Six-part web series, Eric, knocks off prejudices we associate with those living in the underbelly : The Tribune India

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Six-part web series, Eric, knocks off prejudices we associate with those living in the underbelly

(3/5)
Six-part web series, Eric, knocks off prejudices we associate with those living in the underbelly

Mini-series: Eric



Film: Eric

Director: Lucy Forbes

Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Ivan Morris Howe, Gaby Hoffmann, McKinley Belcher III, Roberta Colindrez, Jeff Hephner, Wade Allain-Marcus, Mark Gillis , Dan Fogler and Clarke Peters

Nonika Singh

A broken man, a dysfunctional family and a missing nine-year-old kid at the centre of it, Eric takes us into the darkest recesses of human mind yet like the name of its lead character Vincent’s television show Good Day, Sunshine!, it shines a light on humanity too. The world is 1980s of New York where lives this couple Vincent Anderson (Benedict Cumberbatch), a renowned puppeteer and housewife Cassi (Gaby Hoffmann). Their constant bickering drives their only child Edgar (Ivan Morris Howe) away from them emotionally and physically.

His disappearance is cause for concern and consternation. He is not the only missing kid. We meet the mother of 14-year-old Marlon Rochelle, who has not been found since a year. The Press goes in a tizzy over Edgar, son of a celebrity father. But the mother of Marlon believes no one cares about her boy for he is black.

Indeed, these are times when racism is rampant, homophobia almost a norm. Monsters everywhere… and isn’t there one within us! Eric too is the blue monster puppet in the making which Edgar suggests to his father. It almost becomes Vincent’s alter-ego. Has Edgar been kidnapped, is he dead? The drama and mystery thickens. Only Eric is not just another thriller but a look at New York through the socio-cultural prism.

There is a detective-in-charge of missing persons; black as well as gay. Marginalised on two counts himself, he wants to do it right by the victims. Can he unravel how the NYPD cops and the Lux club, a hangout of many a pervert activity, are connected. In the answer lies the taut and terse narrative which is a much about crime as human emotions.

There are many strands in this story, and director Lucy links all of these intelligently. Writing by creator Abi Morgan holds the story with several subplots as cleverly. The six-part mini-series streaming on Netflix ties up its different worlds harmoniously.

Actors, especially Benedict Cumberbatch and Gaby Hoffman, are superb. Cumberbatch transforms into this unhinged creative genius a lost case. If Ivan Morris Howe as Edgar pulls at your heartstrings, so does McKinley Belcher III. As Michael Ledroit the righteous detective, he is now raging, now tender. And that’s exactly what the series is; now angst ridden, now touching, now desolate, now hopeful, but, strikingly riveting at all times. Unmasking the world of crime, it peels off masks the so-called civilized wear and knocks off prejudices we associate with those living in the underbelly. Who is the real monster… you can chew over the thought.