Number of episodes: 10
Cast: Tom Cullen, O.T. Fagbenle, Lee Ingleby, Sarah Solemani
The Five is a British crime drama created by renowned author Harlan Coben. With a very intriguing plot and well written characters, this gripping drama is the perfect recipe for a crime thriller. I don’t know if it’s because the creator Harlan Coben is a writer, the characters have so much depth with each one having distinctive shades.
The story begins in 1995 when the lives of four young friends- Mark, Danny, Slade and Pru change with the disappearance of Mark’s five year old brother, Jesse, in a forest. All the four friends have something to hide about the disappearance which they don’t reveal. All the four reek with guilt. Each one is traumatized by that incident. A serial killer, Jacob, admits to have found Jesse roaming in the forest and subsequently killing him. Distraught, everyone moves on with their lives.
After 20 years, Danny- now a cop comes across a case where a DNA matching to Jesse is found in a murder scene. Does this mean Jesse is alive? Has he turned into a murderer? Why didn’t he come back to his family when he is alive? Danny informs his findings to the rest of his friends and the fact that there is a possibility that Jesse might be alive. This news excites them and they decide to get to the bottom of it. What comes after is a thrilling journey with more murders, more evidences suggesting Jesse is alive, several secrets divulged straining the long years of friendship, and numerous twists and turns drastically changing the course of the cases.
The best part of this show was it kept me glued to every scene, forced me to travel along with every character and feel every emotion of theirs. Every character has its own parallel tracks too. My favorite was Danny and his father’s story where Danny struggles to handle his father who suffers from severe Alzheimer. Slade, who runs a shelter, has a very dark shade to him which made me suspect him throughout of some wrongdoing. Out of the four, I felt Mark’s character, a lawyer, to be the weakest. He is Jesse’s brother and hence holds more prominence than the other characters. But somewhere in order to make him look the strong but desperate brother, he ended up being very irritating at the end. The narration is topped with several clues, some of which prove Jesse is alive, and some of which prove otherwise. In addition, we get flashes from the four friends’ childhood making us weave our own theory, suspecting one of the four to have had a hand in Jesse’s disappearance/death. As a viewer I struggled to decide if I should get my hopes high or not, to believe if Jesse was alive or not, which in itself got me going till the last episode without losing even a tiny bit of interest. The climax is one of the most satisfying ends I have seen in recent times.
The background music and certain songs played in between were excellent. They went with the mood of the scenes so effectively. Another thing which I loved was, every episode ended with a cliff-hanger compelling me to run to the next episode immediately. The performances were good but nothing extraordinary. No one stood out but all were equally good.
The Five is a must watch for someone who loves slow crime thrillers; it’s just like reading a book. The plot is set in the first two episodes, then action for the next few episodes, followed by the story steering towards the end. This show has definitely kindled my interest in reading Harlan Coben’s books. I really hope he writes more for TV too.