• Tue. Jan 31st, 2023

Criminal Justice Season 3: Pankaj Tripathi lifts an engaging series

Aug 26, 2022

Criminal Justice Season 3 Cast: Pankaj Tripathi, Swastika Mukherjee, Purab Kohli, and Gaurav Gera.

Pankaj Tripathi returns to his role as smart lawyer Madhav Mishra. It’s appropriate that he stars in Criminal Justice, which is currently in its third season because he elevates it. From the occasional clunkiness and staginess, as well as the inevitable stretches that a series can fall into when trying to fill in the 40-odd minutes of an episode’s running duration.

Nonetheless, the series, helmed by Rohan Sippy and produced by Applause Entertainment in collaboration with BBC Studios, held my attention long enough for me to binge-watch it. The awful murder of a little girl, a teenager kid in jail for the crime, complex modern-day iterations of nuclear families, and the intertwining of legal proceedings and cop protocols, all overlaid with Mishra Ji’s unyielding good cheer, was enough to keep me with the show.

Drugs are lethal. Green-eyed jealousy and apathy can also be destructive. Over the course of eight episodes, the online series explores the widespread use of party drugs among, well, young people who party hard; the broader impact of social media on our lives; and the difficulty of parenting teenagers in today’s hyper-connected, Instagram-saturated world.

Swastika Mukherjee and Purab Kohli

Swastika Mukherjee and Purab Kohli play the affluent Ahujas, co-parenting and managing teen social media star Zara and her step-brother Mukul, who is becoming increasingly insecure as a result of all the attention his sister receives both at home and beyond the family. Mukherjee’s ex-husband (Gaurav Gera) gives a strong performance as a parent who supports his troubled son. A drug-fueled party attended by both teenagers ends in tragedy: she is dead, and he is charged with her murder.

Enter Madhav Mishra, equipped with his desi home-grown wisdom and tenacity to support the cause of justice, as well as a keen-eyed dogsbody. His lighthearted exchanges with his wife, who is working hard to realize her dream of opening a beauty parlor, make you smile. And his sparring with the suave English-speaking, ‘foreign-educated’ rival (Shweta Prasad Basu) demonstrates how language can be divisive, as well as how privilege may be challenged.

Being a ‘Hindi medium’ doesn’t make our Mishraji any less of a ‘vakeel’: he believes that being a nice human being is just as vital as being on the winning side. Some of these exchanges are obvious, but Tripathi is self-aware and disarming, and we continue on our journey of discovery. Yes, the series manages to keep you guessing until virtually the conclusion.

Criminal Justice Season 3 | Official Trailer | Pankaj Tripathi