he is overshadowed by in-laws and relations alike only adds fuel to the fire for his potential involvement elsewhere.
Georgina Campbell’s Natalie represents another significant piece of this intricate puzzle, who proves to be more than just a sassy south Londoner looking to get married. Wedding day jitters, last-minute family problems, and a shady connection to an unknown entity all add to her issues. With a groom waiting across town and extended family everywhere, writer Rob Williams slowly draws all the threads together — a trick he succinctly pulls off across multiple episodes as Suspicion continues to gain momentum and up the dramatic ante.
Other players of note in this polished slice of Apple TV Plus content include Lydia West’s Jill Baxter, Noah Emmerich as her American counterpart, and Elyes Gabriel in globetrotting form. The interplay of both West and Emmerich provides the cornerstone of another dramatic element here, as they do a great deal for transatlantic cooperation. Either dismissive, indifferent, or diffident in their professional dealings, their interactions offer an ideal counterpoint to the more frenetic on-screen elements.
With Supernatural alumni Chris Long both behind the camera and on executive producer duties, Suspicion can also lay claim to some superior creative talent off screen. By employing surveillance cameras to frame character, Long is tapping into the voyeuristic preoccupations that define contemporary society — a tactic which keeps audiences on edge throughout, as motives veer between overtly political and invasively personal.
As with the best type of long-form thrillers, Suspicion is driven by character rather than agenda. It uses a combination of subtle character revelations mixed in with larger plot reveals, to imply an inherent collusion across the board. With a genuine international feel and solid ensemble cast, this Apple original stands shoulder to shoulder with Mythic Quest, Ted Lasso or The Morning Show in terms of quality. It embraces formula and respects genre tropes without feeling stale, jaded or just plain lazy, not only delivering a solid piece of long-form content, but also underpinning Apple’s reputation for quality over quantity.
A strong ensemble cast delivers in another taut Apple original