sat 13/07/2024

Who Is Erin Carter?, Netflix review - secrets and ultra-violence under the Catalan sun | reviews, news & interviews

Who Is Erin Carter?, Netflix review - secrets and ultra-violence under the Catalan sun

Who Is Erin Carter?, Netflix review - secrets and ultra-violence under the Catalan sun

Anglo-Spanish thriller is daft but addictive

Evin Ahmad as multi-skilled schoolteacher Erin Carter

One thing we know for sure about Erin Carter is that she’s played by Swedish-Kurdish actor Evin Ahmad, and it’s clear right from the start that she’s a woman with a complicated past which she’s trying to run away from. But you’ll have to get to episode four before the mysteries start to unwind themselves.

We also know that she fled furtively across the Channel from Folkestone in a trawler with her daughter Harper (Indica Watson, pictured below), and has started a new life (with a new identity) as a supply schoolteacher in Barcelona. With her hospital nurse partner Jordi (Sean Teale, from Skins), she’s managed to set up a remarkably lavish home in what looks like the Catalan version of Bel Air. Though it isn’t entirely clear why she calls herself Mrs Carter.

The glorious Spanish weather, ocean views and the elegant contours of Barcelona make the show exceedingly pleasing on the eye (the production is a collaboration between the UK’s Left Bank pictures and Spain’s Palma Pictures).Though utterly implausible, Who is Erin Carter? cracks along at a sizzling pace, dragging you by the scruff of the neck across the plot’s numerous “you can’t be serious” moments. The most chortlesome aspect is the way that demure teacher and conscientious parent Erin is always just a hair-trigger away from bursting into frenetic all-action mode, despite cautioning her daughter sternly that “we don’t solve our problems with violence.”

For instance, a routine trip to the supermarket with Harper veers off the rails when Erin finds the store is being held up by masked gunmen. She pitches herself into a ferocious bout of hand-to-hand combat, in which she spears one assailant through the groin before shooting him with his own gun. Mysteriously, the masked marauder seems to recognise Erin and calls her “Kate”. Luckily, her neighbour Emilio is a cop who’s also her husband’s best friend, so he’s able to discreetly airbrush the evidence of Erin’s John Wick-ish tendencies from the police files. “You handled yourself quite well,” Emilio notes wryly.

However, Emilio’s help doesn’t come for free, and he enlists Erin in some clandestine activities of his own, bugging the home of a suspect. To make her escape, Erin has to leap off a roof into the sea, then rush back to her school just in time for an interview for a full-time teaching job. Now that’s what I call multi-skilling.

Before we reach the end, Erin gets blown up, beaten up and thrown off the back of a truck, yet still manages to be mother, home-maker and teacher. Even after she’s been shot, she’s able to run, jump and battle assorted scumbags with seemingly undimmed energy. The story, daft as it is, is enlivened by some entertaining supporting performances. Susannah Fielding adds some comic light relief as Erin’s ditzy school colleague Olivia Thorne (who knew Spanish schools were so keen on recruiting the Brits?), while Erin’s running feud with her pretentious neighbour Penelope (Charlotte Vega, pictured below) is the source of several barbed, venom-spitting interludes.

Increasingly prominent in the action is the menacing figure of Daniel Lang (Douglas Henshall), an influential local businessman with a finger in various pies. He decides Erin is the perfect teacher for his “difficult” son Dylan, and recruits her to give the boy some one-on-one tuition. But, oddly enough, it turns out that his motives are somewhat ulterior.

Eventually the action comes full circle and the dots are joined, and the final scene is a blatant set-up for season two. Ahmad, familiar to Euro-viewers from the Swedish noir Snabba Cash, plays the lead role with both conviction and athleticism, and she could surely handle a script which offers us a little more actualité.

Erin is always just a hair-trigger away from bursting into frenetic all-action mode


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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