“We may never know what motivated the killing, but we’re not required to prove motive,” a prosecutor says in a voiceover, as the back of the defendant’s head in the new Netflix series You Don’t Know Me comes into view. She then walks through a litany of evidence to bolster the government’s case. Traces of the victim’s blood found on the defendant. Cell phone records and CCTV footage that tie him to the crime scene. It’s a devastating summation.
We then get a title card for the series, almost in defiant reply to the prosecutor. White text on a black screen: You Don’t Know Me. The defendant, Hero, insists to the jury that he didn’t kill Jamil Issa, a South London drug dealer, despite what the evidence suggests. “You could have all that evidence, (and) you still wouldn’t understand anything about what happened.”
Why? Again, because as the title of this #10 show on Netflix today in the US declares, “you don’t know me.”
You Don’t Know Me Netflix series
Based on a novel of the same name from Imran Mahmood — and which uses a defendant’s closing argument as a narrative device around which to build the plot — the story here is partly a product of Mahmood drawing from the lives of clients he represented as a London barrister over the years.
You Don’t Know Me was the first novel from Mahmood. It got turned into the 4-episode crime drama now climbing up the Netflix charts.
“You know, part of me thought if I told my speech myself then at least you get to feel a little bit of what it is like to be me,” the protagonist tells the jury in the story. “That if my (lawyer) did it then maybe you would all be thinking, ‘Yeah, it’s all very well to put it over all shiny and slick but that (expletive’s) still a murderer.’ And I really did think that if I told my own story I could make you feel my life. But actually explaining the evidence out loud is proper hard.”
Reviews and reaction
The big question here, of course, is: Should you watch?
Understandably, many viewers might feel like there are far too many true-crime dramas and docs to watch, plus a never-ending crush of police procedurals and the like that are overtaking our favorite streaming services. Heck, You Don’t Know Me isn’t even the only crime-based title in the Netflix Top 10 right now.
One thing it’s not, however, is your average, run-of-the-mill crime and courtroom drama. Reaction from viewers certainly attests to that, like one Twitter user who raved about the show “10/10 recommend.” And another:
“Watching You don’t know me on Netflix and Kyra just said, “You’re only a good person cause your life let you be that way.’ And that there is powerful, because we judge thugs way too quickly I’ll be real. No one chooses who they become they can change it but not everyone is strong.”
For more reading, check out this “Stream it or Skip it” Decider review of You Don’t Know Me, which puts the series in the “Stream it” category.
More Netflix coverage: For more Netflix news, check out the latest new Netflix movies and series to watch.