National Treasure

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  • TV-MA
  • 2016
  • 2 Seasons
  • 7.3  (3,237)

National Treasure is a British television drama series that premiered in 2016 as a miniseries on Channel 4, and later found its way to Hulu as an Originals in the United States. The show is a suspenseful thriller that explores one man's descent from national treasure to suspected criminal overnight. Written by Jack Thorne, famous for his work on the hit play "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child", the show is a fictitious representation of a high-profile sexual abuse case in the UK.

The show is set in modern-day London, where Paul Finchley (Robbie Coltrane) is a once beloved comedian who is now facing allegations of rape from a woman who claims he abused her when she was a minor. Paul's wife Marie (Julie Walters) is his rock and stands by him through the allegations, but as the story unfolds, even she isn't sure what to believe. Meanwhile, their daughter Dee (Andrea Riseborough) is trying to make sense of what's happening and initiate her own investigation as a journalist.

The show is split into four parts, each bringing a unique perspective to the case against Paul Finchley. Part one sets the stage for the show and introduces us to the characters. It starts with the news of the allegations breaking, throwing Paul's life and career into disarray. The story follows him and his family as they try to come to terms with the allegations against him, and him dealing with the pressures of the media and the law. We also get a glimpse into the fractured relationship that Paul has with his daughter Dee, which becomes an important plot point for the remainder of the show.

Part two delves deeper into Paul's side of the story, as he faces the accusations head-on in court. The trial scenes in the show are some of its best moments and give us a chance to see the legal system at work. Robbie Coltrane's performance as Paul is outstanding throughout the show, but especially in these scenes. His portrayal of a man desperately trying to maintain his innocence and dignity while being torn apart on the witness stand is moving and heart-wrenching.

Part three flips the narrative and shows us the accused abuser's past from the point of view of his accuser. This part of the show is significant as it gives us a glimpse into the effects of sexual abuse on the victim's life, and how it can ripple out to negatively impact their loved ones as well. The show does a brilliant job of portraying the intricacies of the victim's recollection of the event and keeping the storytelling sympathetic to her trauma.

Part four wraps up the series and brings several plot threads together while still managing to keep the tension high. The showrunners keep us guessing until the very end as to the outcome of the trial and the fates of the characters involved. Though the proceedings are fictionalized, this finale beautifully represents the complexity of issues in cases of sexual abuse, in the context of the larger societal dialogue around #MeToo and criminal justice reform.

The show's performances from its lead and supporting actors are all exceptional, and the writing and pacing of the story keep us engaged throughout. The show's creators never lose sight of their central theme- the exploration of powerful men, the people who worship them, and the systems that enable them to abuse people without consequence. National Treasure is a compelling, uncomfortable and challenging watch - it is an excellent representation of this often-ignored topic in a fictional narrative.

National Treasure is a series that is currently running and has 2 seasons (8 episodes). The series first aired on September 20, 2016.

National Treasure
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Where to Watch National Treasure
National Treasure is available for streaming on the Hulu Originals website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch National Treasure on demand at Apple TV Channels, Amazon Prime and Apple TV.
  • Premiere Date
    September 20, 2016
  • IMDB Rating
    7.3  (3,237)