Good and Evil, a dark and gritty crime drama from Italy, has been available in the US for a while, and if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s worth a watch.
Set in Turin, Good and Evil (Il bene e il male) isn’t your typical crime drama with linear storylines. Rather, plots are in medias res — in the middle — at the beginning of each episode, with the subsequent action going back in time to set up the story before moving it forward.
Another difference between this and most other series is the breaking of the fourth wall, which occurs at the start of the first four episodes. This plot device introduces us to each of the main characters, offers tidbits about their histories, and gives us context about what helped to shape these men and women and to inform the choices they make.
These choices — made on the side of good or evil — and their repercussions comprise the series’ theme. And the distinction between the two sides is often blurred, regardless of which side of the law a character is on, depending on that person’s point of view.
The lead character is Inspector Claudio Anastasi (Gianmarco Tognazzi, Anti-Mafia Squad, Thou Shalt Not Kill) of the Olimpico police precinct. He has devoted his life to being a cop and his marriage to Margherita (Francesca Cavallin, Rocco Schiavone) has suffered because of it. A serious ouch moment comes in the series opener during a conversation Claudio has with his friend, Judge Giudice Somaschi (Cosimo Fusco, Rome), when the latter makes a remark about the former not having children because of his job.
What follows is the actual start of the arc across all twelve episodes: The mystery of the murder of Fabiana Cortesi (Gea Lionello, Crime Evidence), Claudio’s close friend and colleague at the Mirafiori precinct. Fabiana is conducting a solo investigation and asks Claudio to join her but won’t give him any details. Word has it that she’s a corrupt cop, so it’s not like he has infinite trust in her, either. Fast forward: There’s a shootout and Fabiana is killed in front of Claudio.
Enter Mariella Fioretti (Antonia Liskova, Thou Shalt Not Kill, Inspector Montalbano), a young, no-nonsense, and inflexible public prosecutor on the outside and a damaged and insecure woman on the inside. Her relationship with Leonardo, her married lover and corrupt colleague, offers little in the way of authentic fulfillment and, as we learn later, his using her goes beyond sex.
The hot-tempered Claudio is livid that Mariella is handling Fabiana’s murder case, and she is insistent that he follow the rules and stay out of it. As if. With help from his colleague Inspector Bruno Murru (Pier Luigi Misasi (Mafia Undercover) and ex-lover Inspector Grazia Micheli (Bianca Guaccero, Capri, Shadows in the Sun), Claudio discovers a link between Fabiana and Pietro Marconi (Marco Falaguasta, Fear of Loving, Il restauratore), the head of a criminal gang who believes his work is on the side of good, despite his methods being on the side of evil. What Claudio doesn’t know is that Grazia was in a relationship with Pietro, too.
As the series progresses, we see how individuals’ actions, no matter how well-intended or accidental, can snowball and result in outcomes that impact their and others’ lives in ways they hadn’t anticipated.
Costars in the series include Luca Seta (Don Matteo), Giorgio Marchesi (The Family), Marta Gastini (Borgia), Alessandro Pess (The Falcon and the Dove), Paolo Casiraghi (Don Matteo), Riccardo Leto (Thou Shalt Not Kill), and Fabio Galli (Crimes).
Good and Evil is currently streaming in the US on Vibrant TV.
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