While Marcella (pronounce MarCHella) Blackland (Friel) was busy giving up her career as a police detective to concentrate on her family, her husband Jason (Pinnock) was busy falling out of love. Now, ten years later, he finally drops the bomb that he’s leaving her just as an uncaught serial killer picks back up where he left off years prior.
Not the best distraction from her current problems, but it will do and Marcella rejoins the force under the command of the DI Rav Sangha (Panthaki), who’s not really here for the smart mouth, usually right, rule-breaking Marcella. Rav wants to pursue one suspect, while Marcella has her sights set on Peter Cullen (Puleston-Davies), her prime suspect when the murders began years ago. While Cullen maintains his innocence, he does display a violent side similar to the manner in which the victims are found: bound and suffocated with a plastic bag.
Also of interest is a sex worker, Cara, who targets married cheaters online so she can sleep with them and then steal their valuables. Cheaters aren’t likely to report these crimes so Cara makes a lot of money freely pawning her stolen goods. Unfortunately for Cara, her side scam may have put her on the killer’s radar.
The subplot of Jason’s (Pinnock) affair with his co-worker, Grace Gibson (Maeve Dermody) takes a grisly turn when Marcella finds out about the affair, but blacks out what happened when she confronts Grace. One minute she’s entering the woman’s home, and the next she’s waking up in her tub of bloody water, bruised and dirty, with no memory of what happened the night before. Marcella’s blackouts aren’t new, and if the one she experiences when Jason tells her he’s not in love with her anymore is any indication, her actions when they occur are quite violent.
While Marcella is busy hunting a killer, has she become one?
Marcella may be the latest in a string of British crime dramas with an unstable yet highly intelligent lead (see: Luther, River, et al.), but that doesn’t make it any less addicting after just one episode. This is due, in large part, to the intricate web of secrets and lies and the performance delivered by Friel. In almost every scene you can feel the rage bubbling close to the surface. I can’t wait to dive into episode two and learn how that rage may have manifested.
The entire 8-episode first season of Marcella is available for streaming on Netflix. My review for episodes 2 thru 4 will be published on July 11th.
Marcella - S1E1 = 8.7/10