The Pitch: If there is one constant running through the work of Shonda Rhimes, it’s this: Her instincts for what makes a good story are dead on. Not every show with her name on it is an out-of-the-gate hit like Bridgerton or Grey’s Anatomy — rest in peace, The Catch, a great little show about con artists that deserved more of a chance. But it’s impossible to say that a Shondaland series is ever boring.
Speaking of con artists, though… Inventing Anna, the new limited series premiering this Friday on Netflix, represents Rhimes’ first Netflix project that bears her name as not just a producer, but a creator. And you can sense why she chose not to hand this project off to someone else, given how many delicate elements are involved in these nine episodes — primarily, the depiction of its two lead characters, and what exactly this show is trying to say about them.
I’m the Hot Girl, I’m the It Bitch: “This whole story is completely true. Except for all the parts that are totally made up,” an epigraph declares as the notorious Anna Delvey (Julia Garner) introduces herself as the star of the show — the self-proclaimed German heiress who left thousands of dollars of unpaid bills behind as she partied her way around the world and pursued her dream of opening up a social club called the Anna Delvey Foundation.
While many true crime stories right now focus on dramatizing the crimes being perpetuated, Inventing Anna adds an extra layer from the jump by putting its narrative voice front and center in the form of Vivian (Anna Chlumsky), a reporter whose drive to not just uncover Anna’s tale, but understand who exactly Anna is, fuels the narrative of the series.