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Inspector Rishi Series Review: A passable series with clean world-building and production values comes with predictability

Inspector Rishi is a closely-knit story of a land and its people, drawing parallel to the horror left when they are robbed of their home. But with the concept not fresh, it is the execution that saves

Inspector Rishi Series Review: A passable series with clean world-building and production values comes with predictability
Inspector Rishi

Last Updated: 10.43 AM, Mar 29, 2024


Inspector Rishi story

A series of murders take place at the Thaenkaadu forest area in Tamil Nadu, with residents strongly believing it to be the work of forest spirit Vannaratchi. This set the ball rolling for a crime investigation headed by inspector Rishi (Naveen Chandra), who is abled by sub-inspectors Ayannar (Kanna Ravi) and Chitra (Malini Jeevaratnam) and forest officers Kathy (Sunainaa), Irfan (Elango Kumaravel) and others. A hotbed of all notorious wildlife crime activities, ranging from poaching to wood laundering, Thaenkadu soon becomes the central figure of the series which constantly shuttles between the presence of an omnipotent energy and perpetrators.

Inspector Rishi review

There is something tricky as well as a novel when a story tries to combine two film genres to present one central theme. In most cases, it becomes a balancing and nearly competitive act to see which one of the two would eat up the other to become a dominating central theme. Luckily Inspector Rishi evades this, and presents you with a true-blue probe drama that is interspersed with local legend and superstition. Not to say the series is devoid of cliches and tropes, but Inspector Rishi gets scored brownie points easily for its world-building narrative.

With so many characters in Thaenkadu village, that Inspector Rishi takes its own sweet time to detail the triumphs of each, and the series format helps for this. As much as we get the nitty-gritties of the sleuths’ trials and tribulations to crack the serial murder case, we are also rewarded with aptly time-proportioned personal arcs for each of the character. Each human in Inspector Rishi series is haunted, either by their beliefs, past, or present. If there is a realistic and naturally-evolving queer arc, there is also hauntings of a past relationship that stains the present of a character. Inspector Rishi has got these little bundles of human emotions, but on the large is about the man’s involvement of nature and that’s where the series begins to take a sloppy turn.


Inspector Rishi begins with an occult-like ritual that leads to mass suicide. It evidently reminded me of Midsommar in which sinister like cult practises pave way to talk about warm topics of belonging and empathy. But Inspector Rishi takes a different turn and employs the man versus nature trope. The series’ barebones does not move away an inch from this pre-conceived thread and there are no rewards if you guess the climax way ahead. Throw in elements of some Tamil movies like Aayirathil Oruvan and Whistle, Inspector Rishi is a carefully constructed chain of episodes that relies on its scene-by-scene narrative than an overall sense of satisfaction. And what enhances the most is its clean execution. The Prime Video presented series does not compromise on its production values, which immensely helps in the way the series is constructed and consumed.

Even as horror takes a back seat, and the psychological meandering of fright is little to do the story and experience of watching, Inspector Rishi is backed by suitable performances that are limited yet shine as an ensemble. Naveen Chandra, Kanna Ravi, Malini Jeevaratnam, Sunainaa, Elango Kumaravel play their parts with just the right amount of realism and drama. However, what brings down are the cliches and tropes that the series uses with multiple tracks. There isn’t enough deft to the characters, and most of them are only skin-deep in their personality, even as the writing tries to bring layers to it.

Inspector Rishi verdict

Inspector Rishi constantly battles between scepticism and belief. And the series never presents you with one answer. Although that might be a welcome decision that works in favour of the show, there is an undeniable predictability that comes despite it in its narrative. You are constantly guessing the turning point and each time come close with the actual one. It also gets unpacked so quickly that you are left wondering what is the residual experience you are left with. 

Even as the series evades from using jump scares, and majorly relies on atmospheric quality to induce its horror, Inspector Rishi falls short of being called a horror drama. At the same time, Thaenkadu is just more than a geographical setting and acts more of a character. Inspector Rishi is a closely-knit story of the land and its people, which tries to draw a parallel to the horror that is left when people are robbed of their homes. But with the concept not too fresh, it is the show’s execution that saves it from the wrath of predictability.


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