Truth Be Told Season 3 Review – run-of-the-mill true crime with a powerful message

By Adam Lock
Published: January 20, 2023 (Last updated: 2 weeks ago)
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Truth Be Told has flashes of brilliance, exploring racism and sexism in a challenging way. Yet it ruins any build-up with far-fetched plot twists and a need to revert to melodrama from time to time. There’s some exceptional acting on display here though, with Gabrielle Union elevating the series on the whole in an otherwise standard offering.

We review the Apple TV+ series Truth Be Told Season 3, which does not contain spoilers.

The true crime genre has become an unstoppable behemoth in recent years, leading to many TV shows, films, and podcasts. The podcast world, in particular, is overrun with these true crime stories, presented by amateur sleuths on the hunt for real-life murderers. Due to its sudden popularity, it was only a matter of time before these tales would make the shift into the TV narrative as well. Everyone is familiar with Hulu’s highly successful series Only Murders in the Building, but Apple TV+ have its own equivalent, Truth Be Told, which is back for a third season.

Truth Be Told Season 3 Review and Plot Summary

The show is led by Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures), who plays investigative journalist Poppy Scoville. This calming and considerate reporter hosts her own podcast series, where she delves into local mysteries with the aid of detective Aames (David Lyons). In season three, Poppy is searching for missing teenager Drea Spivey, who she happens to know in person. Unfortunately, another sixteen-year-old girl, from Drea’s high school, called Emily Mills, has also gone missing at the very same time. It would seem the police department and the media for that matter are more interested in finding this white, upper-class student than spending any decent time searching for the poorer, black girl, Drea.

Poppy is determined to track down both of these missing teens, whilst also highlighting the racial injustice that is rife in the community. She teams up with unorthodox Principal Eva Pierre (Gabrielle Union), whose school has been ravaged by these disappearances. Together they make a stand, targeting the mayoral campaign and front-runner Andrew Finney (Peter Gallagher). The dual investigations uncover shocking revelations in Oakland and a seedy underworld that none of the individuals caught up in this saga are fully prepared for.

These big twists explore powerful and topical themes that are highly relevant in the current climate.  Although at times, the showrunners’ approach can be heavy-handed or unexpectedly over-the-top. This unnecessary leaning into melodrama territory spoils the show’s overall quality, yet Truth Be Told still carries an important message, addressing issues of racism and sexism in a provocative manner.

Is Truth Be Told season 3 good?

The series is hit-and-miss on the whole, swaying from intense, captivating crime drama, all the way into bland, poorly-paced daytime drama. It’s well acted, with a special shout-out to Gabrielle Union in particular for her impressive performance, yet it is missing serious star power overall. The visuals can be mediocre at best and the narrative drags from time to time, but it is the sensational aspects of the show that do the most damage.

Interesting plot beats are ruined with far-fetched plot twists and a tendency to push for shock tactics to keep viewers’ engagement. Instead of focusing on the emotional toll of all this drama, the creatives take the easier, more theatrical route. Which doesn’t gel with Poppy’s calming influence or the show’s earlier, more serious approach. Truth Be Told constantly contradicts itself in tone and storytelling, which upends a promising true crime series in the end.

What did you think of Truth Be Told season 3? Comment below.

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