Film director Sergei Komarov, the creator of the TV series Cold Shores, Crane in the Sky, and Solar Circle, became the director and co-author of the script for the eight-episode film Imitator in 2021. This is a detective psychological thriller about the fate of two people: a mother serving a long prison term and her child, who have not seen each other since the day of their arrest. The plot is based on the scenario analogue of the French mini-series Praying Mantis (2017, directed by Alexandre Loren). But Komarov does not make tracing papers from the original, but shoots an independent story, with unexpected plot twists and a non-trivial denouement.
Law enforcement agencies have run off their feet, looking for a maniac who copies the crimes of 20 years ago committed by Anastasia Perevezentseva. She is serving a sentence for the brutal and sophisticated murders of eight people. All of them were responsible for the death of her parents. The woman made revenge the meaning of her life, and when she was caught, she went to jail without a shadow of remorse. The only thing that worries her in the prison cell is the fate of her young daughter Zhenya, whom she has not seen since the day of her arrest. Anastasia does not know that the girl from the orphanage was taken to a foster family. She grew up, became a lawyer and, ironically, takes part in the search for maniacs.
The investigation team in the Copycat case is headed by police colonel Ivan Orekhov. He recruits two young specialists to work: his best student, an investigator from the city of Petrozavodsk Daria Bravadina, and a talented forensic psychologist Evgenia Kokhanova, his daughter. The collision of these girls with Anastasia and with each other is the basis of all the intricacies of the plot in the series “Copycat”.
Captain Bravadina offers Orekhov a non-standard approach to business – to involve Perevezentseva herself in the search for the Imitator. Who better than her to know the behavior of someone who completely copies her crimes. Criminalist Kokhanova, together with Anastasia, is actively working on a psychological portrait of a serial killer. Evgenia does not agree with the opinion of her mother and husband – not to participate in a complex and dangerous investigation due to pregnancy.
Colonel Orekhov’s doubts (that Anastasia Yuryevna would not agree to cooperate with the investigation) were dispelled when he realized that the woman was interested in the fate of her only child. He promised to arrange a meeting for them. But on the condition that Anastasia never tells her daughter about biological motherhood. It turns out that the killer’s child is his adopted daughter Zhenya. So Ivan fulfilled his promise to take care of the girl, given 20 years ago by his detainee Perevezentseva.
The plot of the series takes an unexpected twist when Copycat:
Deviates from the exact reproduction of Anastasia’s crimes and begins to kill according to his own script. Adjusts so that Eugenia reveals a secret from the past. Everyone learns about her blood relationship with the killer.
Anastasia’s assumption that the perpetrator is close to the investigation puts Kokhanova on his trail. The imitator is exposed – this is Bravadina. The nondescript girl Dasha, when she was 13 years old, learned about the “avenger” from the press. She admired the criminal talent of the idol, dreamed of fighting together for justice with special methods. She trained as a lawyer, and during her internship at the UK she got access to the criminal case of Pervezentseva. However, everything went wrong when Daria realized that Anastasia killed solely out of a sense of revenge and did not accept other, senseless victims.
Bravadina develops her own style of killing and wants to deal with the one who destroyed her plans and dreams. After an unsuccessful attempt to bury Anastasia alive, Daria comes up with a new punishment – to catch “on live bait” and shoot. The denouement comes in the episode with Zhenya’s kidnapping. The mother guesses where Daria has taken her daughter, and saves her at the cost of her life. Preventing Bravadina’s shot, Perevezentseva falls out of the window, dragging the imitator with her. Both are crushed to death.
The detective thriller The Copycat has a melodramatic epilogue. Zhenya and her husband come to visit their parents. Ivan and Margarita are happy with their newborn granddaughter. Children report that they decided to name their daughter Nastya.