Netflix’s Delhi Crime season 2 will keep you at the edge of your seat while slowly working towards calling out your own prejudice and the society at large!

There is always fear and anxiety around when the next installment of a highly credible series comes. Because there are only two ways that this can go either the second one will lift up the bar of the first or at least maintain the stature or fall down so low that it ruins even the experience of the first one. With Delhi Crime the skepticality was too high because this was one of the most riveting cop-crime dramas in India that not just won critical fame here but internationally as well. Fortunately, Delhi Crime season 2 not only does justice to its predecessor but also becomes more than that. In a time of crime drama exhaustion, Delhi Crime 2 is a breath of fresh air which taps into police work without glorifying it with an understanding of how society works too.

The five brilliantly crafted episode series opens up with narration by DCP Vartika Chaturvedi over random Delhi shots as if trying to give a disclaimer about what you are going to witness next. Soon after, the case opens with the brutal murder of four senior citizens in a gated Greater Kailash (GK) neighborhood. And the series of murders continue in the upper-class South Delhi district as the investigation goes on. The killers form a pattern of bludgeoning people to death with hammers while covering their bodies with oil. They wear short pants and a baniyan while committing the crime and are identified as a previously notorious gang being active once again. Something has changed this time, though as these criminals are leaving behind evidence that is visible via CCTV footage and leaving the house in a mess after having a party there.

Based on a chapter, much like its previous season, from the book Khaki Files: Inside Stories of Police Missions by Neeraj Kumar, a former Commissioner of Delhi Police, Delhi Crime 2, while taking the source material of criminals, chooses to deviate the story. The chapter Moon-gazer focuses on the terror that was spread by a local ‘Kachcha Baniyan’ gang, a name given to them because of their choice of the attire of undergarments and masks during an attack and the detailed manhunt that follows. Kachcha Baniyan gang was a group of members who were composed of DNT (denotified tribe) that conformed to a life of crime. But this is where the smartness of the series lies; while it showcases the inner workings of the police system, it manages to show the investigation of a crime (taken from the pages of Moon-gazer) from a perspective of today’s national feeling. This makes the series framed in a way where the inside of a system becomes the narrative of the outside, the nation, and its stereotypes at large.

It presents DNTs in a clever play of smokescreen, which works on various levels. Firstly, it calls out our own biases that have been running along for a long time, mirroring through Vartika Chaturvedi and her moral dilemmas. Secondly, it presents the dichotomy of the class in our society to which crimes become incidental. The upper-class are protected and privileged while the lower-class aspirations are brutally murdered every day. Thirdly, how deeply seeded the patriarchy is in our society to which women, whether a police officers or a criminal, both bear the cost. And lastly how mainstream media perpetuates a certain consciousness and doesn’t realize its responsibility in the wake of sensitive matters.

The series’ nuanced approach to showcasing rather than narrating the unfairness of this world makes it a riveting tale and a mirror to our present-day society where cancel culture and quick judgments apparently are sold in shops. The professions in the show aren’t stereotyped, they’re rather humanized, whether it’s a celebrity lawyer who becomes the voice of reason or a retired police officer who is bigoted to his core but isn’t entirely wrong about his instincts, a beautician who aspires to open a beauty parlor but resorts to being a criminal instead or a woman police officer who has to deal with her egoistic army officer husband or a DCP who more than often faces moral dilemmas.

The first three episodes could clearly classify as trial by error or rather stereotyped (which most of us are party to these days) making us realize something within ourselves. And the show’s asset has always been able to evoke empathy for the Delhi police or police officers in general by humanizing them. But it’s the show’s pivot in the last two episodes that make for a really interesting drama and revelation about oppression. In the wake of DNT’s oppression just like the police, we quite forget about the oppression of women who are also a minority but not by definition. This is why the end reveal comes as a huge blow point in this mystery which works for the show brilliantly even though Neeti’s domestic trouble is ongoing throughout the season.

The dark-chilling wintery tonality of the show and the exceptional editing adds a layer to this otherwise well very structured written piece. As the tone adds to the chilling effect, the editing syncs in with the pace of the investigation which gives you a rush rather than rushing up the investigation. But Delhi Crime season 2 biggest asset will be its cast. Shefali Shah as Vartika plays the role of authority with all her inner battles so effectively that it’s hard to remember that she’s fictionalized. And the same goes for Rasika Dugal (Neeti) who speaks with her whole body as a language, Rajesh Tailang (Bhupendra) as the police officer doesn’t transcend his learnings in his personal life to other police officers, and Tillotama Shome (Karishma) whose entire face with her expressions brings about a certain scare and yet has some sadness lurking behind.

Created by Richie Mehta but directed by Tanuj Chopra and written by Mayank Tewari, Shubra Swarup, Vidit Tripathi, and Enzia Mirza, this season grows more mature and is void of heroism or chest-thumping patriotism because most of his officers are busy solving the crime as well as dealing with life. The storytelling is such that it allows us to see those stories hiding in the alleyways of our urban society which we either tend to ignore or do not give enough value to. And most of all Delhi Crime season 2 relies on our stereotypes to bring forth its point which tells us that crime and criminals are incidental while the police are only human, making it a lot more different from the usual and tiring cop-crime dramas!

Also Read: Did Delhi Crime season 2 do justice to the Janta’s expectations? Let’s find out!

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