If you follow true crime, you probably know THAT article, “An Unbelievable Story of Rape”, the one from ProPublica and The Marshall Project, about the serial rapist, the accused victim, and the badass lady detectives who finally tied it all together. If you haven’t read it, you should. It’s one-half the most FRUSTRATING story in the world, and one-half awesome detective story. (You can read it here.) It’s about “Marie”, a girl assaulted in her own home, only to be disbelieved by the detectives assigned her case almost immediately. And it’s about Detectives Stacy Galbraith and Edna Hendershot, two Colorado cops who teamed up to solve a series of similar rape cases around Denver. The two halves of the story come together in a shocking way. I didn’t even finish the article before I was hoping for an adaptation.
The adaptation is called Unbelievable and comes courtesy Netflix, and it stars Kaitlyn Dever, Toni Collette, and Merritt Wever. The four episodes are directed by Susannah Grant and Lisa Cholodenko. THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I WANTED. Unbelievable will be tough to watch—not kidding about how frustrating this story is—but I’m SO glad the article got a serious, prestige adaptation. When people talk about “believe women” and if that can lead to false reporting, this is what I give them, I send them the link to this story. It exemplifies why “believe women” is important. It’s the worst-case scenario, sure, but it so clearly illustrates how “believe women” can affect investigation. The detectives who interviewed “Marie” began to doubt her, and so they looked for evidence of their doubt, not her attack. But, to quote Detective Galbraith, the Colorado cops “listen and verify” their victims’ stories.
“Believe women” doesn’t mean blindly ignore any signs of malfeasance, it just means not to doubt a female victim unless and until the evidence gives you a reason to. Marie’s story was unusual, but there was no reason to doubt her. Yet EVERYONE around her did. And that doubt led to devastating consequences for other women. Unbelievable is an important story, it’s also a damn good one, for fans of detective stories. I cannot wait to see this.