A sharp and funny take on a much publicised scandal
Aparnna Hajirnis -
What is the story about?
'Quiz' is a miniseries that takes us back to 2001 when an Army major named Charles Ingram won million dollars on the show 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire' under suspicious circumstances. The show's producers claim that Ingram built a system in his garage so that he would always win the fastest finger first round. He appeared on the show a bunch of times, before winning the coveting prize. The producers allege that Charles was helped by his wife by coughing from the audiences, which thereby helped him win. He changed his answers multiple times, thereby setting off the producers to believe that he cheated. His victory becomes a national scandal and the miniseries dwells further if Charles indeed cheated.
Most of us in India rushed back home from schools, tuitions and playtime to be able to catch the 9pm show of 'Kaun Banega Crorepati' hosted by Amitab Bachchan. It became a rage in the show as the country went from watching K-Soaps and dramas to watching a Quiz show. The show gave people hope that any common person could win 1 crore rupees if they used their general knowledge. Little did we know that the west was also seeing a rage with their show 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire'. Set in 2001, we are introduced to quiz enthusiasts who are obsessed with participating on the show and winning the coveted prize. Their obsessions make them find loopholes in the system built by the producers of the show. Charles and Diana Ingram (yes, we know what this is...yet another doomed Charles and Diana couple) find their way to the show. Charles participates, while his wife eggs him and allegedly coughs when the questions are being asked to him as the producers of the show alleged. The couple had figured out tactics on how to play the game and win the coveted 1 million dollars. However, as much as we would have liked for 'Quiz' to end on an ambiguous note, it clearly lets Charles and Diana go scotfree. 'Quiz' fully thinks that Charles and Diana are innocent.
The show has stellar performances from Matthew Macfadyen as Charles Ingram, Michael Sheen as Chris Tarrant and Sian Clifford as Diana Ingram. They add the wit, comedy and the intensity to the scenes. Macfadyen and Clifford play their roles as a quiz obsessive couple very well.
Music & Other Departments
The show has been shot well and the courtroom scenes are by far the most interesting plot in the story. Director Stephen Frears has done a fabulous job of setting up a 'heist' narrative in a very evocative and detailed manner.
The courtroom scenes, the whole setup in the garage and the behind-the-camera scenes of the quiz show will keep you on your toes.
None that I could think of.
Did I enjoy it?
I would have loved it, even more, had 'Quiz' been a little ambiguous. The show does seem to have been made with the perspective of establishing that Charles and Diana Ingram were innocent.
Do I recommend it?
Go for it! It is funny, scandalous and very interesting.