If you’re up for a local murder mystery with a modern twist, Serial Killer is the perfect title to explore. Not so true to the formula of whodunnit stories, Serial Killer takes us through an ensemble of interesting characters, each suspicious enough but then also not so much, revealing in the end the identity of the perpetrator.
The drama’s cast has A-lister Saba Qamar playing the role of SP Sarah Sikander, who has to tackle a murder case that appears straightforward at first but is ultimately so layered it consumes the officer’s days and nights.
SP Sarah undeniably shines as the central figure in the drama. Working to solve the murder of local social media star Amna Tufail aka Zarish, portrayed by Sabeena Farooq, while working with a team that’s at best struggling and at worst disinterested, SP Sarah is frequently haunted by the demons of her own past when her parents were murdered in front of her eyes.
Aside from Qamar, who performed brilliantly in the role of Sarah, Faiza Gillani’s performance as beauty salon owner Babra is simply exceptional. Gillani’s extraordinary range in bringing Babra to life is truly impressive, and there’s no doubt in my mind that she will continue to deliver performances that not only match but will surpass her current achievements. So looking forward to witnessing this excellent actor in even more diverse roles!
The excellent performances in Serial Killer do not end with Qamar and Gillani. Fahad Hashmi’s portrayal of the laid-back and inefficient DSP Mehboob also deserves acknowledgement. Hashmi breathes life into the role and skillfully captures the character’s attempts to impress his supervisor, SP Sarah, with a portrayal that is both awkward and humorous.
While the story is compact — the entire drama makes for 11 episodes in total — and doesn’t exactly make the viewer feel like they’re being dragged along for the sake of it, some of the dialogue could have been more meaningful, if there at all. That said, Umera Ahmed has done sufficient justice to the story, and I’m looking forward to seeing more out-of-the-box narratives from her.
The character of Shahzain, who sees Sarah as a romantic interest in addition to a colleague, seems like an unnecessary presence in the story. He doesn’t exactly contribute to or enhance the story. Fortunately, his presence doesn’t overshadow Sarah’s character or disrupt the narrative flow.
Fahad Noor’s direction is spot on, encompassing meticulous attention to both the story’s narrative in broad strokes and the smallest of details within the scenes. While a murder mystery allows ample room for a director’s skill, it also presents challenges in avoiding inconsistencies — a challenge well met in this case.
The drama’s story and its characters can get a little confusing at first — and sometimes you’ll find yourself suspecting everyone and no one in particular. Other times you won’t be able to make sense of the events as they unfold in front of you, only for the finale that reveals all in its terrifying horror, bringing clarity to the story.
At the risk of giving far too many spoilers, I’m going to stop here on the story front, but when you find out what happened and why, you won’t be able to help but experience a mix of intense anger and hurt.
Also, don’t miss the part where SP Sarah ultimately identifies who was behind her parents’ murder. It’s an emotionally charged and significant moment; a moment that will pose an immense challenge to the viewer as well, making one wonder how much it is that we can ever know about anyone and how much that we think we know could be all wrong.
Serial Killer is an excellent story that will get you involved, invested, and you’ll want to get to the bottom of who did it and what was the motive. We’re seeing more and more local television venturing into unconventional, out-of-the-box content and I hope they keep doing it so we can continue to have intelligent content to watch.
One last word on Serial Killer is about the drama’s soundtrack. Written by Sohail Shehzad and sung beautifully by Zeb Bangash, the OST serves to enhance the drama’s rich plot and proves to be a masterful complement, weaving together the darkness and mystery of the story through the lyrics and the eerily captivating sound.