I May Destroy You: Season 1 (2020)

Season 1
I May Destroy You

Critics Consensus

I May Destroy You is at once brave and delicate, untangling the trauma of sexual assault with dark humor and moments of deep discomfort all held together on the strength of Michaela Coel's undeniable talent.



Critic Ratings: 74


Audience Score

User Ratings: 243

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Air date: Jun 7, 2020

After visiting her long-distance boyfriend in Italy, burgeoning writer Arabella returns to London, where she's greeted by a deluge of frantic messages from her literary agents. With a matter of hours left to finish a draft of her second book, she plans to pull an all-nighter--but is soon tempted to join a friend on a night out. Series premiere.

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Air date: Jun 14, 2020

Lunch with Terry gets Arabella thinking about the hazy events of the previous night, prompting her to probe Simon for answers. Growing increasingly desperate to put together the pieces, Arabella drops by Simon's apartment, and, later, finds herself at an unwelcoming doorstep. Meanwhile, Terry has a lousy audition, and a concerned Kwam rushes to Arabella's side.

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Air date: Jun 22, 2020

In a flashback, Terry visits Arabella in Ostia, where she is living large. After procuring party favors from Biagio, Arabella and Terry each have a wild night.

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Air date: Jun 29, 2020

Back in London and two months after the incident, Arabella meets with a therapist, who encourages her to find relaxing and creative ways to cope with her trauma. Still anticipating the first draft of Arabella's book, her agents assign another client, Zain, to help her with the writing process. Kwame introduces his modest new love interest, Damon, to a stranger he met online.

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Air date: Jul 6, 2020

A tumultuous day finds Arabella reassessing a sexual encounter with Zain and, following a promising new lead in the investigation, opening up to Biagio about her assault. Later, after a meeting with Susy Henny, Arabella threatens to break the internet when she goes off script at a writing summit. Meanwhile, Kwame's prompted to report his own assault to the police.

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Air date: Jul 13, 2020

Much to Terry's disapproval, Arabella attends a support group for rape and sexual assault survivors run by their high school acquaintance, Theo. In a flashback to 2004, teenage Arabella and Terry intervene when a resourceful, troubled young Theo attempts to flip the narrative on consensual sex gone sideways.

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Air date: Jul 20, 2020

Atado por dinero en efectivo y aún sin poder producir un borrador de su libro, Arabella toma un trabajo trabajando junto a Theo. La fiesta de cumplea?os de Terry encuentra a Kwame evitando recordatorios de su asalto.

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Air date: Jul 27, 2020

Reeling from a demoralizing development in the investigation, Arabella hatches a risky plan to "spark joy"--and convinces an adverse Terry to bankroll it. Still navigating the fallout of his own assault, Kwame challenges himself to explore the full spectrum of his sexuality.

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Air date: Aug 3, 2020

Arabella's bloated social media presence finds her more glued to her phone than ever, perpetually internalizing the stress of her followers. At a Halloween "paint and wine" organized by Terry, Kwame opens up to the girls about his recent sexual experiment--and Arabella's reaction lands her in an emergency session with Carrie.

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Air date: Aug 10, 2020

After Simon inadvertently drops a bomb on Arabella, she heads to her mom's birthday dinner, where painful, long-forgotten memories bubble to the surface. Kwame's no-strings-attached hookup bender leads him to Tyrone, a stranger in search of a different kind of connection.

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Critic Reviews for I May Destroy You Season 1

All Critics (74) | Top Critics (31)

Coel's a great talent - no doubt about that - but this can be an aggravating, unfocused sprawl at times. The power and horror of Arabella's ordeal is the unintended casualty.

Jun 5, 2020 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
Top Critic

"I May Destroy You" is moving and, despite the subject matter, at times very funny. It should inspire plenty of conversation about very sensitive subject matter with ever-increasing complexities.

Jun 8, 2020 | Rating: A | Full Review…

A writer less volcanically talented than Coel might struggle to weave one of these themes into a 12-part series; that she's able to explore so many different layers of power while creating such a compulsively watchable show is striking.

Jun 8, 2020 | Full Review…

It's tricky to call an actor mesmerizing, for fear of making her power seem magical rather than the result of craft. But Coel here is magnetic and memorable, for sure, and you won't be able to take your eyes off her.

Jun 7, 2020 | Full Review…
Top Critic

"I May Destroy You" is fascinating TV, taking a dark subject and turning it every which way. It can be shocking, it can be fun (which is also somewhat shocking), it can hurt and maybe even heal. No matter what, it's an unsettling revelation.

Jun 5, 2020 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
Top Critic

I May Destroy You isn't just powerful television; it's a great surprise. It's a groundbreaking model of how to honor the complexities of sexual trauma on TV without succumbing to lecture or exploitation.

Jul 17, 2020 | Full Review…

Angry, vibrant, exhilarating, surprising and funny ... It's a story [that comes] not easily, but with righteous passion and undeniable integrity, in blood, sweat and tears.

Sep 16, 2020 | Full Review…

I May Destroy You is a stunner, and quite possibly the best thing you will see on a small screen this year.

Sep 14, 2020 | Full Review…

While this is a work of fiction, Coel grounds the experience fuller into reality by making Arabella a sort of avatar for herself. These similarities between author and character deepen what transpires, making the situations visceral and hard to ignore.

Sep 10, 2020 | Rating: A | Full Review…

I May Destroy You is as much made up of the silences as it is the powerful words spoken, and, judging by the viewer responses, everyone who has seen this show has been changed by it, often profoundly.

Sep 5, 2020 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

If ever there were a show so beautiful in its brutality, it's I May Destroy You.

Aug 28, 2020 | Full Review…

Its episodes are flawless. [Full review in Spanish]

Aug 24, 2020 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for I May Destroy You: Season 1

  • Sep 11, 2020
    The first five episodes are some of the best TV I've ever seen. Gets a little unfocused starting with episode 6, but still great. Bravo, HBO!
  • Sep 05, 2020
    Not much happens in the first episode, and its not always an easy watch, but well worth it
  • Sep 01, 2020
    Very high quality production and some good performances but it felt like it was trying too hard to make a point. I was still recommend it because the messages are important in the acting was great but it did feel erratic at times and I certainly wouldn't recommend it before bed.
  • Aug 31, 2020
    Started off solid. By episode 6 it began its descent. By episode 12 it was unbearable.
  • Aug 30, 2020
    One of the most unique and riveting TV series to hit the screen in a long time. At times it's not easy to watch and some of the characters' actions are infuriating, but at its core I May Destroy You is unforgettably human. Michaela Coel is brilliant as the lead protagonist and she is supported by a terrific ensemble cast. The final episode is so awesome it takes your breath away.
  • Aug 30, 2020
    Bold, brave, original and a compulsive watch
  • Aug 29, 2020
    This show is hard to watch, but is a must see. I hate the true story behind this show, but I adore Michaela Coel for channeling her trauma into this show. She has created a platform for a conversation to begin about sexual trauma and the aftermath with her art. She is brave, and displays what it is to be human so well. This show is serious and gracefully humorous. I recommend watching it.
  • Aug 27, 2020
    Amazing series, one of the best this year. Story about nuances of consent. But there is much more. Must see!
  • Aug 26, 2020
    Underated depth in this one. You almost have to watch it multiple times as its so nuanced. Well acted and scripted. Highly recommended.
  • Aug 25, 2020
    This show is very much a deep dive into the mind of this woman who just went through a very traumatic event and I don't think the writing necessarily knows how to structure the mess on her mind into the pages of that script, when it does it's fantastic, I wanted more of that, there wasn't enough of that.

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