TV Review: “Manhattan” – “You Always Hurt the One You Love”

Written by Marisa Brkovich September 29, 2014


Smoke clears and the caption reads, “61 countries at war ….Over 40 million casualties…766 days before Hiroshima”. A voice on the radio is reading news updates from the war. Immediately you are thrown into the 1940’s and the days leading up to one of the most devastating events in history. “Manhattan” premiered on July 27 on WGN America, and is based on the Manhattan Project which was commissioned by the US Army in an attempt to win World War II by creating the worlds first nuclear bomb.


In “You Always Hurt the One You Love”, Charlie Isaacs (Ashley Zukerman) and his family arrive in Los Alamos, New Mexico and quickly discover the community has a lot of secrets. “Manhattan” is set in the middle of the Los Alamos desert where dozens of America’s brightest men and their families are stationed on a camp away from all civilization. It is here that the men work in teams to develop the nuclear warhead whilst their wives and children live in complete oblivion. While staying true to historical fact the show is a dramatic portrayal of the sacrifices these men made in order to keep America’s secret.

A War Where Scientists are Soldiers

It’s safe to say I am already completely addicted to the show. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re someone who enjoys historical fiction I would definitely recommend giving “Manhattan” a chance. In the first episode of “Manhattan” we are introduced to numerous characters, and get a good sense of the underlying issues in the plot. If you’re anything like me, you’ll fall deeply in lust with Charlie. Set in arguably one of the most dangerous and exciting times in history, “Manhattan” takes you on a journey behind the closed doors of the United States Army. Witnessing the strain on their personal lives as well as their own sanity enables viewers to sympathize with the scientists whose hard work, sacrifices, and determination put an end to World War II.


So far “Manhattan” has exceptional characters, a good cast, and an interesting and progressive plot. You learn something about history without having to pick up a book…which is probably my favourite part. Learning about history through the medium of film is engaging and allows us to better sympathize with what people have had to go through in our world’s past.

Female Characters Speak Out Against Misogyny

One of the my favourite scenes from “You Always Hurt the One You Love” features the obvious patriarchy of the time. A solider selling vegetables says to Liza Winter (Olivia Williams), the wife of a scientist, “Ma’am I’m sure your husband has got a brain the size of Kansas, but that ring on your finger doesn’t make you a scientist.” The quote not only displays the male dominance in the 1940’s – which is appalling -, but Liza’s response shows the strength of females who spoke out against men in order to give us the rights we have today.


Olivia Williams as Liza Winter

In summary, “Manhattan” has not only a lot of history, but an amazing story to tell which is a refreshing break from mind-numbing reality TV, and having the Kardashian family dominate the tube. Warning: you will probably get hooked, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.

My Rating: 7.5/10


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About Marisa Brkovich

Marisa Brkovich

A first year MIT student from a small town outside Toronto. Aspiration in life: to be Phoebe Buffay.

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