A still from The Outlaws (Image via Sportskeeda)

The Outlaws review: An endearing tale of communitas 

Created on the blueprint of a prison drama, The Outlaws is an endearing tale of community and healing that follows the story of seven strangers from different walks of life who get involved together in community service.

Created by Stephen Merchant, along with co-writer Elgin James, the series is a vibrant portrayal of different cultures upon the canvas of community service, played out by a group of quirky and odd characters. The series is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.


A story of entanglements laid upon the foundation of relationships


The Outlaws is a web of entanglements called human relationships.The story introduces viewers to a range of quirky characters, odd and specific in their own ways, who all find themselves in the same predicamnet. Tossed together under random circumstance and brought to consequence for legal trouble for unrelated matters, all of them face the same sentence- community service of 100+ hours of cleaning up a derelict building under the hawk-like eyes of Diane, their supervisor.

The characters include Rani, the “studious Asian good girl” suffering from kleptomania, the right-wing businessman John, his rival left-wing militant, Myrna, small-time crook Frank, the nerdy divorced lawyer Gregory, the wealthy social influencer Lady Gabriella Penrose-Howe, and of course Christian Taylor, aka Ben who becomes the centre of the series.


In bringing together this myriad of of characters, Stephen Merchant and Elgin James have dug beyond stereotypes to find a common ground that transcend the usual divisions of race, class, politics and social status.

The series does not dig too hard into the background of all the characters or their individual lives. Instead of fleshing out the characters beyond common tropes, the directors have utilized the hour-long six episodes to create a web of relations and linkages that ultimately bind the group together.


The Outlaws is a feeling of communitas


The story of The Outlaws follows a group of delinquents who are serving a sentence of community service together for their misdeeds when they soon get caught up in another one. A member of their group gets involved in money embezzlement, which soon takes violent turn, and the other six find themselves involved in the situation.

Ben, who was imposing as Christian Taylor, was involuntarily involved with a dangerous gang who would make him do odd jobs. On one such job to retrieve a particular cell-phone, Ben stumbles upon a ton of money which he steals. His deed soon catches up with him and he finds himself in trouble for being involved in a shoot-out.

On the run with his little sister, Ben is now chased by not only the law enforcement officers and the gang he was a part of, but also his community service colleagues who wish the best for him.


The seven odd characters, from different walks of life, who have nothing to gain, team up to show Ben the right way. They urge him to turn himself in instead of waiting for the police to catch up.


If anything, The Outlaws, through its endearing narrative, shows the power of the community. Ben is ultimately saved from the sentence he was facing in prison with the help of this community service friends, their testimonies, and their empathy, which helped him land a good 100 hours more of community service instead of a prison sentence.

The series epitomizes forgiveness, empathy, affection, and most importantly, the strength of community and the redemptive values of bonding, which ultimately lead a man from the threat of prison to something more constructive and repentive.

The series features an eclectic soundtrack, a mixture of pop, rock and punk that is sure to get hearts racing. The Outlaws is a curated playlist of sorts starting with Ring Of Fire by Los Plantronics, Greyhound by Swedish House Mafia, and Don’t Cha by Pussycat Dolls. The upbeat music adds to the flavor of the show and resonates with the theme of the series.

Catch The Outlaws is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.


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