Unseen is a 2023 South African crime series created by Travis Taute and Daryne Joshua. It is a South African adaptation of Fatma a 2021 Turkish drama series created and directed by Özer Feyzioğlu and Özgür Önürme. The first season of Unseen was released on Netflix on Wednesday, March 29, 2023.
Unseen was filmed in and around Capetown, South Africa. The series follows the story of a house cleaner whose search for her missing husband spirals into the world of criminal syndicates.
A solid South African production which had to me playing who is that actor as I called them by their more familiar character names from daily weeknight TV shows.
It is a riveting, fast paced series that reels you in from the moment the first episode opens up with the iconic line the protagonist says when she is asked who she is and she replies… “I am just a cleaner…“
The timeline then shifts back to five days earlier, when the story begins. The 6-episode series paces through one killer week in the life of Zenzi Mwale, a house cleaner portrayed by Gail Mabalane. For a cleaner she entangled in quite the mess. The show could have easily been titled as The Cleaner but that might have been a bit cliché and instead went by the more sublime title of Unseen.
The title Unseen is reflection of the protagonist’s life where she is basically an unseen and unremarkable member of the society. One character who is also an author in the series almost breaks the fourth wall by introducing his work-in-progress, a book which in non-too subtle ways helps drive home the point of how little we may know or care about the unseen people in our lives, in case you miss the obvious. 🤪
I want to write a new story. The story of a woman softly spoken unremarkable, but with a dignity of strength,I haven't often seen, whose taken knock after knock, but finds strength to get back up. A woman I would like to call a friend to a younger man maybe even more. Who has seen the worst of heartbreak but who has resolved to live, to live with the best of hearts and make the right decisions, always. What will happen to this woman when the world around her is in chaos, when her limits are tested, her principles, when her back is against the wall... then we will see who she really is. Unseen - Lufuno Ngesi
Gail Mabalane as Zenzile “Zenzi” Mwale delivers an award winning performance that is the heart and soul of Unseen. I was not familiar with her work until I watched this series but I have added her to my list of favourite screen performers. The evolution of her character’s story arc from a timid mouse to something akin to a femme fatale yet preserving an air of naivete and innocence is nothing shot remarkable.
Unseen also has some strong supporting cast who keep the momentum going such that there is never a dull moment and you may find yourself binge watching this series to see what happens next…
For a six episode production, the series has some pacing issues while piling up on inconsistencies and plot holes, especially in the middle episodes where the plot seems to get somewhat derailed and lose focus.
For a cleaner, the protagonist sure does make a mess of things, something which is actually pointed out a couple of times in the serie. With that kind of mess going on its surprising that the plot can just decide to gloss over some details and instead focus on some bonding scenes that do little else for the plot except as piece meal offerings for some of the lesser developed characters…
While the protagonist’s character gets a fully developed story arc, most of the characters, even those with significant screen time, still come across as 2 dimensional stereotypes or just place holders… [Put Big Bad Boss here]
Unseen does not shy away from the brutality and toxism of the world to the underprivileged and the unseen as experienced by the lead character, it has a couple of disturbing scenes that may leave you a bit shocked and could be triggering for more sensitive viewers.
The way the protagonist is constantly underestimated and abused simply because she is a woman and has menial job is so… cringe. A fundamental point which the series is hinged upon can be traced back to, had the husband done one simple thing, none of this might have happened… the series exposes the toxic nature of the yarchy as patriacrchy is referred to in some circles… but hey we needed the series to happen.
While unseen is a work of fiction, it exposes some of what is wrong with the world, corruption, perverted justice systems where real criminals get away with their misdeeds and the only ones who pay for it are the innocent…
I binge watched all the episodes during the Easter break and while it may be getting a bit of an overhyped fame, it does try to carry its weight. Its currently topping Netflix charts.
When I got to the end my my last thought was “what in the ending in that“… Dont know if this series will get renewed for a second season or how the story will progress from there but the show creators says they already have an idea in mind….
Not So Fan Fact: …as of 2022 Cape Town was ranked as one of the 50 most violent cities in the world… The real-life affiliations of some of the suburbs featured in Unseen with gangsters and crime syndicates add an extra bit of authenticity to the series.
Have you watched Unseen? Is it something you would watch?
Ill consider it, whenever i decide to stream netflix
I like the title/premise. It seems to have great potential. The trailer starts off interesting and then it flattens out. Also, what does the stripper have to do with anything? So confusing.
Unseen got be glued to the tv until I watched the last episode.Gail did a good job
Good review. I’m going to watch it. Review True Story please, with Kevin Hart and Wesley Snipes.
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Wow thank you… my work here is done haha
Sure thing will do True Story after Citadel since am invested in that for now ^_^