Who Is Erin Carter? is overburdened by cliché, an unhurried pace, and contrived plotting.
This review of the Netflix series Who Is Erin Carter Season 1 does not contain spoilers.
The Netflix drama Who is Erin Carter? asks a question that it spends seven episodes answering, but for the audience, it’s easy to tell.
Not the specifics, of course – those are to be gradually unfurled across the course of several episodes. But in general, certainly. The titular Erin (Evin Ahmad) is a familiar archetype, a woman with a shady past and a quietly dangerous demeanor who thought she had left a life behind. As it turns out, no such luck.
Who Is Erin Carter? Season 1 review and plot summary
More specifically, Erin is a substitute teacher who has fled England for reasons unknown and has been living in Spain for five years with her preteen daughter, Harper (Indica Watson). Harper has a deteriorating eye condition and seems slightly predisposed to solving problems with violence, which turns out to be genetic.
The point is made clear when Erin and Harper pop into a supermarket to use the facilities and end up in the midst of an armed robbery. Erin intervenes and handily despatches the assailants with a comfortability a schoolteacher shouldn’t possess. As if it wasn’t clear enough, one of the perpetrators recognizes her from the past.
Pretty soon, Erin is plastered all over the media, which she doesn’t take well, and the surviving robber from the initial incident is lurking around all suspicious-like. What is Erin hiding? Why does she have a gun in the attic? Why did she leave England, and why is she immediately recognizable to armed criminals?
Well, these are the essential questions, aren’t they? “Seemingly normal person reveals a particular set of skills” is a highly popular subgenre because it’s easy wish-fulfillment. I imagine every schoolteacher, or doctor, or accountant, or whatever, has secretly wished they were really a schoolteacher or doctor or accountant who used to be a government assassin or some such. That’s why people like this kind of thing.
But it still needs to be done well, and Who is Erin Carter? isn’t really. It’s mostly fine, but it suffers from contrived plotting, unconvincing performances (other than Indica Watson’s, anyway), and an unhurried pace that can’t quite live up to expectations even when it gets going. There’s a better show here with fewer – or at least shorter – episodes that a decent editor could have shaped into life.
As things stand, this feels like the stunted offspring of much better shows with deeper emotion, more mystery, and better-crafted action (the occasional set-piece livens things up, but there’s nothing especially memorable.) Many characters and subplots feel like transplants from different shows altogether, and you can tell that nobody has any real idea which of them deserves focus. BAFTA-nominated writer Jack Lothian is responsible for a bafflingly bad script loaded with dodgy plotting and even dodgier dialogue.
Is Who Is Erin Carter? good or bad?
In the grand scheme of things, Who Is Erin Carter? couldn’t be justifiably described as good, though it’ll be incredibly popular anyway because it’s almost scientifically suited to Netflix’s algorithm. Provocative title, comfortably familiar premise, picturesque Barcelona location shooting, and a beautiful female lead? Sign me up!
None of this, though, is really an indication of quality, and when it’s pushed, Who Is Erin Carter? can’t live up to the many better shows it takes such obvious inspiration from.
Is Who Is Erin Carter worth watching?
Seasoned genre hounds should probably skip this since it’s offering little they haven’t seen before. There might be a case to make for a couple of the performances, but they’re consistently underserved by ropey material, so maybe look out for them in something else instead.
What did you think of Who Is Erin Carter Season 1? Comment below.
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