‘Presumed Innocent’ Review: Apple TV+’s Legal Drama Has Made a Solid Start with Plenty of Twists & Turns

The first two episodes are setting up what looks to be an intriguing legal drama!

The first two episodes of Apple TV’s legal drama Presumed Innocent have premiered on the streaming platform today. The series marks Jake Gyllenhaal’s debut in long-form prestige TV drama. Penned by David E. Kelley it follows Gyllenhaal’s public prosecutor Rusty Sabich who is accused of murdering his collogue Carolyn Polhemus (Renate Reinsve).

Some reviews have criticized the series for not setting itself apart enough from Harrison Ford’s 1990 version and for not feeling sufficiently updated. Therefore, it may be more appealing to those who haven’t seen Ford’s film. However, the first two episodes are gripping, and it’s off to a fascinating start. We’ll reserve our comparisons to the 1990 film for our full season review once the series has concluded.

Presumed Innocent
Image Credit: Apple TV+

Episode one introduces us to Rusty Sabich (Gyllenhaal), the chief deputy prosecutor in Chicago and the right-hand man to prosecuting attorney Raymond Horgan (Bill Camp). Rusty receives the shocking news that his colleague, Carolyn Polhemus (Reinsve), has been murdered. He rushes to the crime scene, where there are no signs of forced entry and her body has been horrifically hog-tied.

In the first episode, conflict arises for Rusty and Raymond in the form of Nico Della Guardia (O-T Fagbenle), who is vying for the position of prosecuting attorney in an upcoming election, along with his right-hand man, Tommy Molto (Peter Sarsgaard). As the story unfolds over the first two episodes, it becomes evident that both sides are determined to undermine each other.

presumed innocent
Image Credit: Apple TV+

In episode two, the spotlight shifts to Rusty’s affair with Carolyn, which becomes public knowledge, thrusting him into the role of suspect No. 1. Under pressure from Tommy (played by Sarsgaard), Rusty struggles to maintain his composure and faces intense interrogation. Throughout the first two episodes, Rusty strives to keep it together, balancing the search for answers to Carolyn’s murder with efforts to salvage his marriage, all the while asserting his innocence. With the episode then ending with a mighty cliffhanger.

The characters in the series truly come alive thanks to David E. Kelley’s brilliant script. Whether it’s the intense rivalry between the opposing lawyers, the complex relationship between Rusty and Caroline, or the gripping crime at the heart of it all, you can feel that some fantastic twists are on the horizon. And Kelley sure knows how to deliver those jaw-dropping plot twists and surprises that keep us absolutely hooked.

presumed innocent
Image Credit: Apple TV+

Credit is also owed to Emmy-winning casting director Jeanie Bacharach for assembling the impeccable cast. Gyllenhaal as the lead is commendable; he aptly captures the character’s complexity. Camp, as Raymond, continues to demonstrate his mastery, solidifying his status as a leading figure in the acting world. Sarsgaard shines in his portrayal of the weaselly, condescending Tommy Molto, whose relentless pursuit to pin Carolyn’s murder on Rusty is fueled more by ambition than by a quest for justice.

Presumed Innocent has made an excellent start — it’s gripping, well-acted, and beautifully shot, boasting a tone reminiscent of another outstanding Apple TV series, Defending Jacob. Most importantly, it leaves you wanting more. Once the series wraps up, we’ll provide a comprehensive full season review. But for now, be sure to catch these superb opening episodes.

The first two episodes of Presumed Innocent are now streaming on Apple TV+.

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