Inspector Rishi Review | A Mystical Crime Thriller With Occasional Sparks

Inspector Rishi, the latest Amazon Prime Video original series by JS Nandhini, is an attempt to blend facts with myth to create an intriguing thriller. While the structure of the series establishes that aspect in a fairly engaging way, the over-explanatory writing that practically spoon-feeds the audience verbally about even the thinking of each of the characters is dragging the screenplay backward. With many of the subplots that deal with the personal struggle of characters struggling to have a solid connection with the core idea, Inspector Rishi would have been crispier with a trimmed on-point script.

In a place named Thaenkaadu, which has a reserved forest, the murder of a photographer happens. The police department decided to assign the task of finding the culprit to Inspector Rishi Nandan, who was trying to bounce back into the force after he lost one of his eyes and his fiance in a tragic incident. Rishi’s efforts to find the killer weren’t easy, and multiple murders started to happen and the local people started to believe that an evil spirit named Vanaratchi was behind all this. How a rationally thinking Rishi manages to find a solution to this case is what we see in Inspector Rishi.

The suspense-building algorithm of Inspector Rishi is not an unfamiliar one. As the series approaches its finale, you sort of start to get a feeling of what will happen, and when that eventually happens, more than surprise, you are feeling impressed because they managed to make you think about other possibilities in the earlier portions of the series. Finally, when the series reveals its genre to the audience, it sort of becomes simplistic, and you don’t really get that wow factor when you backtrack the whole thing. The spoon-feeding nature of the dialogues has a major role in diminishing the charm of the intricate plot. And once we access the backstories, there are cliches that will make the story’s trajectory slightly underwhelming.

SPOILERS AHEAD IN THIS PARAGRAPH! The characters are not that subtle in expressing their concerns and viewpoints, and hence, almost every performance has a sense of loudness, which you wouldn’t really expect as the content follows a series format. Naveen Chandra, as the central character Rishi, is fine in being that almost always grumpy police officer, and much like many investigational thrillers, Rishi is also fighting an inner demon. Kanna Ravi is there as the associate of Rishi, Ayyanar, with his share of personal problems. Malini Jeevarathnam’s Chitra is the LGBTQIA+ community representation of the series. Srikrishna Dayal, as the righteous forest official always gave the audience a mixed signal about who he could be. In terms of surprise, I would say how Sunaina performed the naivety of Kathy was pretty impressive, as the seemingly pointless romantic track made total sense at the end.

What keeps you hooked on the content is the fact that most of the characters in the story have a purpose to the main thread of the film. The wife character of Ayyanar and even the dead girlfriend of Rishi are good examples of that. The issues the series has in terms of diverting to subplots like Ayyanar’s marital issues, Chitra’s love story, etc., get some level of salvaging when people in those subplots eventually contribute to the solution of the case in focus. The whole vigilante angle to the story that unfolds in the last episode felt a bit too over the top, and maybe because we have seen that trope so much in films that when it is revealed, we don’t really get to feel a sense of surprise. The cinematography maintains that the eeriness the series required and the production design were also good (except for that tree from which the Vanaratchi came).

Inspector Rishi is grappling with so many things in its 10-episode journey with an average duration of 40-45 minutes. While some of it is cliched and loud, there are areas that will make you root for the cause or intent of the series. With the episodic structure keeping you interested in unraveling the mystery, Inspector Rishi is a mystical crime thriller that works in parts.

Final Thoughts

With the episodic structure keeping you interested in unraveling the mystery, Inspector Rishi is a mystical crime thriller that works in parts.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.