?Unit 42? image by Netflix
Fans of the Belgian crime drama ?Unit 42? are pleased that there is a second season. For those of us in the United States, we need to wait a little longer for it to arrive on Netflix. However, the first season is available to watch ? and you won?t be disappointed.
?Unit 42? revolves around a cybercrime unit. But instead of a state-of-the-art, futuristic setting that seemingly has become a standard for shows in the United States, ?Unit 42? works out of a basement. And the audience sees all the hardware including the servers, wires and connections.
Samuel Leroy, played by the empathetic Patrick Ridremont, is a widowed father of three who comes back to work as the new head of the unit. In just ten episodes, he goes from being overwhelmed by grief to opening his heart to another. His journey shows us that the clich ?you can?t teach an old dog new tricks? is a false narrative for those who truly try.
Billie Webber, played by the engaging Constance Gay, is the hotshot and hotheaded hacker-turned-cop. Though not one to follow procedures, Billie can be considered a role model. As expected in some international shows on Netflix, there is a gender equality that is not directly discussed, but rather accepted. The only time this was addressed in the first season was in episode six when Billie said, ?What?s with the dumb sexism??
But Billie is more than just a gender. She has a genuine admiration for the craft of coding and hacking. She also is an advocate at heart which leads her down questionable paths as a cop. She must struggle with the excitement and anonymity of her hacking life with the public and violent life as a cop.
The rest of the unit represents the broad spectrum of society with little focus on the diversity itself as an issue. There is one episode (Episode 2: Faith and Law) highlighting the inner struggle of a character ? Nassim Khaoulani, played by Roda Fawaz. The rest of the season, however, simply accepts people for who they are and what they may be.
Possibly the least-represented group on television is the hearing impaired. Alice Meerks, played by Danitza Athanassiadis, is the medical examiner for Unit 42 ? and she is deaf. A member of Unit 42, Bob Franck, played by Tom Audenaert, is the main interpreter during the first season. But Sam begins to learn sign language, both for professional and personal reasons.
For those in the United States, it is best to remember that certain international shows do not shy away from nudity, sex, and sexuality. Instead, such aspects to life (and death) are simply accepted.
?Unit 42? balances the seriousness of its criminal content with endearing moments and with humor ? mostly done by characters playfully jabbing at each other. It challenges current polarizing rhetoric by showing how people can live and work together, no matter what label may be used to define them. It shows how we all struggle in life, and ? with no simple solution ? we simply try our best.