Roush Review: ‘Truth’ Could Be Told Better in ‘Truth Be Told’

Truth Be Told
Apple TV+

Do not start a drinking game for each time someone, especially muckraking podcaster Poppy Parnell (Octavia Spencer), utters the word “truth” in this exceedingly earnest crime drama. You’ll never make it past the first episode.

On second thought, maybe that’s the best way to enliven the sluggish Truth Be Told, which wallows in its journalist hero’s guilt over her part in the murder conviction of a possibly innocent teenager named Warren Cave 20 years ago. The story made Poppy a media star, with a Pulitzer Prize and now a trendy podcast she calls Reconsidered for obvious reasons.

The adult Warren (Breaking Bad‘s characteristically intense Aaron Paul) is now a hardened con with Nazi tattoos, and his desire for exoneration is way more compelling than watching the miscast and overly serene Spencer digging unconvincingly for the (gulp) truth, putting members of her more colorful family at risk.

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There are lots of options, from sci-fi and fantasy offerings on Netflix to Showtime originals.

Lizzy Caplan (currently killing it in Castle Rock) steals the show in a flashy dual role as estranged twins Lanie and Josie, who seem to know more than they’re saying about that long-ago murder of their philandering professor father, not to mention their childhood connection to Warren.

Josie in particular was so scarred by family and media trauma that she moved cross-country, changed her name and adopted a posh British accent. She’s almost worth the price of admission.

(Credit: Apple TV+)

Truth (gulp) be told, you know you’re in trouble when the least fascinating character is the one driving the action. You’re better off listening to a real true-crime podcast like Serial.

Truth Be Told, Series Premiere, Friday, December 6, Apple TV+