True Story: Netflix’s #1 Series Boasts Incredible Acting, Wasted on Disappointing Writing

Siroun Johnson, Contributing Writer

Rating: 2.5/5 Falcons

True Story, a seven-episode mystery miniseries, has become Netflix’s #1 show in the world, making it a series that will be remembered by many. The show was created by Kevin Hart when he decided he “wanted to kill someone”… in a TV show, of course. Hart called Narcos’ executive producer Eric Newman and the two of them created the one and only True Story.

Hart’s role as “the Kid” interestingly parallels his own life: a wealthy, famous, and adored stand-up comedian who is constantly on the move. His life is perfect. That is, until everything goes terribly wrong. A night out with his problematic brother suddenly turns into a matter of life or death, and threatens to tear down everything that he has worked for. 

The show was a gamble. It was Hart’s first time in a serious role, rather than the flimsy comedic work he’s used to as a stand-up comedian-turned-actor. “There’s no comedy at all. It’s dark. It’s very dark,” said Hart in an interview with Stephen Colbert. “This project is one that I took on because I felt there was a side of me that needed to be shown.”

This project is one that I took on because I felt there was a side of me that needed to be shown.

— Kevin Hart

Making this change is no small feat, and Hart performed astonishingly well. His facial expressions were extremely provoking, and the intonations in his voice were used perfectly to add hidden messages behind nearly every line he articulated. In particular when Hart’s character is stressed, Hart conveys his emotions very effectively to the viewers. It’s extremely exciting to watch Hart in this new form of acting.

Wesley Snipes, the prominent and experienced two-time NAACP Outstanding Acting award winner, worked alongside Hart as Kid’s brother. He somehow finesses the causal manipulation that encapsulates his complicated character. When a dead body is found, Snipes solemnly needs to explain that they can’t call the cops because they’re Black: “If you call the ambulance, they’ll call the f***ing cops. They’ll call the f***ing cops.” The line penetrates the screen. Snipes and Hart act flawlessly in harmony, effortlessly conveying their long and tumultuous history of brotherly love, and their struggle to find trust in one another.

Sadly, the impressive acting is wasted on poor writing. Although there are many strong points in the True Story, such as the advocacy for racial injustice and the suspense that draws viewers in, there are several critical failed plot points that make for a disappointing storyline. Many of the issues with True Story stem from the plot twists. Dramatic plot events are often reused and recycled in order to create more excitement within the show, and at times it seems that entire scenes are repeated. It becomes incredibly frustrating and repetitive as the episodes continue.

Ultimately, the piece deserves 2.5 falcons. It had so much potential, but it all fell apart with the show’s writing. On the bright side though, the show fostered an environment in which Kevin Hart, as an actor, was able to evolve into a serious character—one with an appetite for murder.