Posts Tagged Amish Edireweera

The Serpent (Series on notorious Charles Sobhraj) – Review has spoilers

If you’d like a peek into the psyche of a sociopath, a man without scruples, without any ability to feel guilt, remorse or concern for any other human beside himself then you’ll get to see it in this serial. Most people in their 40s or older have likely heard of the notorious fraudster, thief and murderer, Charles Sobhraj. Early in the series, you see him confide to his sidekick Ajay that upon killing first human, “I expected to feel guilt, but I did not. I felt free, free from judgment; mine and God’s”. Taher Rahim as Sobhraj, Jenna Coleman as one of his girlfriends, Marie Andre Leclerc and Amish Edireweera as his sidekick and partner in crime, Ajay Chowdhury, are very realistic in their roles as notorious criminals. While Sobhraj and Ajay feel no remorse of their actions, Marie feels the remorse from time to time but when the opportunity for riches appears then she quickly gets over her remorse, and actively participates in the crime, sliding into the new identity that Charles gave her.

The serial isn’t focused solely on Sobhraj and his gang of criminals. This serial celebrates the humanity, dedication and commitment of Herman Kannipenberg (Billy Howle), his wife Angela (Ellie Bamber), Nadine (Mathilde Warnier and Paul (Tim McInnerny) to stop the killings. Theirs was an uphill battle considering that authorities in Thailand did not take them seriously, and Sobhraj evaded capture with multiple fake identities and by bribing the police.  Hermann, a Dutch diplomat, couldn’t get it out of his head when he found out that two young tourists were never going to go home. He tells his wife, “my mother made sure we always had books and bicycles. She insisted, wherever you want to go, you must go. We all talk a lot about freedom. I don’t think I really understood it – the sacrifice of it and that some mothers are never going to see their children again”. Paul offered several times to end the nightmare by shooting Sobhraj but Kannipenberg insisted that it must be done legally. Painstakingly and sometimes at great risk to themselves he and his group of friends gathered the evidence and time and again approached the authorities until they got someone’s ear.

And yet, Sobhraj evaded capture in Thailand where he would have gotten the death penalty, since he evaded capture for some time and then got arrested in India and while he served time there, the statute of limitations in Thailand expired. Sobhraj’s killing spree continued for several more years and in the end he killed 20+ tourists in several countries including France, Greece, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, India, Thailand and Malaysia.

Sobhraj risked capture if he visited Nepal and yet such was his ego that he not only visited on fake identity but also took pictures and publicly posted his pictures. When captured, he insisted that he was a different man and he had never visited Nepal before. But the police officer questioning him said that Sobhraj had not only visited but on his previous trip years ago, the same officer had questioned him. And yet due to lack of evidence Sobhraj would have been let go but for the dedicated efforts of Kannipenberg. 

Sobhraj served 19 or his 20 year sentence in Nepal but was released on December 23, 2022 (just two days prior to my writing the review) from Nepal and extradited to France to live as a free man at the age of 78. Sadly most of his young victims will never get to grow old and will never go home. The serial is dedicated to “all the young intrepids (fearless adventurous souls) who set out with big dreams and never made it home”.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: