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Presumed Innocent review: frustrated Ruth Negga and confused Jake Gyllenhaal face off in distinctly un-steamy thriller

Television: Original Presumed Innocent with Harrison Ford was guilty pleasure but this version is just boring

Jake Gyllenhaal as Rusty Sabich and Bill Camp as Raymond Horgan in Presumed Innocent. Photograph: Apple TV+

Hollywood keeps trying to bring back the 1990s erotic thriller, and its latest attempt is a small-screen reboot of the Harrison Ford-Greta Scaachi potboiler Presumed Innocent (Apple TV +, from Wednesday). The results are slick and shallow and distinctly un-steamy – just what you’d expect from the king of the middlebrow blockbuster, David E Kelley, whose hits include Big Little Lies and Ally McBeal.

Working with mega-producer JJ Abrams, he has assembled an impressive cast, starting with Jake Gyllenhaal in the Harrison Ford role of sleazy Chicago public prosecutor Rusty Sabich. Gyllenhaal was last seen sparring with Conor McGregor in Prime Video’s preposterous remake of action movie Roadhouse. In Presumed Innocent, he faces off against another Irish star, Limerick actor Ruth Negga, returning to TV after a 2016 Oscar nomination for Jeff Nichols’s Loving.

She plays Barbara, the long-suffering wife who has stuck by the odious Rusty even after he confessed to a fling with a work colleague. Barbara has agreed to stay with him for the sake of their two teenage children. But now his former lover, Carolyn, has been found brutally murdered – and it turns out that the affair wasn’t quite as “over” as Rusty claimed. More suspiciously, it is revealed that Carolyn (Renate Reinsve) was pregnant. Did Rusty kill her to save her marriage?

That’s the theory of Rusty’s odious rival at the public prosecutor’s office, Tommy Molto. He is played as a punchable creep by Peter Sarsgaard, who appears to have based his performance on John Malkovich circa In the Line of Fire.


Gyllenhaal, meanwhile, tries to put clear distance between his performance and that of Harrison Ford by spending most of his screen time looking confused. Opposite him, Negga exudes high levels of frustration – though whether that’s coming from her character or is a reflection of her exasperation with the script is hard to tell.

The original Presumed Innocent was a slick guilty pleasure, elevated by Ford’s Han Solo-gone-bad charisma. This remake slows the pace to a crawl and expands on Rusty’s world. We learn more about his marriage, his kids, and his career – but at the price of the high-octane absurdity that powered the 1990s movie. As an erotic thriller, it is pulseless. As a prestige TV show, Presumed Innocent stands guilty of boring its audience witless.

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