Yesterday marked the release of the second season of Hulu Original anthology series National Treasure. While last season’s story focused on a famous comedian accused of sexual abuse, season 2 is about a the disappearance and murder of a young girl named Kiri. All four episodes of National Treasure: Kiri are currently streaming on Hulu.
Before I get into the plot I’d like to take a moment and say that it took me less then five minutes to decide that I was going to like this show. In fact, I was so into it that I stopped watching to come and write down some thoughts. While the subject matter of this series is mature and disturbing, I knew immediately that I appreciated the way it was being presented. The story is so well crafted and intriguing that, by the end, I was ready for the next episode. Ah, how grateful I am for bingeable television.
Kiri artfully opens with the sounds of breakfast: coffee is brewing, a milk carton is opened, a cup is filled, and the kitchen faucet is turned on then off. An almost boring start to a typical day. Our coffee drinker, Miriam Grayson (Sarah Lancashire —Happy Valley) is a youth/children’s social worker. She’s chatty and obscure and probably drinks too much—considering the contents of a flask end up in her coffee. However, we can tell she has a good heart and does her job well. Her constant companion is her scruffy dog, Jesse, whom we’re informed is depressed along with being terribly flatulent.
Miriam’s day continues with a stop at the home of the Warner’s, Kiri’s (Felicia Mukasa) foster parents who are in the process of adopting her. While the Warner’s are white, Kiri is black and, with the encouragement of Miriam, they have allowed her to meet her “birth grandparents.” But today is different, because this is the first time Miriam will leave Kiri— unsupervised—in her grandparents care. Alice Warner (Lia Williams, The Crown), adores her foster daughter and is hesitant about this visit. She is right to worry. Kiri’s kindhearted grandparents, Tobi and Rochelle Akindele (Lucian Msamati and Andi Osho), haven’t divulged that they are in contact with her birth father. And then Kiri goes missing, with her body then being found.
There’s a very constant and ominous tension surrounding the characters. Even just minutes into the story it felt like something was lurking waiting to catch them all off guard. Questions of who’s responsible and were they aware of the dangers quickly rise to the surface. Everyone assigns blame to someone else and everyone is devastated. Race and class are also front and center in the discussion. The show carefully balances questions and answers and expertly shows the impact from different viewpoints and, to the credit of director Euros Lyn (Doctor Who), it’s done tastefully. There are no gory images or violence, we don’t witness an assault, and yet we feel the horror each character experiences. We’re compelled to imagine what they must be going through and we wonder along with them, if they could have prevented what happened.
Considering the dark and adult nature, this could easily slip into violent and scary territory, but it never does. Instead the most disturbing thing for each character is knowing they let this little girl down. While speculation seemingly makes a direct connection with her birth father, there is so much of the story we don’t know. The show definitely deserves its mature rating but it also handles its subject matter delicately and respectfully. If you can handle the material, National Treasure: Kiri is worth your time.
All four episodes of the Hulu Original, National Treasure: Kiri are available to stream exclusively on Hulu.
Note: this show is intended for mature audiences only. Some may consider the subject matter of this series to be disturbing and adult language is used frequently as well. Please use discretion when viewing.