Code M review: Jennifer Winget, Rajat Kapoor offer a crackling thriller

Updated on Jan 21, 2020 05:34 PM IST
Code M review: Jennifer Winget makes an impressive debut on the digital platform as an army lawyer who delves into a high-profile case just days before her wedding.
Code M review: Jennifer Winget plays an army lawyer in the web series.
Code M review: Jennifer Winget plays an army lawyer in the web series.
Hindustan Times | ByRuchi Kaushal

Code M
Jennifer Winget, Rajat Kapoor, Tanuj Virwani
Akshay Choubey

Great power should come with great responsibility. Mostly, great power comes with great corruption, its roots going so deep that the colour of your uniform also becomes inconsequential.

Code M is the story of what happens when power is wielded by the crooked; a theme earlier web shows such as Rangbaaz Phirse and Sacred Games have delved into. Digital debut of actor Jennifer Winget, Code M is about a high profile army investigation that, on the face of it, is an open-and-shut case.

 Watch Code M trailer here

She plays an army lawyer and a bride-to-be for whom duty comes first. Asked to investigate an encounter that left two alleged terrorists and a soldier dead, Jennifer’s Monica soon finds that everything is not what it looks. As she talks to senior police officers, layers start coming off and the two ‘terrorists’ seem as much a victim as the armyman.

The closest we have seen to Code M, a drama that takes a long hard look at Indian Army and its biases, is perhaps Shaurya – itself ‘inspired’ by Rob Reiner’s A Few Good Men. While the Code M makers offer us several unprecedented twists and a mind-blowing climax, it still holds striking similarities with the film.

Jennifer shines through an unconventional role as a lawyer who refuses to believe facts served on a platter or trust people on face value. The charm of an army uniform does its magic with confidence adding to her looks. Tanuj Virwani, too, plays his part well as Jennifer’s ex-boyfriend and her opponent.

Jennifer Winget in a still from Code M.
Jennifer Winget in a still from Code M.

But it’s Rajat Kapoor as a crusty old colonel, who truly stands out. He refuses to give away a wry smile or secrets buried underneath the weight of his medals and his honour. The actor brings a nuance to his no-nonsense army man that will stay with you. Seema Biswas plays a short but powerful cameo and proves once again what a terrific actor she is.

The eight-episode series is crisp and cracking. Despite the show having a lot on his hands -- a cold-blooded murder, encounter, same-sex love, casteism, terrorism and smuggling – it juggles the myriad aspects well.

The writer deserves praise for showing mature relationship between the two exes who do not get into nostalgia mode but rather work together for a common cause. With no flashes of the past or melodrama to steal attention, it also proves the maturity of the two characters.

Rajat Kapoor in a still from Code M.
Rajat Kapoor in a still from Code M.

Code M also shows how complex issues can be solved with the Indian concept of jugaad. Terrified of exhuming bodies of alleged terrorists amid tension, Jennifer’s character takes the much simpler route of carrying out the task at night without a whiff to another soul.

However, in the smartly crafted series, cheap CGI is definitely a mood spoiler. Makers seem to be on a cost-cutting spree with low-cost chroma screen and offer visuals that are funny without intending to be so. Driving scenes shot in a studio not just look bizarre and out of place, they also make a mockery of the impressive screenplay.

The show seems to be a saving grace for AltBalaji and Zee5 as they try to catch up with the big boys, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. While that dream is still a long way from materializing, choosing smart content like Code M is definitely the way to go.

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