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If Evin Ahmad, the star of the new Netflix action series Who Is Erin Carter?, looks familiar to you, then you were probably a fan of the Swedish Netflix hit Snabba Cash, where she plays Leya. There, she’s an entrepreneur who has to deal with the consequences of where her app’s funding came from. Here, she’s a suburban mom and wife whose past comes to light after she subdues a suspect during a supermarket robbery.
WHO IS ERIN CARTER?: STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?
Opening Shot: Scenes of the seaside town of Folkestone, England. A woman is lying in bed next to her daughter, wide awake. She gets her child up when the clock hits 5 AM.
The Gist: We then see Erin Carter (Evin Ahmad) cajole her young daughter Harper to get her shoes on, telling her that they’re going on an adventure. She then paranoically carries her to a dock where a trawler is waiting to take them away in secret.
Five years later, in Barcelona, Erin is a substitute teacher at the school where the now-twelve-year-old Harper (Indica Watson) goes. Harper is in the school musical Erin is working with her work buddy Olivia (Susannah Fielding). After one of the boys says something not so nice to Harper, the girl then pins him down and starts punching.
Erin wonders where Harper learned to hit like that, but wants to make sure she won’t do it again. All Harper will say is that she needs to go to the bathroom. So they park at a supermarket that’s about to close. As they come out of the bathroom, though, Erin notices things aren’t right. There’s a robbery in progress; she tells Harper to hide to make sure she’s safe from the masked man and woman holding people at gunpoint.
When the male robber starts making his way towards Harper, Erin jumps in, subduing him with skills a suburban mom and substitute teacher normally doesn’t have. In a struggle, she shoots him with his gun, but before he loses consciousness, he says, “It’s you,” seemingly recognizing her. The female robber escapes.
At the hospital, her husband Jordi (Sean Teale), a nurse, takes her in to see the injured robber, and when he recognizes her again, he goes into cardiac arrest.
She’s hailed at school as a hero, but she sees the face of the female robber lurking, especially at a birthday party for Penelope (Charlotte Vega), a wealthy neighbor and the mother of the kid whom Harper beat up. Penelope wants to have Harper expelled, but it seems that Erin has information on her that she doesn’t want to use but may have to.
Erin’s neighbor Emilio (Pep Ambròs) — also Jordi’s best friend — is a police detective who is on the robbery case. He comes to Erin’s school to show her CCTV footage that has a clear view of the skills she used to subdue the male robber. She claims it was adrenaline, but he warns her his boss might try to sniff out what happened. When his boss does question Erin, he does try to sniff out an inconsistency related to how the male robber died, but apparently claims that there wasn’t any CCTV footage, meaning that Emilio kept the footage a secret.
Emilio’s reasons for holding back the footage become much clearer when the female robber, who also recognized Erin, comes to Erin’s school to confront her. When Emilio arrives to see the aftermath of that confrontation, he does what he can to help Erin cover things up.
What Shows Will It Remind You Of? The “seemingly normal person with secrets” genre is rife with examples, like The Stranger and The Last Thing He Told Me.
Our Take: There are points during the first episode Who Is Erin Carter?, written by Jack Lothian, where we were really into seeing Erin try to hide whatever her previous life was from everyone in Barcelona, despite the cryptic things that the robbers say to her at various times during the episode. But there were other points where we threw up our hands and tried to figure out just how Erin gets away with certain things without — at the very least — Jordi and Harper becoming suspicious.
None of that is the fault of Evin Ahmad. She is good at playing both sides of Erin Carter, trying to be a normal mom and teacher and put her old life behind her while being a complete badass; she played a similar role in the Swedish action series Snabba Cash. No, it’s the nature of a series such as this, where someone is trying to keep a secret from even those closest to him or her. It’s hard to draw out the drama involved in showing the person straining to keep their secret without getting the characters into some pretty ridiculous situations.
For instance, when Erin asks Jordi if she can see the male robber in ICU, her reasoning to him is that she feels bad that he got hurt. If we were Jordi, we would immediately be suspicious. But that wouldn’t advance the plot, would it? Then we have the fact that Emilio is a part of the robbery investigation, despite the fact that there is a pretty obvious conflict on interest; again, if he weren’t a part of the investigation, and didn’t have a good reason to protect Erin in all of this, the show’s plot wouldn’t move forward. But all of these coincidences and plot contrivances pile up, taking us out of the reality of Erin’s situation.
It doesn’t help that we know nothing about Erin’s past besides the fact that she escaped it five years prior. Those details will be revealed as the series goes on, but there’s always the possibility that the reveal and the aftermath won’t have the narrative punch they’re supposed to have. In the meantime, we get details that we’re not sure are germane to the story, like Harper’s vision issues and Erin’s dispute with Penelope. Will these dots get connected as the show goes along? We sure hope so, or else it feels like a waste of time.
Sex and Skin: The show’s TV-MA rating is more for violence and language than anything else. Erin and Jordi have some fully-clothed sex, and that’s about as hot as it gets.
Parting Shot: Erin goes to her attic and finds her gun, which is of course right when Harper walks in and sees her. The kid is going to have a lot of questions.
Sleeper Star: Indica Watson is really fun to watch as Harper, especially during a scene at Penelope’s party where she threatens Penelope’s son as she’s pretending to apologize to him.
Most Pilot-y Line: Jordi asks Erin, “When did you start keeping things from me? Shutting me out?” Oh, sweet naïve Jordi, you don’t know the half of it.
Our Call: STREAM IT. Despite some plot contrivances in the first episode, we’re still recommending Who Is Erin Carter? because Evin Ahmad does a good job making Erin a bit more credible.
Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and tech, but he doesn’t kid himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, VanityFair.com, Fast Company and elsewhere.
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What happens in Who Is Erin Carter? Five years after leaving England with her daughter, Harper, Erin is working as a substitute teacher at an exclusive Barcelona international school, where Harper is a student. After Erin gallantly takes down gun-wielding robbers at a supermarket, people start asking questions.How many episodes are there of Who Is Erin Carter? › Who Is Erin Carter Douglas Henshall? ›
Playing the role of businessman and father Daniel Lang is Douglas Henshall. Fans of BBC drama Shetland will recognise the actor for his part as DI Jimmy Perez which he left in 2022. Douglas said of his part in the show: "He's not the top of the food chain but he's not exactly middle management.What is the TV show about the Carter family? ›
Who is Penelope? Penelope is a wealthy mother, who takes a disliking to Erin after Harper lashes out at her son.Who is Lena in Erin Carter? ›
Lena: Denise Gough
Denise Gough plays Lena, a mysterious woman from Erin's past – no spoilers here, folks.