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Guilt is just a thinly veiled rip-off of the Amanda Knox trial

If you’re into soapy crime dramas filled with good looking people and enough twists and turns to make you dizzy, then Freeform’s latest summer offering, Guilt, will be your new obsession. The episode opens with a bang — quite literally — as a young woman by the name of Molly Ryan is murdered during a hazy drunken night of partying with her roommate, both of whom are studying abroad.

Sound familiar? That’s probably because Guilt is a thinly veiled adaptation of the Amanda Knox murder case, in which Knox, an American, and her Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were convicted of murdering Knox’s study abroad roommate, U.K. native Meredith Kercher, in 2007. To recap you on your sexy murder scandals, Knox was branded an oversexed young murderess capable of the worst crime imaginable in the media, and she and her boyfriend were wrongfully convicted of Kercher’s death, ultimately spending four years in prison for a crime they didn’t commit.

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Of course, the Knox story makes for a compelling narrative, so it’s not surprising that the show’s creators are looking to capitalize on one of the most famous murder trials in the past decade, but so far, it doesn’t seem like they’re doing anything more than adding cheap dramatic effects to the tune of a too-fast, sloppy plot.

The pilot serves to set the scene for what one can assume is (at least) a full season’s worth of episodes, and Guilt‘s pilot does that… full throttle. There are so many clunky plot twists and turns that you’ll end up dizzy at best and with a headache at worst. There’s so much going on here (secret sex clubs! Creepy stepfather! Affair with a professor!) that it’s a miracle it’s not challenging to keep up.

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So far, what Guilt has going for it is an exciting story line filled with endless opportunities… if it manages to pace itself appropriately. It definitely packs the punches early on, but seemingly at the expense of a coherent plotline.

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Anything that can happen in the pilot does, from Grace, the prime murder suspect, fleeing to Paris and simultaneously blackmailing a professor’s wife due to their torrid affair after finding her roommate murdered, to various questions about Grace’s innocent pleas and true intentions. And that’s just one character, folks. There are numerous other characters thrown in, from Grace’s stepfather and sister to the investigators.

It may be hard to keep up, but if you’re looking for a show that’ll have you sitting on the edge of your sofa, Guilt hits the nail on the head, for lack of a less, erm, violent term.

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