One of the best foreign TV series of fall, 2017, Thou Shalt Not Kill (known in its native Italy as Non Uccidere), is now on Walter Presents. This smart, engrossing procedural, features intriguing cases and a savvy young detective full of complications in both her professional and personal life, all set against a backdrop of Italian architecture, style, and culture. The netTVwatch team enjoyed every minute.
Miriam Leone plays Inspector Valeria Ferro, a focused, unsmiling investigator on the Turin, Italy, police force whose methods often rub her colleagues the wrong way. Her boss and boyfriend, Giorgio Lombardi (Thomas Trabacchi), bows to political pressure and influence. She does not. Ferro looks improbably young to be head of a homicide squad, but her confidence and insight are on point.
The cases are unusual. Not the crimes themselves, but the surrounding circumstances. Shades of Guilt comes to mind. Obvious suspects arise in each investigation. The murderer is usually someone else, but shared guilt and related crimes are part of the mix. Events move at a steady pace without dragging. There is not a lot of action, per se, and only flashes of sex and violence, yet the blend of crime and drama make for binge-worthy viewing.
Each story stretches over two 50-minute episodes, allowing time for character development and complexity. While the stories are crime related, they are also about families, the victim’s and/or the criminal’s. Absent parents, long-held grudges, culture clashes, and mental disorders create the conflicts.
Ferro’s family shares the same issues. Like all TV detectives, Ferro has personal problems. A long story arc spans Thou Shalt Not Kill TV series season 1 as we decipher who is who in Valeria’s family and what the dynamics are. Old wounds are reopened, then partially healed, but an outsider intrudes and upsets the balance. What’s happening in Valeria’s family often parallels aspects of the cases she’s solving.
The stories include some Italian-style melodrama, similar to that in most French TV series we’ve seen, but it’s not excessive. Likewise, these detectives are casual. Jeans and sweaters are the norm for most of the cops. We also offer fair warning that some of the victims are teenage girls and young children. Affairs with older men and relationships with an uneven balance of power are common. None of this is graphic or sensationalized.
The camerawork, lighting, and soundtrack in Thou Shalt Not Kill all deserve special mention. They are artful and enhance without being obtrusive. Claudia Corbucci created the series. Giuseppe Gagliardi directed all 12 episodes of season 1, which aired on the RAI3 network beginning in 2015. Thou Shalt Not Kill TV series season 2 is complete, but not yet available in the US. Let’s hope it arrives on Walter Presents soon.