The latest new original British drama series to be released by Disney is “Culprits”, an eight-episode limited series, that tells the story of what happens years after a high-stakes heist, when a group of elite criminals have gone their separate ways after a massive robbery, where they have to leave their old lives behind and start afresh.
The series focuses on Joe, who is played by Nathan Stewart-Jarrett (“Candyman”), who has now settled into being a family man with his fiance’s children and plans to open a new restaurant. However, his past comes back to haunt them, as a ruthless assassin starts to target them one by one, until the remaining group comes back together to find out why they are being hunted down and to protect themselves and the people they love.
Over the eight episodes, the story slowly unravels as the show flips back and forth between now and during the actual heist. It can get a little complicated as there are multiple different time jumps throughout the series, and also, we often get to see the heist from different points of view, with more information slowly coming to light. It also teases you with multiple twists and turns throughout the show, so you don’t really know the whole story until the last episode, and you never really know who to trust.
“Culprits” is a very bloody and brutal show. It doesn’t hold back on the violence, with lots of shoot-outs and vicious deaths along the way. There are plenty of big action scenes spread out throughout the episode, but with each episode coming in at over an hour long, there were many occasions when I thought an episode had naturally reached a cliffhanger or ending point, only to realise there was another twenty-plus minutes to go.
While I enjoyed “Culprits”, it did feel a little long-winded in places, often feeling a little more like a video game, where there were constantly new fetch quests to go find someone or a clue, which then led onto another clue, and so on. I can’t help but feel that the show would have benefited from some tighter editing to remove some of those, as the crew of criminals is pretty big and visiting every single one just seemed unnecessary.
Coming in at over eight hours long, it took a long time to get going, with some subplots that ultimately just didn’t really need to be included. They could have easily cut out a couple of episodes and made it a much tighter story. As at the halfway point, it didn’t feel like the story hadn’t really got going properly.
One of the things that I really enjoyed about this series, was how it handled the heist and, more importantly, the use of masks, as during the heist, everyone is wearing these plastic masks that make them look terrifying. And speaking of terrific masks, the assassin, known as Devil, is terrifying in his white mask and purple tracksuit combo; it just looks so threatening.
The cast of the show is really impressive, with Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, who plays Joe, aka Muscle, doing a great job of making you feel sympathy for his situation, especially how protecting his family becomes the most important thing to him. However, Gemma Arterton does seem extremely stiff in her role as Brain, who is such a stereotypical generic upper-class character that just seems a bit lazy. Kirby, who plays Officer, has a standout role in the series, as she’s likeable but untrustworthy, but makes a good partner to Muscle. I also loved seeing Eddie Izzard in his role, but he doesn’t come in until later in the show, and I don’t want to spoil that part of the story.
One of the things I love about Disney+ making its own British series, is that they feel very different to your typical US show. The style, the language and overall presentation are different. The show does have an international feel, with some great locations around the world, including the South of France, Barcelona and in the United States. So, while “Culprits” is very British, much like another British Disney+ Original, “Wedding Season”, it’s got global appeal.
Overall: “Culprits” is a terrific, enjoyable heist show with a fantastic cast. It’s action-packed; it’s brutal and very bloody. It’s a little long-winded in the middle, but picked up as the show heads into its climax. I wouldn’t recommend watching the entire show in a binge. I watched it over three days, and it still felt too much. There isn’t anything in “Culprits” that hasn’t been seen before, but I enjoyed it and would certainly recommend people check it out. If you fancy something different and with a bit of British drama style, give “Culprits” a whirl or at least add it to your watchlist later!
Rating – 4 Out Of 5
All eight episodes of “Culprits” will arrive on Disney+ in the UK and Ireland on Wednesday, 8th November 2023, and will be released on Hulu in the United States on 8th December 2023.
Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom.