The initial premise is initially promising: a reputed crime novelist has possibly committed a murder.

Writer Ganesan (GM Kumar), who is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, has been found by his daughter Anuradha in a dazed state next to a woman’s corpse. An ethical hacker who is skilled at following breadcrumb trails, Anuradha (Tamannaah Bhatia) teams up with her father’s caregiver Chithra (Nandhini) and her friend Malar (Vivek Prasanna) to save Ganesan from arrest.

The Tamil web series November Story on Disney+ Hotstar is only getting started. What is thought to be the framing incident is actually one of several crimes involving an array of characters.

Anuradha’s efforts to conceal Ganesan’s tracks are stymied by the vigilant and diligent police investigator Sudhalai (Aruldass). Former police surgeon Yesu (Pasupathy) steps in to share valuable advice on how Ganesan might have killed the female victim. Meanwhile, Anuradha and Malar worry about a hacker who has burrowed deep into a police department server. There’s also the matter of three medical students accused of raping and killing their classmate.

Written and directed by Indhra Subramanian, November Story strives to connect its disparate plot points. The seven-episode series is packed with twists, misdirection, suggestive flashbacks, shifty and unpredictable characters, and revelations.

Once alert viewers understand the direction the show is taking, the actual murderer is easy enough to identify. Only the motive is left to guess.

Always slick but equally slippery, the severely overstretched and needlessly complicated series benefits from rich atmospherics and sharp performances. Tamannaah makes for a doughty heroine, determined to protect her fragile father from harm. Nandhini too provides solid back-up as Ganesan’s caregiver.

Pasupathy and GM Kumar are impressive as men with unhealed wounds. Aruldoss has great fun as Sudhalai, who gets so involved in the investigation that he forces his staff to skip their slumber. Sudhalai and his posse of bleary-eyed cops contribute humour to an otherwise grim and dark tale about wanting the impossible and going to extremes to hold on to it.

November Story (2021).