Black Earth Rising

Black Earth Rising

TV-MA

netflix

A powerful political thriller led by the always-compelling Michaela Coel

7.3

TV Show

UK, United Kingdom
English, Kinyarwanda
Crime, Drama
2018
HUGO BLICK
Abena Ayivor, Danny Sapani, Emmanuel Imani
60 min

What it's about

As a child, Kate Ashby was rescued from the horrific aftermath of the Rwandan genocide and brought to the UK. But the tragic shadow of her past proves impossible to escape.

The take

It starts off slowly, if a bit unevenly, but Black Earth Rising gradually finds its footing over the course of eight episodes. The series, a political thriller that takes a closer look at the legality of international war crimes, is led by the ever-commanding Michaela Coel and always-reliable John Goodman. 

As the Rwandan adoptee and legal investigator Kate Ashby, Coel attempts to reconcile her internal turmoil with that of the cases she's tasked with. She's at once indignant and empathetic, shut off and loving. She wants to be grateful for surviving a genocide and finding a home in the UK, but guilt is eating away at her. On top of the dangers that she faces as a refugee and investigator, Kate is also dealing with depression, and it's a testament to the show's skill that her condition is treated with as much thought and care as the other, more excitable aspects of the show. 

As Kate digs deeper into the mystery of who she is and exposes, along the way, the bloody involvement of different countries and institutes in African affairs, we’re forced to confront ethical questions (difficult but necessary) that stay with us long after the credits have rolled.

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