Criminal Justice: Behind Closed Doors

Criminal Justice: Behind Closed Doors
Criminal Justice: Behind Closed Doors

Can a perfect father to a teenage daughter rape his wife behind closed doors? Can a professional and powerful woman fall prey to misogyny in the confines of her home? The unlikely answers to both these uncomfortable questions is yes, and often the victim herself is unaware of the reality. Criminal Justice Behind Closed Doors takes a peek inside the posh homes of the rich and the powerful, and the truths that lurk there.

The eight-episode Hotstar Special series moves slowly as it reveals an open-and-shut murder case. The plot is simple – a housewife stabs her husband, with her 12-year-old daughter as the only witness. She confesses to the crime immediately and sticks to it. It is only when state lawyers - Pankaj Tripathi and Anupriya Goenka - start chipping away at the motive of murder that hidden facets start emerging.

Here are some of the reasons why you shouldn't miss it:It Acknowledges Marital Rape, Even If The IPC Doesn't: The Indian Penal Code (IPC) considers forced sex in marriages as a crime only when the wife is below age 15. Hence, marital rape is not a criminal offence. However, this show highlights how rape is still rape, regardless of the marital status of the rapist. 

Sensitively Handles Emotional Abuse: It is pretty clear right from the first episode that Anuradha has been a victim of consistent emotional abuse at the hands of her husband. Never going over the top, the show quite sensitively handles the subtle nuances that abusers use to groom their victims. 

Pankaj Tripathi Is an Unlikely Hero: He doesn't scream in court; he doesn't use brash words to make a point. And for majority of the show he is quite clueless about the person he is defending. But that's what makes him such an unlikely hero, but exactly the kind the show needed. He is a stable rock through the tornado that this show is. 

The Women in The Show Steal the Limelight: From Anupriya Goenka, who plays the emotionally-conflicted lawyer to Shilpa Shukla, the rich cold-blooded kid in jail to Deepti Naval, the mother of the accused, Kirti Kulhari, the victim whose case forms the basis of this season to Khushboo Atre, who plays Pankaj Tripathi's quirky and 'woke' wife, and Kalyanee Mulay, a cop whose husband is fighting for the wrong side. Every single female character in this show is a delight to watch on-screen and impeccably written. 

Ashish Vidyarthi Manages to Make You Hate Him with Some Powerful Dialogues: Ashish's character will make you hate him with a vengeance. His one dialogue, "Humarey desh main anyway marital rape is not considered an offence" stays with you long after the show ends. Said with so much conviction, it stands as reflection of how society views marital rape. 

It May Be Predictable but The Story Still Holds Ground: Even though you know exactly what's happening in the first 2 episodes, the story grips you and pulls you through. It takes you through the life of a female prisoner, a woman who having a child out of wedlock, a woman abused and tormented to believe she is so mentally ill. 

This season of Criminal Justice is rightfully named Behind Closed Doors, as it takes a look at the tormented life of a woman held prisoner in her own home. Writer Apurva Asrani also deserves applause for laying open the doors of Indian justice system and a women’s prison for the public like never before. One can’t help but wriggle in discomfort as Kirti struggles with sexual abuse, violence, manipulation, lack of hygiene and a never-ending fear in a jail. Her restlessness and uneasiness keeps you intrigued as she continues to strive behind bars without having any means to get justice.


-Riya Singh