Guilty Party is a story about a disgraced journalist, Beth, who is desperately trying to regain her reputation. An opportunity arises when a woman who was wrongly convicted of murder writes Beth and asks for help to prove her innocence. Beth takes it upon herself to search for any proof that Toni didn’t murder her husband.
I really wanted to like this show. It had some interesting elements to it. I liked that the show uses Beath as someone who is too dated for the industry. I liked that while she was trying to write meaningful stories, she gets overlooked for stories about pop culture. The first couple of episodes make some interesting criticisms about modern journalism. It was really well done at first.
I also liked that Beth wasn’t perfect. She stumbles through the clues and is frightened easily. It feels like she is in way over her head but her desperation keeps her from quitting. Beth is a refreshing take on the detective genre because it felt like she could fail. Usually, in these types of shows, you have a godlike lead with easy access to all these connections and clues, but Beth has none of these. She is constantly having to struggle to find any evidence. This gave the show its tension and I loved it until it became self-serving.
Every episode in this series has a scene where someone comments on how hot Beth is for being old. It wouldn’t be a problem if the story didn’t stop to make this a point. As the series progresses, it gets lazy. Hardships are thrown at Beth for the sake of moving the plot forward. Her husband cheats on her to give her the excuse to sleep with a younger man. Worst of all, this show becomes a white savior narrative as she learns how special black people are. It is gross and I can’t recommend it.
I don’t hate that they use Kate Beckinsale as their lead. When the show isn’t about her and she is trying to solve the mystery, it’s great. Beth is a good character with clear motivations and flaws, but the show never capitalizes on it. This show could have worked, but people got lazy.
This is the second project I’ve seen her in where the show spends so much time talking about how hot she is. I wonder if that is a clause in her contract? I wish they would have focused on actually telling a story. If you don’t believe me, you can stream this on Paramount Plus.