Aaron Paul finally got to give Jesse Pinkman a proper sendoff in El Camino: A Breaking Bad movie. Now he’s playing a role even tougher than Jesse Pinkman in the Apple TV+ original series Truth Be Told, coming December 6. Jesse was a criminal and part of Heisenberg’s meth empire, but the one murder he committed nearly destroyed him and he will probably always have PTSD from his captivity. Warren Cave is a different story.
Aaron Paul is the center of the murder mystery in ‘Truth Be Told’
Warren Cave (Aaron Paul) went to prison for the murder of Chuck Buhrman when Warren was a teenager. The coverage of the case Poppy Parnell (Octavia Spencer) wrote led to the court trying Warren as an adult. She even got a juror dismissed for reading the articles she wrote.
Now hosting a true crime podcast, Parnell believes one of the witnesses was lying. She visits Warren in prison and starts pursuing the Berman family again 19 years later. Some want to leave this case in the past, and even Warren isn’t entirely cooperative in proving his innocence.
Aaron Paul makes his ‘Truth Be Told’ scenes count
Aaron Paul is only in Truth Be Told sporadically. The scenes he’s in are powerful and show him creating a character much darker than Jesse Pinkman, and Jesse Pinkman was dark, albeit more sympathetic. In Warren’s first scene he shows off his Nazi tattoos. Even if he was innocent, he fell in with some dark elements of prison culture just to survive.
But Warren Cave is only part of a larger ensemble. There were supporting characters on Breaking Bad but it was a two hander between Walt (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse. Poppy is the lead investigator, and the many members of her family and the Berman family get equal screen time.
‘Truth Be Told’ takes its time
In the three episodes Apple TV+ released for review, Truth Be Told takes its time parsing out new information. Perhaps that’s the nature of a true crime podcast. Real evidence doesn’t reveal itself as often as a 45 minute television episode might. Still, the pace tends to drag.
That’s not to say I won’t keep watching to find out where it goes, but it makes Truth Be Told a lower priority than some of the other debut series. Although Truth Be Told isn’t on until December so we may have caught up on all the other Apple TV+ shows by then.
Aaron Paul isn’t the only standout on Truth Be Told. Spencer has a very conflicted character to play. She had conviction 19 years ago, but now she’s unsure. If she was wrong, the guilt is a strong enough driver to make her press ahead on a cold case. That single-minded pursuit also threatens her family and friend relationships.
Perhaps Truth Be Told is taking its time establishing the characters orbiting Poppy. Ron Cephas Jones, Mekhi Phifer and Michael Beach all play characters whose well-being is threatened by Poppy re-opening this case. Then of course the Buhrman family (Lizzy Caplan, Elizabeth Perkins, Annabella Sciorra) have to relive their family tragedy. The cast is enough to keep Truth Be Told compelling. We’d probably hope for some major twists by episode 5 or so, but it’s a solid start to a streaming mystery.