Review | Criminal Justice 3 – Pankaj Tripathi Wins Again

Criminal Justice 3 is a Hindi crime thriller legal drama web series for Hotstar Specials. It features Shweta Basu Prasad, Swastika Mukherjee and Purab Kohli. The series is directed by Rohan Sippy and produced by Applause Entertainment.

General Rating

In a nut-shell:

Pankaj Tripathi Wins Again

It is a credit to the making and to the actor’s performance that even in the third season, the mere appearance of Hindi-spouting underdog lawyer Madhav Mishra (Pankaj Tripathi) brings both a smile to the face and a hope in the heart that justice will ultimately prevail.

Mishra’s curious and cute marriage to Ratna (Khushboo Atre) spills over from the last season with the feisty wife turning their tiny apartment into a beauty parlour. It makes room for more characters and colour to flit into their lives, Ratna once again making a sensible sounding board for Madhav.

It is, in keeping with the tone of the show, a seemingly impossible open and shut case, heavily loaded against the defendant, when 17-year-old Mukul Ahuja (Aditya Gupta) is held for the gruesome murder of his 14-year-old stepsister Zara (Deshna Dugad), a child superstar. Pushy parents Neeraj (Purab Kohli) and Avantika Ahuja (Swastika Mukherjee) have their own financial and relationship tangles that gradually surface, making it an interesting face-off: his daughter’s dead, her son’s in the dock.      

Policewoman Gauri Karmarkar (Kalyanee Muley) also re-appears this season to make her presence felt all through the case, playing an important part in connecting the accused’s family with Madhav Mishra. 

As a pitch-perfect opposite to the underplayed defence lawyer is entitled Public Prosecutor Lekha Agastya (Shweta Basu Prasad) with an overtly rich dad who can’t fathom why his daughter prefers a ‘sarkari naukri’ to his thriving business.

Equally entitled is the young accused with drugs, teenage angst, sibling issues and nocturnal sneaking out coming under the scanner.

Season 2 had spotlighted women’s rights in the marital bedroom and how far abuse can push a wife. 

Season 3 looks at our juvenile justice system, life in a jail and social pressures.

This time around, screenplay and story credits are shared by Bijesh Jayarajan, Iti Agarwal, Riya Poojary and Siddharth Hirwe with Purva Naresh and Anurag Pandey penning the dialogues. The team adapts BBC’s legal drama series Criminal Justice neatly to revolve around our IPC, the Indian laws and Indian society. Rohan Sippy’s direction also has a certain sophistication, even the flowers presented to Zara are stylish.

The writing unravels complications in equations even as it gradually simplifies the case and takes it to a solution that’s not apparent at the beginning. With Mishra quietly stating, “Nyay and badla are not the same,” and learning the new phrase “Confirmation bias” which he uses to advantage in the courtroom, the dialogues too sit well with the main characters.     

The platform intends to drop one episode every week to keep the suspense going. What can be revealed is that although there is strong support coming in from Swastika Mukherjee, Shweta Basu Prasad, Khushboo Atre, Kalyanee Muley and Aadinath Kothare (as policeman Waghmare), it is Pankaj Tripathi who once again makes it an endearing watch.

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Pankaj Tripathi Wins AgainReview | Criminal Justice 3 - Pankaj Tripathi Wins Again