The Name of the Rose – Series Review
Follow Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Distributor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Episodes: 8
Duration: 50 min (per episode)

The Name of the Rose – Series Review

Site Score
Good: Story, Acting, Mystery
Bad: The topic and theme is fairly hard to make people enthusiastic about
User Score
(2 votes)
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Rating: 9.5/10 (2 votes cast)

Series with a religious topic aren’t for everyone, especially when it revolves around true zealots, enforcing what they believe is right. The Name of the Rose was a book that was written in 1980 and also saw a film adaptation in 1989 starring Sean Connery. This story was a religious tale, but it involved more than monks following the bible, as it showed a division between different orders and it also revolved around an actual murder mystery. Now, instead of a new movie, we have a modernized series, that tells the story in eight parts. While the premise didn’t really convince us when reading the synopsis at the back of the box, we gradually found ourselves getting pulled into the events of the series.

The series starts with a hefty battle between medieval knights, and we see the young Adso da Melk (Damian Hardung) being forced to fight for his life. The young man, not believing in violence, renounces his heritage and decides to become a monk. He doesn’t know where to start, that is, until he meets Guglielmo da Baskerville (John Turturro), a Franciscan monk, who believes that living in poverty is the true way of the church. Guglielmo, also called William, is invited to a monastery where representatives of the pope himself will enter a debate with the Franciscan monks to, hopefully, come to a resolution on how to coexist peacefully. While this sounded like a great opportunity, things start turning for the worst when the monastery is plagued by a murder, and several others, right before the emissaries of the pope arrive. William is tasked to investigate the matter, as he used to be an inquisitor himself. He, however, did not believe in torturing people to get a confession. He has to work within a very limited timeframe, as the most brutal inquisitor ever known, is on its way to the monastery as well.

The flow of the series is actually quite perfect. While this series isn’t action-packed, it’s rather intriguing and there is always a new secret or lie to uncover, while the monks drop dead like flies. Some episodes handle separate topics, or revolve around different clues, but eventually, the entire series comes together as one big whole. It’s a perfect series for a binge-session, but the events that occur in the series, as well as the general topic can feel a bit heavy. This is not a series to run in the background, while vaguely paying attention.

Given that the biggest part of the cast is by origin Italian, they do a superb job in voicing this English series. It’s clear that these actors and actresses have a lot of proper experience under their belts, and even though their accents still come through, it actually makes the series a lot more convincing and charming. There are a few leads that stand out of course, such as John Turturro as Guglielmo da Baskerville, often referred to as William. We also have a formidable performance by Damian Hardung, who plays the young apprentice Adso da Melk. Of course, we were also surprised to see Michael Emerson play the somewhat secretive abbot. The villain is perfectly portrayed by Rupert Everett, as the brutal inquisitor Bernardo Gui.

The Blu-ray version of The Name of the Rose comes with almost two hours of bonus content, which certainly looks interesting, but the extra features are voiced in Italian and don’t have any subtitles. We have no clue why this was included, without any subtitles, as pretty much all the intended viewers in our region would not be able to understand what is being said. This feels like one of those cases where the publisher simply didn’t want to spend a few extra bucks on finalizing the special content. This feels like a big missed opportunity.


The Name of the Rose is one of those series that might sound a bit bland on paper, but actually turns out to be a very interesting thriller. The series is just the right length and there is never a real dull moment, even though a lot revolves around politics. The acting performances are great, and the overall story feels realistic and convincing enough to be driven to the edge of your seat at certain points. Even if religion isn’t your cup of tea, this series is one worth sinking your teeth into if you’re into a good murder mystery.

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Rating: 9.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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The Name of the Rose - Series Review, 9.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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