Delhi Crime Season 2 Review: Fear and loathing in the city

This time, the Delhi Police unit tries to solve a case where wealthy senior citizens are being bludgeoned to death and their houses robbed


Sushmita Bose

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Published: Thu 15 Sep 2022, 6:38 PM

The first season of Delhi Crime won Best Drama Series at the 48th Emmy awards in 2020. The true crime series explored the Delhi Police investigation into the horrific Nirbhaya gang rape that took place on 16 December 2012 — a case that shook the nation, and the world at large, and resulted in large-scale amendments to India’s rape laws. While almost every single detail of the case per se is in the public domain, the series takes on the perspective of the rag-tag, overworked, underpaid police department (all characters are based on real-life counterparts) that managed to crack the case in a few days, and arrest the culprits — battling staggering infrastructural odds, at times using unconventional methods to make up for lack of manpower and resources.

That context remains the same in Season 2: the fact that the Indian capital — the fertile breeding ground of the maximum number of crimes in the country — is policed by a department that is still working against deafening odds. Most of the characters from Season 1 return in full force. DCP Vartika Chaturvedi (a superb Shefali Shah), who is leading the investigations’ cell, is now confronted with a series of gruesome murders with a class differentiator: a gang is bludgeoning high-net-worth elders to death at night, mucking up their well-appointed residences and then decamping with valuables and cash.

The modus operandi — or ‘MO’, as the investigating officers call it — is a throwback to a criminal gang manned by members of a ‘notified tribe’ that operated in the 1990s. Could it be that the next generation of those members have suddenly decided to take up the cudgels?

Vartika and her core team of Neeti Singh (Rasika Dugal, brilliant) and Inspector Bhupendra Singh (Rajesh Tailang, again brilliant), alongside a few other bright sparks (also there in the earlier season) who are working with the ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ credo, throw themselves into the case. Those in high places (read: government officials), like last time, are still on a fault-finding mission and therefore snapping at their heels to keep the pressure up.

In between, there is a spate of disguised activism: the tribals who get rounded up as potential suspects (with the help of a retired, and corrupt, officer who had been part of the 1990s’ investigations) are made to be our conscience-keepers, why is it that it’s always the ‘underprivileged’ that are targeted etc. — and this, the ‘woke-ism’, I thought went on for a tad too long, when it shouldn’t have since it’s a police procedural first.

But once the officers realise that the killings are a copycat version of the original 1990s’ murders, it’s back to business as usual, and the denouement is absolutely stunning. This is one of the finest showcases of top-class ensemble performances juxtaposed against real-life grittiness. You are likely to wrap up the series at one go, it’s all of (approx.) four hours, and, for the most part, utterly riveting.

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