New Spanish adaptation of a Harlan Coben thriller
The series transposes the story of Coben’s New Jersey to the Catalan capital of Barcelona and follows the novel more or less faithfully. The central character of The innocent is Mateo Vidal. After accidentally killing someone in a bar fight, Mat spends four years in prison. Once his sentence is over, Mat rebuilds his life, with the help of his brother, and meets Olivia Costa, whom he marries. One day, however, Mat receives a shocking call from Olivia. It will be the start of Mat’s frantic race to uncover the truth and prove his innocence.
With an original structure based on characters, The innocent is a tailor-made series for those who love unpredictable twists and turns. There are so many baffling twists and turns in this story that it will make your head spin. But above all, this is another great adaptation of one of Harlan Coben’s captivating thrillers, created and directed by Orio Paulo (The invisible guest), who also wrote the screenplay with Guillem Clua and Jordi Vallejo. The series was produced by Sospecha Films and Think Studio for Netflix, with Harlan Coben as one of the executive producers.
The innocent opens with the night that forever changed young law student Mat, (played by Mario Casas who recently won the Goya Award for Best Actor for his role in David Victori Cross the line). Mat is drinking with his brother Isma (Jordi Coll). At the club, Mat catches the attention of a girl named Eva across the dance floor. Hugo, Eva’s friend, is not very happy with this and chooses a fight with Isma. Mat, however, soon finds himself pushed into the fight and accidentally kills one of Hugo’s friends.
In a voiceover, Mat explains the impact that night had on his life, and how now, eight years later, with four in prison, he is now married to Olivia (Aura Garrido), a woman he has met. in a bar. . However, while Olivia is on a business trip to Berlin, Mat continues to receive strange messages from Olivia’s phone from a man who appears to want to blackmail her. But his search for his wife is cut short when he meets Inspector Lorena Ortiz (Alexandra Jiménez), who seeks to question him about a seemingly unrelated suicide case.
The second episode begins as a whole new series. Mat’s story is put aside as the series introduces a new character, Lorena Ortiz, and she tells about her life and what led her to become a police detective. Each new episode works in a similar fashion, introducing viewers to new characters, who in voiceovers introduce themselves and tell their stories, taking us further and further away from the original storyline involving Mat. It slowly becomes Olivia’s story, uncovering the many secrets surrounding her past that she has kept from her husband.
It’s an original and intriguing structure, but one that can also frustrate some viewers. By presenting a character this way with each new episode, the series builds up a myriad of perspectives and patterns. Each person has a reason for behaving the way they do, and that is informed, the show suggests, by their past experiences and backgrounds. Past actions have consequences, in other words, or as the series subtitle says, “No one can escape their past.” The past of Lorena Ortiz, losing her father at such a young age and then abandoned by her mother, the series thus suggests, forged her determined and career-focused character that led her to be such a great inspector.
The innocent is an excellent adaptation, structuring its intriguing scenario around a few strong character arcs, interpreted by a large cast. This is Netflix’s third adaptation of Harlan Coben’s work after The foreigner and Woods. A French adaptation of Gone for good is to come.