The Trial season 1 review – Italian Netflix series provides an absorbing prosecutor

By Daniel Hart
Published: April 10, 2020 (Last updated: December 8, 2023)
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Netflix series The Trial season 1 (Il Processo)


With absorbing characters and consistent direction, Netflix Italian series The Trial is worth the audience’s time, coupled with an absorbing character.

This review of Netflix series The Trial season 1 (Il Processo) contains no spoilers. The Italian drama came out on April 10, 2020.

In the opening of The Trial (Il Processo), Elena lectures a class full of young students about her job as a prosecutor. She describes the processes, while the teacher tentatively remains muted. Elena purposefully investigates a girl’s missing and stolen green pen and then proceeds to investigate a young boy nearby. The young boy is clearly nervous, especially because he has green ink on his hands. He denies any involvement in the daylight robbery, claiming he brings in pens all the time. Elena smartly suggests that when she interrogates, she can sniff for the truth.

The whole purpose of the opening scene, of Elena trialing children, is to provide a taster of what’s to come. Elena may have been teasing the class, but her demeanor is mirrored in subsequent scenes when she interviews actual suspects. Elena is not the only lead character in The Trial, but she’s absolutely absorbing. A professional at the top of her career, with a failing marriage and a single chance to reignite it, Elena is a character that cannot help take the case that is central to the Italian Netflix series.

The Trial puts Elena in a somewhat precarious position. She has one chance to save her marriage with a man that was ready to leave but there’s a murder case that tragically grabs her attention; she has ties to the murder victim. Elena has immediate suspects, but she has a hotshot opposition lawyer to deal with, who is determined to take this as a one “once in a lifetime” opportunity. The Trial is a sudden battle of wits, with well-drilled patient performances and an eking mystery.

The Trial relies on that obsession of what goes with an ongoing case — that anticipation of how it will pan out in court is easy drama to trigger. Elena represents all of us; that inner human desire to find any conspiracy within a scenario and to find out the ultimate truth. Of course, that is a prosecutor’s job, but in order for a series like this to work, you have to feel it.

The Trial is shot in a way that feels grainy. The world that these characters live in feels subdued and routine; I imagine that’s what it is like when you are repeatedly living in a world of crime, trying earnestly to bring down the bad guys. Its grey nature and efficient direction induces the mood of the story. There is little light to contend with, and even when there is, it is shrouded by the depression.

There’s plenty of content to sink your teeth into on streaming platforms at present, but do not turn your nose the other way because of subtitles. Netflix series The Trial Season 1, or in its Italian form, Il Processo, is worth one of your days over the weekend. The mystery is too impactful to put down.

Netflix, TV Reviews
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