Dark Comedy Series ‘Guilty Party’ is a Good Time

Plot: A disgraced journalist tries to mend her tarnished reputation by covering the controversial story of a woman who maintains her innocence at being accused of murdering her husband.

Review: Guilty Party is a darkly comedic drama series that premiered on Paramount+ on October 14. Adapted from a screenplay written by Canadian comedian Rebecca Addelman, the series covers some socially sensitive topics as well as very adult situations, so I do not recommend it for a young, impressionable audience. However, it has the potential to become a semi-solid binge-able watch among some female friends where you can easily gossip to catch each other up on episodes over a nice glass of wine.

The story follows a disgraced journalist named Beth Burgess (Kate Beckinsale) who has been accused of fabricating a quote for an award-winning story. On the same night that Beth receives her award she is fired from her job. Simultaneously, an unnamed man is also shown being fatally shot whilst cooking a meal. This event becomes the fodder for the story that Beth hopes will restore her tarnished career.

However, her journey to obtain the answers is not only dangerous but reveals extremely dark and disturbing secrets about the past of the accused murderer Toni Plimpton. The irony of the situation is that Toni is almost completely dependent on Beth’s article being the catalyst to gain her freedom so that she can be reunited with her daughter, Layla, who was born during her incarceration. The problem is that Beth Burgess is a hot mess! Burgess comes with her problems from having to live constantly in the shadow of her mother who is a renowned author, her husband Marco (Geoff Stults) increasing the pressure for them to start a family and move to a remote town in Denver due to a promotion, and finally her own idiosyncrasies.

While Beckinsale remains one of my favourite actresses to date, I thought that her performance here was a bit uneven. She does successfully manage to portray Beth as a quirky blonde with a chaotic mind but with an added touch of edginess. However, there were moments during the series where Beth would do something contrary to her character’s nature that made it a bit cringe-worthy. But the standout star of the series was actually newcomer actress Jules Latimer in her role as Toni Plimpton. She commanded the audience’s attention in almost all of her scenes. Plimpton is a classic rebel and manipulator but her story gives you pause and calls you to be in support of her side even though you are almost positive that she just might be playing the “I’m innocent” card a little too heavy-handedly.

The partial success of the series would be the touch of raunchiness and the fact that the characters are fully aware that they are caricatures of socially inappropriate representations that exist in a society where these archetypes are usually not tolerated. The great flaw of the series unfortunately is the main character who is supposed to be the saviour. Beth Burgess is a little too sloppy of an investigator for a seasoned journalist and it becomes particularly difficult to get behind a character who doesn’t choose to take the moral high ground despite her past experiences. As a result, the entire story suffers from becoming overly complicated by way too many unnecessary twists and turns. One must remember that simplicity is always better, especially if you don’t want to lose your audience’s attention before the series ends.

TONI: Why are showing me a gangrenous big toe? BETH: Disgusting, isn’t it?

So far, there’s no word yet on the green lighting of a Season 2. However, it does end on a heck of a cliffhanger. A word of caution though, the finale doesn’t leave you with a hopeful, joyous conclusion. It feels more like a kick to the gut, so you’ve been sufficiently warned. Guilty Party is still a decent mixture of funny moments with serious drama on the side. Sufficiently entertaining enough to have a remote Covid-friendly watch party with your pals.

Alice’s Score: 6 out of 10

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Dark Alice has an old soul and a curious mind. I believe that anyone can be a hero and that the good guys should always win! I dislike cruelty to animals and think that they have far superior qualities to humans. My motto is there is no future without the past. I also have a weird penchant for Paranormal TV shows even though the slightest sound makes me jump. I enjoy writing reviews and throwing in fun facts to pique the readers’ curiosity. My ultimate goal in life would be to become a published writer one day. Read More