There are some areas where The Hush could have done better, especially with regards to matching character backstories to the roles they play in the series.
Sharifah, the high flying civil servant, lawyer and politician – “I’m not your maid”
Ariati Tyeb Papar, who plays Sharifah, has done a commendable job.
The flaw is not with the acting but with the character’s backstory and how her domestic situation is portrayed.
Considering that Sharifah is a lawyer turned “prominent civil service officer”, it’s strange that the family does not employ a domestic help. The bio says she is a “politician”. This is descriptive but not definitive enough. Is she an MP? If this was made clear, I must have missed it. The fact that the newspaper mentions her when reporting the death in The Hush, indicates she is probably an MP – someone drawing a substantial MP’s allowance of more than $180,000 per annum, plus she also has a salary of a “prominent civil service officer”.
Okay, perhaps she wants to be a super-mum/wife/civil servant/politician and adept at burning shirts. Never mind that she overlooked time management and opportunity cost. However, her character bio does not sync with her screen situation. Perhaps in later episodes she might employ a maid 🙂 But for now, she is quite atypical of a successful career woman in Singapore.
For our purposes, if she has a domestic help, many of the scenes involving her screen family become redundant. Rewrites. New ideas for new situations.
Another character whose bio is in conflict with his role is Insp Koh, played by Shane Marduki.
However, this is merely my opinion and nothing to do with how Insp Koh is portrayed.
Insp Koh’s demeanour and approach is questionable especially as he is investigating a small group of neighbours, educated people – including a politician – people who will share notes and can kick up a fuss.
Considering that the character of Insp Koh “has little patience for fools” – one wonders how smart is his aggressive approach when interacting with the very people who are his greatest source of information and help. Also, I believe police officers are more mindful when conducting public investigations versus private interrogations.
A congenial person who puts his “suspects” at ease while doggedly hunting down the perpetrator of the boy’s death would not only be interesting and more watchable, but also a cut-above in his sleuth work. Instead, the show takes the “standard” MediaCorp approach when it comes to portraying police officers – often as aggressive and ready to flaunt the power of their badge and gunbelt.
Shane Mardjuki, who plays Insp Koh is doing a commendable but tough job, balancing roles with character traits. He already has me disliking Insp Koh – which is good for him as an actor. It shows his talent for getting the audience emotive.
However, it does make the Insp Koh character somewhat predictable.
Both Ariati and Shane are obviously talented and for them to shine, they need believable characters to portray. In a drama series, which promises very little action scenes – memorable/believable characters are one of the 3 crucial components.
Nevertheless, I’m invested enough to look forward to Episode 2. This concludes my 3-part review of Episode 1 of The Hush.
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