Justice Served (2022) review: Interesting storyline dragged down by other elements

Justice Served is a South African political crime show that tells the story of a group of rebels that hold a courtroom hostage and attempt to take justice into their own hands. The series is now streaming on Netflix.

Story

Justice Served is about a group of rebels, the Namoor, headed by Azania Maqoma. The organisation decides to hold an entire courtroom hostage, and they live stream the proceedings. 

The country is given a chance to vote on if they believe the accused to be guilty within a specific timeframe. If voted guilty, the man would be killed by Maqoma.

The show brings forth an important argument for the rights of black people, the issue of racism that is still prevalent and how it influences the justice system.

Along with this central storyline comes multiple flashbacks and plot twists that create a confusing narrative, leading up to an ending that creates more questions than it answers.

While the story was off to an intriguing start, the ending leaves much to be desired.

Performances

Hlomla Dandala convincingly plays the part of Azania Maqoma, and commands attention as soon as he walks into frame. He manages to portray a character that undergoes a drastic arc and revelation, with easy familiarity.

Notable performances also include Pallance Dladla as Uhuru and Alex McGregor as Karabo. They succeed in bringing their characters to life on screen. 

The rest of the cast also adds their own flair to the portrayals, making the characters and storylines more realistically engaging.

Positives

The storyline brings forth important issues and questions of racism and the legal system and helps to draw attention to the politics of racism in a country like South Africa.

The performances and execution are pretty good, making the visuals on screen quite a compelling watch.

The use of masks and the hostage situation add a thrilling aspect to the story, making it an entertaining yet educational watch. It manages to balance reality with fiction well.

Negatives

The narrative sharply jumps between the past and the present in certain areas, making the plot direction a bit hard to follow. The cuts are not smooth enough and cause a slight rift in the narrative flow.

The ending feels quite rushed with the sudden change in direction. The numerous unanswered questions build hype for a potential next season, but also leave the current narrative feeling unfulfilled.

Certain scenes and characters in the show are heavily caricatured and quite exaggerated in their portrayal. They appear one-dimensional with no other purpose, or with goals besides the scene at hand. Better, more nuanced writing for all the characters would have been better.

Verdict

While it is an exciting watch, Justice Served does not quite serve the full effect of what the series could potentially have to offer. With a few tweaks and better storytelling, the series could garner a lot of new viewers.

Rating: 3/5


Also Read: Justice Served ending explained: Did Allen Harvey kill Zilo?