It’s shorter than the first season but doesn’t lack any of its quality and power. Delhi Crime Season 2 is more than worthy follow-up to its award-winning predecessor.
This review of Delhi Crime Season 2 is spoiler-free.
Netflix’s Delhi Crime was a surprise when it debuted in 2019, premiering two episodes at the Sundance International Film Festival, being released in full on Netflix, and being the first Indian series to win the Emmy award for Outstanding Drama Series. But the plaudits were well deserved. It was a grim but riveting series about a real-life case that wasn’t just a mystery but also a large-scale examination of the cultural and political context it existed within. A second season was virtually inevitable.
And the second season is probably just as good, though admittedly shorter, spread across just five episodes. Since I find myself complaining about unnecessarily bloated Netflix series day in and day out, that’s fine for me – the taut plot, spinning out of a quadruple murder in a South Delhi bungalow that might have been committed by a gang that has remained inactive since the 90s, grips you from the off and never let’s go.
But for DCP Vartika Chaturvedi and her returning colleagues, and indeed for the audience, this is far from a run-of-the-mill whodunit. The word of the day is perhaps “frustrating”, so littered is the case with roadblocks, dead ends, deliberate obfuscation, warring motivations, and interwoven politics. The process is painstaking. The task feels gargantuan and perhaps impossible. This is the furthest thing from made-for-TV sensationalism, as concerned with realism and bureaucracy as a docuseries might be.
This is what makes Delhi Crime Season 2 so riveting. The personal and professional challenges that the officers must surmount feel like organic outgrowths of the setting and its politics and culture. The cast rises to the task once again, delving into the psychological and emotional strife of the job, adding a deeply human contour to the proceduralism that is a staple of the genre. Delhi Crime has no interest in letting you forget how grim all of this is.
As before, it remains a showcase primarily for women, with the ensemble’s standouts all representing a distinct femininity even in the midst of a male-dominated job, genre, and culture. While it lacks the surprise of the first season, Delhi Crime Season 2 has lost nothing that was great about it – for once, I could perhaps have even done with a couple of episodes more.