Emerging as a thinking viewer’s thriller, Serial Killer offers a gripping tale of murder, intrigue and secrets
Promising to be a gripping thriller two episodes in, Serial Killer is a recent addition to Green Entertainment’s lineup. Written by Umera Ahmed and a presentation of Eyeconic Media, Serial Killer is set in Lahore and starts with the murder of a man at the hands of a woman whose identity is shrouded in mystery.
Around this time, Sarah Sikander (portrayed by Saba Qamar) assumes charge as a Superintendent of Police working for the Special Branch after recently returning to Pakistan following a stint in the United States as a Fulbright Scholar.
Enter another mysterious figure rolling a Delsey suitcase into an apartment building, drawing the attention of a handful of vendors around, who choose to do nothing but stare. The red Delsey reappears when a woman wearing a niqab gets off a rickshaw at a bus terminal with it and then leaves the suitcase in front of a tea stall before disappearing.
The scared tea-seller draws a policeman’s attention to the suitcase which then leads to a bomb disposal squad coming over and clearing the bag for not carrying any explosive material. The bag is then opened and a woman’s body is found in it. This case is ultimately assigned to SP Sarah who is meticulous and relentless when it comes to her commitment to the job that she takes as a sacred trust. SP Sarah is thorough with procedures and places value in handling forensics and preserving the sanctity of evidence. It wouldn’t be exaggeration to say that SP Sarah is an almost model police officer – one neither too green nor too jaded by the drudgery of the system.
Surrounded by staff who are used to thinking in stereotypes and tropes, Sarah has to shoulder the burden of pushing this hardened lot into taking evidence into consideration as opposed to relying on conjectures that are merely based on ‘what might have happened’ and that too based on social stereotypes alone.
Sarah thrives on evidence, running the dead girl’s fingerprints and the fingerprints on an airline baggage tag found inside the suitcase through the national identity database for clues.
A couple of other characters that could pique your interest may be the rickshaw driver who was present around the suitcase when it was being dragged into the apartment building as well as when the woman was travelling with the Delsey to the bus terminal. Who was this rickshaw driver? Does he have a connection to this murder? Then we have Imaan, a trans woman sitting terrified in her room upon seeing the news of the woman’s murder on television. She works at a beauty salon owned by one Babra (portrayed by Faiza Gillani) who ultimately gets to hear that a woman who frequented her parlour, Amna Tufail (portrayed by Sabeena Farooq), has been incommunicado, with Amna’s sister actively looking for her, and calling everywhere.
On the other hand, the police are on the hunt for the man who was driving the rickshaw that brought the mysterious woman to the bus terminal. They’re ultimately able to establish that the woman whose body was found in the suitcase was none other than Amna Tufail — who also went by the alias Zarish; Zarish, who was in fact a social media star with a million followers.
Serial Killer’s first two episodes do leave a couple of clues and crumbs for the Hercule Poirot or the Jessica Fletcher in you but do these actually lead anywhere or are they just red herrings?
All in all, Serial Killer promises a refreshing break from typical Pakistani dramas around family politics. At least so far, it does offer a riveting plot, a focus on investigation and forensics, and a glimpse into the lives of Pakistanis adapting to a society in transition. Can’t wait for episode 3!