Following in the footsteps of Netflix, Amazon is releasing TV shows with the “original series” label, that may or may not have been developed and produced by Amazon. The Fearless TV series is a case in point. This legal and political thriller first aired on Britain’s ITV, but Amazon acquired distribution rights for the US. Semantics aside, Fearless is worth your time. It intertwines two or three different stories, all related, with suspense and intrigue aplenty.
Though advertised as a legal thriller, Fearless quickly moves into political conspiracy and coverup territory. It’s appropriate for our time. In the name of national security, British citizens are surveilled and monitored. There is little true privacy.
Helen McCrory (Aunt Polly in Peaky Blinders) plays Emma Banville, an attorney who specializes in human rights cases. A Syrian woman and child are currently staying at her house to avoid persecution. Also, one very tolerant boyfriend. Emma gets a call from a woman whose ex-husband is in jail for the murder of a teenage girl 14 years ago. The woman, Annie, says her ex, Kevin (Sam Swainsbury), is innocent. Annie saw Emma on TV and decided the lawyer was Kevin’s best and last chance at proving his innocence.
As Emma agrees to take on the case, we find out she is under surveillance by agencies within the British government. The Syrian woman’s husband, a doctor, is suspected of helping ISIS. It’s not just that, though. Unnamed folks higher up are interested in what’s happening in Kevin’s case.
Digging deeper, Emma finds evidence of secrets and a possible cover-up in Kevin’s case. At the same time, her Syrian clients place her in an awkward position. And, did I mention Emma and boyfriend are trying to adopt a child?
Juggling all of this, it’s no surprise that Emma does not sleep well. She sometimes works through the night and always looks tired and stressed. She gets emotionally involved in both cases and is, perhaps, too hard on herself when things don’t go well. Though some of the personal drama may be overplayed, it’s to McCrory’s credit that Emma feels realistic, not like the average TV heroine.
Complexity – a number of characters and events are not mentioned here – keeps Fearless from being just another do-good lawyer story. Though a few things don’t ring true (e.g., the demonstration outside the hotel at the end of the first episode), the series generally feels plausible. Note – minor spoiler ahead. It’s worth note that this is the second series we’ve seen in recent weeks – Acceptable Risk is the other – to feature CIA involvement in the British Isles. Are they trying to tell us something?
Fearless was created and written by Patrick Harbinson, who is also an executive producer for Homeland. The TV series first aired on Britain’s ITV network in June, 2017. At six 45-minute episodes, Fearless goes by quickly. For thriller and political conspiracy fans, it’s a good choice for a weekend binge.
Fearless TV series trailer
(As with most trailers, minor spoilers included.)