Detective Solve Thyself (Series Review: “Marcella”)

A riveting murder mystery that blurs the lines between the innocent and the guilty, hunter and hunted, in eight nail-biting episodes.


SnapShot Plot

It’s been a while since I’ve been on the edge of my seat, peeking through my fingers at a creepy and suspenseful crime procedural. Well the wait is over with Marcella, a new Netflix original series filmed on location in London, starring venerable British actress, Anna Friel. Friel dives head first into the troubled and troubling waters of Marcella Backland’s life and never looks back, manifesting the character of this ex-homicide detective who returns to the job after a 12-year absence, on the heels of the messy dissolution of her marriage.

Without giving too much away, it seems a serial killer who was never caught is back on the loose – or perhaps it’s a copycat killer – and the police department’s murder squad reaches out to Marcella, given her intense involvement in the case years earlier. As Marcella rejoins the squad and begins working with a whole new team of detectives, her conviction that the killer remains the same individual suspected years earlier is at odds with the current thinking among the team. This, along with her surprising personal connection to the case (as well as her own formidable psychological demons) makes her personal point of view a complex one for the audience, as we discover some unsettling truths about Marcella herself while watching the grisly investigation unfold.



Parting Shot

Swedish creator, Hans Rosenfeldt (best known for his breakout success in The Bridge) has certainly put lots of ingredients into the Marcella recipe, which at first might seem too many but after the 2nd or 3rd episode, things do start to gel and you begin to make some sense out of the jigsaw puzzle of characters and setups.

Fans of the fantastic BBC series, The Fall (starring Gillian Anderson) will see some similarities with Marcella, such as the drawn out and intricate procedural drama, the cat & mouse game between the killer and the female lead investigator, her status as the outsider among her colleagues, and not least with the disturbing psyche of that investigator herself. But here’s where the comparison ends, as we witness Marcella’s mind-bending dilemma of trying to catch a ruthless killer while at the same time dreadfully aware of her own questionable culpability. It’s that intersection between the search for justice and the impulse for self-preservation that beats at the heart of Marcella, causing us to root for her while steering clear of her mess. . . it’s a fascinating portrait of a conflicted mind as well as a glimpse of the collateral damage inflicted by damaged people.

YouTube Trailer Courtesy of: 


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