“Thirteen” weaves the fictional tale of Ivy Moxam (Jodie Comer), a young woman who is kidnapped at age 13 and is only found half a lifetime later at 26. Moxam’s story is that she escaped her kidnappers, who had held her in a cellar the entire time. Her first claim is that at no point in those 13 years was she permitted to leave the basement. However, very early in the series, some of the things Ivy says become shrouded in doubt.
The BBC drama only runs for five episodes, but a lot of intrigue are packed into that brief time. As you might imagine, there’s a lot of story to deal with — how Ivy’s parents deal with her return, the way her 13 missing years rocked her community, and the true motivations behind not only Ivy’s kidnappers but Ivy herself.
Long-term kidnapping and abuse can lead to a significant change in the victim’s temperament, and part of what makes “Thirteen” interesting as a series is that it slowly reveals what is true and what is not about Ivy Moxam’s abduction. And part of the way a show like this can cast doubt on a kidnapping victim is through the right casting.
Ivy Moxam is played by Jodie Comer, an actor whom you are most likely familiar with because of her role as the psychopathic assassin Villanelle on the popular Sandra Oh series “Killing Eve.” Comer’s performance as Villanelle is thoroughly complex precisely because the character is both a messy person who has been deeply harmed and someone who kills with impunity. Comer’s ability to play between the lines makes her perfect as Ivy Moxam, a kidnapping victim you’re not entirely meant to believe.
“Thirteen” is streaming on Amazon now.