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Criminal on Netflix: What is netball?

David Tennant on Criminal UK.
David Tennant on Criminal UK. Pic credit: Netflix

Netflix debuted an ambitious criminal procedural show this week called Criminal, which is a one location episodic show about a story unfolding through police interrogations.

One of the episodes sees Doctor Who alumnus David Tennant in the hot seat as the police break him down to get the truth about what happened to his daughter, who was brutally murdered. We also learn of a sport that is not widely known in the U.S. called netball.

But what exactly was this sport that David Tennant’s character Edgar was taking his daughter to weekly? Here is everything to know about netball from Criminal UK.

What happened in Criminal UK episode Edgar and how was netball involved?

On Criminal UK, the episode titled Edgar takes viewers on a winding journey through the sexual abuse and murder of a young girl, and yet, the whole journey takes place in the four walls of a police interrogation room. Did the stepfather abuse and murder his daughter or are they questioning an innocent man? Was it actually the netball coach? What is netball anyway? Spoilers for Criminal UK episode titled Edgar follow!

The beginning of the episode sees Edgar Fallon seated in the interrogation room for questioning, his sole response to each question being a smug, “No comment.” At 23 hours in, his desire to find a defense overrides his judgment and he begins to tell a tale of who is actually to blame… his daughter’s netball coach.

Each week, Fallon would take his daughter to play a sport known as netball. It is the contention of the police force that Fallon would use this time to sexually abuse his stepdaughter. As their proof, they have the fact that he always got a room with a double bed, even when his daughter could have had her own.

They also point out that he was having marital struggles, constantly fought with his wife, and he was one of the only fathers to go to every game. Even as he points a finger at the netball coach, his own trunk mat convicts him of murder. When she threatens to tell her coach about the abuse and expose Edgar for the abuser he is, Fallon loses his temper and beats her. In a desperate effort not to get caught, he puts his barely breathing daughter into a trunk, with a cast he has set to try and hide his abuse and drives away.

When they are far enough away from civilization, he strangles her with a grocery bag, and plots to blame the netball coach for her death. But, the hexagons on his trunk mat leave marks on the plaster of her cast, which means that his plan to blame the coach backfires and the police have their man. But, what exactly is netball, and who would take an innocent thing like youth sports and use it for such nefarious purposes?

What is netball from Criminal UK?

According to Netball America, netball has seven players and is similar to basketball, but with different rules. There is no dribbling or running with the ball. The ball must be passed within three seconds of gameplay.

The goal is smaller than a basketball goal and boasts no backboard. Netball is considered to be a safer sport than basketball because the players cannot be nearer than three feet to the person who has the ball, which means that injuries are much less likely.

Netball is now being included in PE classes and has events hosted worldwide for competition. Many places where netball is played have programs for women who may be of lower social strata and unable to afford to pay so that they can have a chance to play.

Even though netball is played mostly by women, it has more recently become a sport where everyone is welcome. Most frequently played in the United Kingdom, it has recently grown to be popular in the U.S. and other places throughout the world.

Twenty million people play netball globally, and that number is said to be growing. Netball is viewed by some as better than basketball because it is much more team-oriented and can help people of all ages and skill levels develop fine motor abilities. Netball originally began as a way for women to play basketball, but quickly became its own sport that has only grown in popularity.

So there you have it. That’s the sport Edgar was using as an excuse to be with his daughter every week. Judging from the video above, netball seems like a sport for everyone, as well as a way to stay physically active. Just maybe avoid having your stepdad bring you to the games.

Criminal UK is now streaming on Netflix.

John Dotson is a film and television reviewer and commentator from Texas. His favorite part of what he does is getting to discuss film and... read more
John Dotson

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