Unseen review: Promising crime drama fails on impact

Unseen follows Zenzile Mwale, a house cleaner who sets off to find her missing husband, and in the process, also find the one who took her son’s life.


Zenzi is a house cleaner and survives by doing several odd jobs. When her husband gets released from jail, she goes to receive him but he doesn’t turn up. She learns that he’s already gotten out but hasn’t come home.

Zenzi sets off to look for him, but in her efforts, she ends up getting caught up in a web of crime, murder, and runs from the law. She is helped by her sister who has been living away from her since childhood, and one of her employers, Mr. Ngesi.

She eventually finds her husband but due to his efforts at taking down the Syndicate, he’s chased by Hendricks and eventually killed by the police due to a misunderstanding.

Meanwhile, Zenzi learns about her son’s killer, who is none other than Hendricks. She confronts him and after his confession, she leaves him to die. Having no one left her in life to live for, Zenzi goes to commit suicide.


Gail Mabalane leads the cast with her brilliant display of acting prowess as she portrays pain, grief, and animalistic strength and reslience on screen with effortless panache.

She’s surrounded by a cast of supporting actors who deliver adequate performances but never quite match the ferocity or dedication that Gail brings to her role.


There’s a clear narrative that offers a lot of opportunities for the genre elements to elevate the story. The drama and the thrills are there, albeit with not nearly enough weight.

At its core, the story of Unseen is about a mother and a wife, who’s also an invisible person, thanks to her social and economic status that no one really pays any heed to.

The brevity of the runtime helps the show not drag out its already thin narrative, with the individual episodes paced rather well too.


The lack of a good villain is rather biting as the focus shifts from Jackson to Blessing to Hendricks, with none of them getting much screentime or development to truly make for a solid antagonistic force.

Unseen has a subplot that involves Mr. Ngesi, a writer trying to pen down a story inspired by Zenzi, and the overall narrative follows this theme but never to quite the perfection it deserves.

There’s a clear commentary to be made on the class disparity, but the show only delves into it with the not-so-eloquent verbiage that states it abjectly, instead of the narrative reflecting it in a manner more subtle and intellectual.


Adequately acted and paced, Unseen fails to leave an impact in its six-episode-run, where the twists can be seen coming a mile away and the drama of it all leaves a lot to be desired.

Unseen review: Promising crime drama fails on impact 1

Director: Travis Taute

Date Created: 2023-03-29 12:30

Editor's Rating:

Also Read: Unseen ending explained: Does Zenzi die?