Mario Casas as Mateo ’Mat’ Vidal in a scene from ’The Innocent’. Picture: Netflix
Mario Casas as Mateo ’Mat’ Vidal in a scene from ’The Innocent’. Picture: Netflix

The cloak and dagger storyline of 'The Innocent' has me hooked

By Debashine Thangevelo Time of article published May 31, 2021

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I’ve had one of those weeks where nothing seems to hold my attention long enough.

My whining is quite laughable when you take into account that I have the option of pay-TV, free-to-air channels and streaming platforms like Netflix and Showmax.

How can this conundrum be?

I can’t seem to find any new shows or return seasons of my favourite shows to sustain my interest.

A couple of weeks ago, I binged on season 2 of “Who Killed Sara?” in one afternoon.

This week, I started binging on season 3 of “Haunted” after “Superstition” with Mario Van Peeples.

All I will say on the latter show is that it got off to a promising start and went horribly pearshaped. It probably explains why a second instalment wasn’t considered.

With all this talk of “Friends: The Reunion”, I thought I should find myself a decent comedy. I haven’t watched one of those in a while.

Then I saw Walton Goggins, who is one of my favourite actors, was in “The Unicorn”.

Recently widowed, Goggins’ character opens up to the idea of dating again, with the help of his well-meaning friends. He fumbles his way through in his somewhat successful endeavour.

I watched episode one of the new season and couldn’t venture beyond that. It was rather pedestrian with its white picket fence scenario and “tokenism” casting.

Then I decided to stick to what hasn’t disappointed me of late - Spanish crime thrillers.

And “The Innocent” has delivered, although I did have some reservations at the start of it.

I’m on the fourth episode of the eight-part series and I’m enjoying the cloak-and-dagger storyline.

Did I mention the lead guy is a bonafide hottie?

When the series kicked off, the first half of the episode played out in a way that most writers would spend an entire series unpacking.

Several youngsters are at a party. Mateo “Mat” Vidal (Mario Casas), a law student, informs his brother he’s leaving. However, on his way out, he runs into a hottie and that’s when the night takes a turn for the worst.

It’s the usual testosterone-charged fight over a girl. Unfortunately, it ends with Mat accidentally killing Danny from the rival clique.

It is a decision that fills him with remorse, more so as the version of accounts during his sentence differed grossly from the actual chain of events.

The cast of “The Innocent”. Picture: Netflix

Four years behind bars, he is introduced back into society determined to reclaim his life and he starts working at his brother’s legal company.

And Olivia Costa (Aura Garrido), who he met while on furlough to attend the funeral of his parents, who died in a car accident, enters his life once again.

Not long after, his brother passes away from a stroke and Mat has to step up in the company and in his duty as an uncle.

When Olivia finds out she’s pregnant, they decide to move back to Mat’s old neighbourhood to be closer to his sister-in-law and niece and nephew.

But misfortune pays him a visit once again. Olivia, while on an alleged work trip to Berlin, goes silent for some time.

A strange man has her phone and sends Mat a questionable image and video.

While he tries to make sense of it all with Zoe (Anna Alarcón), a streetsmart private investigator who is worth her weight in gold, the untimely demise of a nun brings trouble to his door.

Lorena Ortiz (Alexandra Jiménez) is the investigator on the case. She’s savvy, smart and smells a rat after federal agents come sniffing around the case.

What I love about “The Innocent” is the layered storytelling.

The writers bolster the narrative with a minefield of red herrings.

They also explore the psychological and emotional triggers of the characters.

Mat, for all intents and purposes, was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time when his life spiralled out of control.

He just can’t seem to catch a break, though. Is there a greater enemy in play?

Well, with all the cover-ups and link back to influential political figures in play, it certainly seems like that could be the case.

“The Innocent” is definitely worth checking out on Netflix.

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