*This article contains spoilers for the Netflix show, Inventing Anna.What is it about stories of cons, scams and frauds that we love so much? It doesnt matter if the person perpetuating these cons is an individual or a team, we just lap these stories up because of the dramatic narration they offer. Given the fact that in most such stories, the ones being conned are rich peoplewhereas, in real life, anybody and everybody can get connedthese narratives also give us a break from reality. So, when Inventing Anna got released on Netflix, was it any wonder that so many of us rushed to watch the mini-series?Of course, what added more allure to the prospect of watching the show was, firstly, the fact that it is based on the New York magazine story by Jessica Pressler, and secondly, the fact that the creator is Shonda Rhimes. The former promises that the story would be gripping indeedPresslers 2018 investigative article, How Anna Delvey Tricked New Yorks Party People, went viral after all. And we get a fictionalised version of Pressler herself in the show: Vivian Kent played by Anna Chlumsky. The latter got our hopes up because Rhimes has given us some really popular and engaging shows, including Bridgerton and How To Get Away With Murder.But did Inventing Anna meet expectations? Did this story about a bizarre fake German heiress conwoman impress? Lets find out.Understanding Anna Rather Than Inventing HerNow, in case you didnt know, the plot of the show is based on the audacious con of Anna Delvey Sorokin, a 20-something Russian girl who pretended to be a German heiress to enter New York society. Not only did she maintain a lavish lifestyle with zero money or assets, hustling every day with lies that went deeper than the deepest oil wells, but also applied for a $40 million loan from major banks in the city! Because she portrayed privilege and money, most of New York society and bankers took it for granted that Anna is one of them. This made them a part of her long con, where many of them not only accommodated her con but perhaps also benefitted from it (at least socially).Julia Garner, who plays Anna, does a good job of capturing the real womans baffling accentwhich is simply jarring most of the time, and alienated the character instead of endearing her to me. This, and the cold, calculating demeanour, spattered here and there with some bursts of emotions, made Anna, the lead character of Inventing Anna, quite unlikeable. Doing something like this can be tricky indeed, as most con stories tend to make the conperson a bit relatable, especially to the middle classes around the world, so that you feel sympathetic towards the characters aspirations even though you acknowledge that they are committing a crime and ultimately deserve the punishment coming to them.By not being a part of this trope, Anna fails to become the gripping lead hero that shes supposed to be. Instead, the showrunners bring a different angle in to get some sympathy for Anna: If she were a man, would you comment at all on their audacity, ruthlessness and character? Perhaps not, and this is a legitimate question to ask about how gender comes into our perception of crimes. In fact, in one scene where a banker tries to take advantage of her, and shes saved by concierge-turned-friend Neffatari Neff Davis (played very convincingly by Alexis Floyd), you also question if any male entrepreneur would ever face a situation like this.This angle definitely works, but the ultimate fact remains. Anna is not likeable for the most part, she is not given a redemptive arc, and she does not get away with all her crimes by the end. So, while Garner does a pretty good job of portraying this cinematic version of Anna, the character itself fails to stay with you after the show ends.The Journalist Living In ScriberiaWhile the plot of Inventing Anna fails to make the lead character its most intriguing one, it makes matters somewhat worse by giving equal (in fact, sometimes more) focus to the character of the journalist living in Scriberia. If Garners portrayal of the real Anna is authentic, then Chlumskys character, Vivian Kent, is quite far removed from what we know about Pressler. Kent is a journalist who made the grave mistake of publishing an article without fact-checking it thoroughly, and was then sent off to a place in her office called Scriberiathe place where good journalists go to embrace their career deaths. When she comes across Annas story, Kent picks it up as a way of redeeming her career, and in the process, becomes the main narrator of the story.There are only two real connections between Kent and Pressler: a) Pressler was pregnant while writing the Anna story, and b) Pressler also had to retract a published story. Everything else about this journalist is highly dramatized, bordering on distracting, unlawful and unethical. It is Kent who invents Anna as a feminist antihero, while also engaging in a wide variety of questionable behaviours. Even if you ignore the fact that Kent neglects other assignments, her personal wellbeing (shes pregnant after all), and delegates a large chunk of the research into Anna to her fellow Scriberia residents, the idea that she not only colludes with Annas defense lawyers but also helps Anna manage her wardrobe during her trial is disturbing.Kent is so wholly invested in Annas story that she comes across as obsessed and unethical at timesclearly not traits youd love in an investigative journalist who is supposed to uphold facts and the truth behind a story. And yet, it is Kent who gets the redemptive arc in the story, and turns into just another person in the story who got famous because of Anna. No, this isnt a character youd fall in love with in the show either.Inventing Loyalty For AnnaIn fact, by the end of the nine episodes, I was left wondering if the show should have been named Inventing Loyalty instead of Inventing Anna. From the lawyerwho seems befuddled at best and inept at worstto the concierge Neff, every character on the show somehow has this sense of loyalty for a conwoman who cheated a whole load of wealthy people across one of the savviest cities in the world. Even after Anna is incarcerated and her cons hit the news, the rich and famous around her never speak up publicly or at the trial about how she defrauded them. Erstwhile friends like Val, Nora Radford, Chase Vikorski and Talia Mallay are not only silent legally but also choose to only reveal their stories to Kent.The only friend who doesnt remain loyal to Anna despite her betrayals is Rachel DeLoache Williams. Williams was actually defrauded of over $60,000 during a lavish Moroccan holiday, and is effectively the person who started the legal and criminal inquiries into Annas con. And yet, it is Williams who is villainised through the shows runtime. Yes, it is done in the garb of saying that she chose to betray Anna despite having benefitted from heras everyone else didbut it somehow still leaves questions in your mind about how a womans deliberate con can be so easily twisted into something else entirely in the publics mind.Despite these flaws, Id still say Inventing Anna is worth a watch. If not for a great, bulletproof and gripping plot, then for all the questions it will have you ask that con stories simply dont.