Inside Man

Inside Man is a drama-thriller television serial developed by Steven Moffat. The four-episode series premiered on September 26, 2022, and was broadcast on BBC One. It was released on Netflix in the US on October 31, 2022. The series stars David Tennant, Stanley Tucci, Dolly Wells, Lydia West, Lyndsey Marshal and Dylan Baker. Is the series worth your time? Well, that depends.

Anyone familiar with the works of Steven Moffat – viz. Dracula, Sherlock and The Time Traveler’s Wife – will be aware that Moffat tries very hard to deliver clever writing. Thus, there is quite a great amount of effort spent to subvert the audience’s expectations. In addition, Moffat’s writing tends to be ultra-meta as well, appearing to give the audience a nod and a wink in the course of the narrative – as if to say – “look how clever I am”.

This is clearly evident in Inside Man. Now, the official premise is a little obtuse:

A prisoner on death row in the US and a woman trapped in a cellar under an English vicarage, cross paths in the most unexpected way.

Without spoiling the story, the above statement is misleading. The woman in question is Janice Fife (Wells), a tutor who due to a rather (in)convenient sequence of events, ends up being a prisoner of her student’s father, a local Vicar (Tennant). So how does the death row prisoner Grieff (Tucci) get involved? After all, Grieff is in the US prison system while Fife is in England. Suffice to say, in quite possibly the most unlikely manner.

Grieff is in fact being interviewed by an English journalist Beth Davenport (West) – an acquaintance of Fife – for being somewhat of a Hannibal Lector. No, Grieff is no cannibal – instead he helps people to solve seemingly unsolvable mysteries. Thus, Grieff – ultimately – takes on the case of Fife’s disappearance.

Thus, Inside Man would have its audience buy into this most tenuous link between the characters. From that point on, the series carries on like a thriller with characters having to make major decisions in order to survive. However, most of the characters come across as dumb and idiotic in order for Moffat’s writing to make any sense. Hmmm.

Worst still, the explanation of the series title comes from Grieff’s pontification that the man inside (a better title?) every man is capable of murder if the right circumstances existed. In the final analysis, Inside Man isn’t bad, it’s just not as clever as it thinks. Check out the first episode to decide whether to binge-watch or not.

Watch Inside Man on Netflix.

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