I May Destroy You
HBO in association with BBC, Various Artists Limited, and FALKNA
HBO’s I May Destroy You is one of this year’s most talked-about scripted series, the provocative brainchild of British screenwriter, director, producer, and actor, Michaela Coel. Set in contemporary London, Coel plays Arabella Essiedu, a celebrated social media influencer turned-novelist, with a fast-approaching book deadline and a bad case of writer’s block. Taking a break at a local nightclub, Arabella’s drink is spiked, and she awakens the next morning with fragmented memories of having been sexually assaulted. An unsettling mystery is set in motion, as Arabella sets out on a journey to reassemble the events and characters surrounding her rape, a process that causes her to reevaluate all the key elements of her life: her history and relationships, her identity and aspirations. With a compelling narrative that mirrors the structural rhythms of psychological trauma, I May Destroy You defines the emergent subgenre of consent drama and, in the process, takes center stage in a developing cultural conversation around complex issues of sexuality and consent, freedom and abuse, friendship and trust. For its raw courage and original brilliance, I May Destroy You has earned a Peabody.