Sugar is the new mystery-drama from Apple TV+, starring Colin Farrel in the title role as John Sugar, a Hollywood PI. In addition to Farrell, Sugar has an outstanding cast including Kirby, Amy Ryan, James Cromwell, Anna Gunn, and Dennis Boutsikaris. The series is created by Mark Protosevich and directed by Fernando Meirelles. Sugar premieres on Apple TV+ with two episodes on April 5. New episodes will then drop each Friday until the finale on May 17. Thanks to Apple TV+ I was able to preview the new series and I thoroughly enjoyed each episode. As a fan of mysteries and noir, I might be a little biased, but Sugar is easily one of my top shows for 2024. Keep reading for my full review and a look at the trailer.


Sugar has all the ingredients one would expect in a film noir. Voice-over narration, shady characters, and a mysterious private investigator are all found in Sugar. The series never tip-toes around the inspirations it draws from the genre. It instead fully embraces them, splicing clips from classic films into the episodes. I found this creative choice to be unique and quite engaging. The series mentions several times that Sugar is a film buff, so these clips feel like a peek into the mind of the enigmatic P.I. Another stylistic choice I found to be used very well, was the camera work itself.

Throughout the episodes, many shots feature tight close-ups and canted angles. This further draws the audience’s eyes to the screen with additional focus and gives a feeling of intrigue to what they are seeing. It’s hard to place a finger on it exactly, but when watching Sugar, you can feel that the show is “different” than what we are used to seeing. The episodes are a visual treat from directors Fernando Meirelles and Adam Arkin.


Of course, no film noir can exist without its central mystery. The mystery in Sugar is the disappearance of the granddaughter of a legendary Hollywood producer. The series does an excellent job of slowly unraveling the mystery, allowing it to slowly build, and letting the audience uncover the truth alongside Sugar. At no point during the season’s 8 episodes did I feel bored or uninterested in what was unfolding.

This engaged feeling is further helped by the roughly 30-minute run time of the episodes. Except for the first episode, each is under 40 minutes long. In today’s age, where an hour or more is considered normal, these shorter episodes keep the plot tight and the pacing perfect. There is no filler in Sugar and each scene provides something to the greater story being told.


Colin Farrell, quite simply put, is outstanding as John Sugar. The actor perfectly embodies the character and projects an easy charisma that would make Bogart proud. But the character is so much more than that and Farrell nails the mysterious and secretive side as well. This is not the first time Farrell has played a detective, having previously appeared in season 2 of True Detective. So comparisons are nearly inevitable. Farrell’s performance in True Detective was one of the highlights of that particular season, but anyone expecting a Ray Velcoro type in Sugar will be left disappointed. John is about as far from Velcoro as one could get. Velcoro was hard-boiled, broken, and jaded with the world. Whereas Sugar is optimistic and caring almost to a fault. In Sugar, Farrell has never been better.

Photo: Apple TV+


No review for Sugar, would be complete without at least a mention of the twist which occurs in the second half of the season. However, to respect the experience of those who watch the series, I have and will continue to avoid mentioning anything related to it. While the twist is certainly a key part of the series, even without it, Sugar stands out. Detective shows have been around for as long as TV, making it oftentimes difficult for them to feel fresh. However, Sugar excels in feeling fresh by embracing its throwback genre.

The stylistic choices, supporting cast of characters, the central mystery, and the standout performance from Farrell make this a must-recommend in my book, and one of my favorite shows this year. If you are a fan of noir or love a good detective story, you will want to check out Sugar.



Sound off and tell us what you think. Will you be checking out the series on Apple TV+? Also, what is your favorite noir film or show?

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