Why ‘Jessica Jones’ Chooses To Tell And Not Show


As you may have heard by now, Marvel’s latest outing, the Netflix series “Jessica Jones,” is a story about PTSD and sexual violence. Over the span of 13 episodes, Jessica (Krysten Ritter) does her best to defeat the sinister Kilgrave (David Tennant), a man born with the powers of mind control who uses the skill to get anything and everything he wants — including sex, with multiple women.

Kilgrave’s crimes are horrific, and their implications are certainly felt — but unlike many other shows, which have faced a fare amount of critical backlash for showing a rape onscreen and then ignoring its aftermath, “Jessica Jones” does exactly the opposite. Despite being a story about rape, in all seven episodes that MTV News was given to screen in advance of the series’ Friday (November 20) premiere, not a single sexual assault is shown onscreen. This, of course, was intentional.

“We don’t show things gratuitously,” Tennant told MTV News when he dropped by our studio ahead of the show’s release. “We refer to the terrible things that have happened… we see the horrors of the effects of things, rather than the horrors of them happening, which I think is a more effective way of storytelling.”