• Network: NETFLIX
  • Series Premiere Date: Sep 13, 2019
Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22

Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Aaron Barnhart
    Sep 17, 2019
    100
    What Unbelievable shows is that you can make a scripted show about our broken criminal justice system that is as entertaining and human and likable and satisfying as any paint-by-numbers drama, if not more so.
  2. Reviewed by: Lauren Thoman
    Sep 13, 2019
    100
    All three leads delivering powerhouse performances that make it feel as though they’ve been embodying these characters for eight years rather than eight episodes. ... While the writing is definitely elevated by the quality of the cast, the script is lean and moves along at a snappy pace, striking a perfect balance between exhilarating tension and deep despair, and explaining just enough of its technical procedural elements to never leave the audience behind.
  3. Reviewed by: Jen Chaney
    Sep 9, 2019
    100
    Unbelievable, one of the best crime dramas in recent memory and one of the best shows of 2019. ... Wever and Collette both create fully authentic women who ooze integrity but also have enough insecurities and make enough mistakes to seem like actual human beings instead of stock “good cops.” Dever does beautiful work as the damaged, achingly vulnerable Marie. ... Unbelievable is a superb example of what show-don’t-tell storytelling looks like.
  4. Reviewed by: Allison Shoemaker
    Sep 11, 2019
    95
    The performances from Colette, Wever, and Dever are uniformly excellent, with Dever equally parts devastating and subtle. Frankly the entire cast, and Macdonald in particular, does terrific work, but the series belongs to those three. ... Unbelievable is a series of such quiet power that its full impact may not come crashing down until after its conclusion.
  5. Reviewed by: Krutika Mallikarjuna
    Sep 13, 2019
    92
    Karen and Grace's tentative partnership is in turns comedic, antagonistic, judgmental, and extremely supportive, and Wever and Collette's chemistry is pitch perfect. ... The obstacles to reporting rape and other crimes of sexual nature are still to this day, astronomical. But the women of Unbelievable make it feel like justice could be within our grasp.
  6. Reviewed by: Glenn Garvin
    Sep 21, 2019
    90
    If that sounds tedious, it isn't. Unbelievable, the rare crime drama with no bang-bang and scarcely any on-screen violence of any kind (even the rapes, seen only from the eyes of blindfolded, trussed-up victims, are confused and fragmentary), is still a relentlessly compelling binge-watch event.
  7. Reviewed by: Kevin Fallon
    Sep 12, 2019
    90
    It’s a thrilling, searing, and most of all rage-inducing telling of negligence, institutional misogyny, and victim injustice. It’s also an impressive, no-frills procedural. ... The series is yet another reminder that hard-to-watch and must-watch are descriptions that are no longer mutually exclusive.
  8. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Sep 12, 2019
    88
    Thanks to the strong writing and the finely calibrated performances by Wever and Collette, there’s nothing stale about the execution of the timeworn buddy-cop formula. ... This is a smart and knowing investigative procedural, a stylish but never exploitative true-crime story, an insightful character study — and one of the best series of the year.
  9. Reviewed by: Brian Tallerico
    Sep 10, 2019
    88
    Some of the dialogue between Karen and Grace can be a bit superficial and clichéd, but it’s a TV sin that’s easy to forgive given how much the actors bring to the roles. For every line that Collette delivers that sounds a bit regrettably over-written, there’s a choice she makes as an actress that re-balances the scales. And as spectacular as Collette and Dever are here, it’s really Wever’s show. She literally never strikes a false note.
  10. Reviewed by: Kristen Baldwin
    Sep 3, 2019
    83
    It is not a spoiler to say that watching Unbelievable is an extremely satisfying experience — not just for its storytelling, but for its depiction of women who confront their reality rather than succumbing to it.
  11. Reviewed by: Ashlie D. Stevens
    Sep 18, 2019
    80
    While not a spotless transition from article to script — some of the dialogue is a touch stilted and the in-station investigation scenes has some elements of a dramatic “Criminal Minds” breakthrough — it’s very much a “show, don’t tell” portrayal of the real-life events and fallout, which lands in a must-watch spot that is thought-provoking without being preachy.
  12. Reviewed by: Robert Lloyd
    Sep 18, 2019
    80
    It's worth watching from beginning to end. ... The series has some points to make, which are variously worked into or laid on top of the action, but even when the script highlights statistics, it feels appropriate enough, and germane to the sociopolitical moment.
  13. TV Guide Magazine
    Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Sep 16, 2019
    80
    Gripping as a page-turner and also incredibly moving. [16-29 Sep 2019, p.25]
  14. Reviewed by: Mike Hale
    Sep 13, 2019
    80
    You can get past some inconsistencies and superfluous piety, though, on the sheer pull of the story and on the overall strength of the performances. Collette and Wever, two of the best actresses around, are great together.
  15. Reviewed by: Dan Fienberg
    Sep 10, 2019
    80
    Unbelievable is remarkably adroit, striking a tone that easily could have wallowed in misery instead. Yes, it's hard to watch at times, especially in its opening installment, but it's simultaneously smart, carefully crafted, occasionally funny and told with a narrative economy I consistently admired.
  16. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Sep 10, 2019
    80
    With Unbelievable, the creative team and superb cast treat the subject with the seriousness and grace it deserves, while also telling one hell of a story along the way.
  17. Reviewed by: Judy Berman
    Sep 4, 2019
    80
    The show can get didactic, shoehorning statistics into dialogue and repeating easily inferred points about how police tend to botch rape investigations. Subtlety comes from the actors, not their dialogue. ... Unbelievable isn’t light viewing. But in defending reality against received wisdom and eschewing suspense in favor of insight, it makes a plea for revising simplistic rape narratives that should be impossible to ignore.
  18. Reviewed by: Daniel D'Addario
    Sep 3, 2019
    80
    This series has things it wants to say: That it says them plainly is a virtue, and allows us to see the story more clearly. As a document of trauma, overcome both through justice and through a hard-won fight to find self-worth, “Unbelievable” soars.
  19. Reviewed by: Kelly Lawler
    Sep 13, 2019
    75
    "Unbelievable" has such an unbelievable story at its center that the clunkiness grates less as the episodes go on. The series is a warning, a devastating example of the consequences of not believing women. But the writers successfully prevent it from becoming pedantic or hacky. This isn't an after-school special about rape. The blunt, unbecoming direction delivers the message without interference.
  20. Reviewed by: Danette Chavez
    Sep 11, 2019
    75
    The dialogue is just as heavy-handed about passing along stats about sexual-assault reporting as any episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. But its strength of focus keeps even the more formulaic parts from becoming stale. The series is just as invested in how survivors cope—and the socially acceptable ways in which to do so—as it is in how law enforcement can let them down.
  21. Reviewed by: Inkoo Kang
    Sep 12, 2019
    50
    This tale of unusual decency and competence feels nearly as depressing as the criminal sadism they’re investigating. Duvall and Rasmussen are based on actual detectives, but the show’s universe is so bleak they don’t entirely feel a part of it—or of ours. Unbelievable so meticulously catalogs the endless multitudes, terrifying randomness, and near inevitability of darkness that it makes it hard to see the light.
  22. Reviewed by: Niv M. Sultan
    Sep 4, 2019
    50
    Unbelievable commits to shedding light on the shortcomings of law enforcement, from the mishandling of sexual violence cases to the prevalence of so-called “bad apples” within police forces. The series, however, addresses these systemic issues heavy-handedly and delivers its didacticism in stilted dialogue.
User Score
6.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 31 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 31
  2. Negative: 7 out of 31
  1. Sep 15, 2019
    0
    This show represents what is wrong with many "socially aware" television shows in America. In its desire to be as "truthful" and "realistic"This show represents what is wrong with many "socially aware" television shows in America. In its desire to be as "truthful" and "realistic" as possible, we are served, in this case, the most detailed process of the police work, hospital, administrations etc...pertaining to a rape.
    The camera wants us to feel "as if we were there".
    However it fails miserably in its depiction of pain because we are engulfed by the tediousness of it all and end up not caring about the victim because her pain becomes totally alien to us.
    With just the eye of a camera to look at her, we are left with her blank stares most of the times, and the same recollection of the crime over and over again. As such, we are indeed, deep in the action, but, just like the cop or the nurse or the attorney or even the best friend or closest confident, utterly clueless about the reality of the victim's feelings, ideas, thoughts, desires etc....
    The only interesting angle of this musing on "rape" and the only one that could do it justice would be a naturalistic novel (think Darwin or Emile Zola maybe) that would reveal all the inner workings of our protagonist.
    ....or what a show like Rectify did back a few years. Or, people should watch the excellent "Elle"by Verhoeven with Isabelle Huppert for a really clever "feminist" take on rape. But that would require imagination, which the writers in that show sorely lacked.
    Full Review »
  2. Sep 14, 2019
    3
    I don't get warm with the series. First of all, I don't like the visual.
    This intermediate thing of real image and anime looks **** Then
    I don't get warm with the series. First of all, I don't like the visual.
    This intermediate thing of real image and anime looks **** Then please correct anime pictures.
    Then the plot is terribly boring.
    Full Review »
  3. Sep 16, 2019
    6
    Great performances and a solid true crime series, but also a bit sexist, imo. It seems to presuppose that male cops at the very least don'tGreat performances and a solid true crime series, but also a bit sexist, imo. It seems to presuppose that male cops at the very least don't care about rape/sexual assault or at worst are misogynist to the point they are too preoccupied with assaulting their own partners. I get the desire for strong female characters, and that these rapes, as with most rapes, happen to women, but to infer that male cops don't do their jobs because of some mach misogynist thing is disingenuous. Full Review »