Inventing Anna, fake heiress drama tops Netflix ratings

Julia Garner as Anna Sorokin in Inventing Anna
Julia Garner plays Anna Sorokin in ‘Inventing Anna’

Inventing Anna has notched up the most viewing hours for an English-language series in a week since the service began a new ratings system last summer.

The nine-part show stars Ozark’s Julia Garner as fake heiress Anna Sorokin.

It was watched for 196 million hours last week, on top of 77 million hours of viewing on the weekend of its release on 11 February.

The previous highest was psychological thriller show You, whose third season achieved 179 million hours in October.

Next on the list of the top English-language series are The Witcher, Maid and Sex Education.

But Squid Game, the Korean-language survival drama, remains Netflix’s most-watched show overall, peaking at almost 572 million hours in a single week.

Another South Korean show, All of Us Are Dead, and Spanish crime drama Money Heist have scored 236 million and 202 million hours respectively.

Inventing Anna is based on a New York magazine investigation into Sorokin, who, going by the name of Anna Delvey, convinced people she was a wealthy European heiress.

In fact, she turned out to have conned friends, hotels and banks out of eye-watering amounts of money and was eventually convicted on multiple fraud charges in 2019.

The series follows the tenacious journalist Vivian Kent, played by Anna Chlumsky, in her attempts to discover the truth.

The stranger-than-fiction story has been adapted by producer/screenwriter Shonda Rhimes and her company Shondaland, the creators of Bridgerton, Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal.

The cast also includes Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black), Arian Moayed (Succession) and Terry Kinney (Billions).

While it has been a hit with viewers, the show has also courted controversy, after real-life journalist Rachel DeLoache Williams, who is played by Katie Lowes, criticised its “shocking” portrayal of her.

Williams became friends with Sorokin when she was a photojournalist at Vanity Fair. Speaking to her former publication, she condemned what she described as “dangerous half-truths” in the show and said the series created “problematic” empathy for a “sociopathic, narcissistic, proven criminal”.

“Having had a front-row seat for far too long, I’ve studied the way a con works more than anybody needs to,” said Williams, who was herself conned out of $62,000 (£45,500) by Sorokin. “You watch the spectacle, but you’re not paying attention to what’s being marketed.”

Sorokin is currently in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody but responded on Instagram, criticising Williams’ “flexible moral standards” and “blatant hypocrisy”.

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