Reviewing ITV’s “Marcella”; Series 1, Episode 1

Reviewing ITV’s “Marcella”; Series 1, Episode 1

Well, this is slightly off-topic, some might argue, seeing as the title of the blog does feature reading material rather heavily, but since another of my great passions is crime drama (the more cringeworthily nail-biting the better), I thought I might chip in on ITV’s latest addition: its new series, Marcella*. Now, probably none of you and for good reason because you’re not saddos like me some of you may know that the screenwriter of this series is none other than HANS ROSENFELDT, who happens to be the genius genius writer behind thrilling Swedish drama The Bridge. I do have to admit that this is the only reason I’m watching Marcella because frankly the adverts looked terrifying, and it’s always slightly embarrassing when you are forced to stash a pile of cushions (suitable for hiding one’s face with when you simply cannot bear to look at the screen) beforehand as opposed to in the heat of the moment. Guilty as charged.

*Mar-chella, not Mar-sella. Don’t be a Rav. (And the inside jokes are beginning already, prepare yourselves.)

Basic Backstory:

Squeamish opening scene– namely a bloodied woman sitting in a bloodier bath in an equally bloodied room– aside, Marcella Backland, a police officer who has been off the force for 11 years, seems sadly ordinary; her husband has just left her and she is in no mood for chatting this through with him or anyone else. In similar circumstances I would probably be tempted by the collapse-in-bed-eating-ice-cream option, but Marcella (fortunately for the future of the series) is made of firmer stuff, and instead chooses to throw herself headfirst into a repeat of the gruesome murders –in which the distinctive modus operandi is to suffocate the victims with a plastic bag before taking a ‘souvenir’ from the body– she left unsolved 11 years ago seems like the best option. Creds to her.

Unfortunately, general arsehole and head honcho of this investigation, DI Rav Sangha, has taken an immediate and unprecedented dislike to Marcella, and is reluctant to allow her to take any initiative at all. Even more unluckily for Peter, the prime suspect in the previous investigation, Marcella appears to have the stars on her side (as well as friends in high places, in the form of Rav’s boss who tells him where to stick it) when she catches him having a fishy (?) chat with Maddie (otherwise known as Edith from Downton Abbey) outside the bakery where he’s doing community service. Did I mention his alibi for this most recent spate of murders is that he’s in prison? I would possibly feel more sorry for Peter, given that his (literally) ironclad alibi has been nonchalantly batted aside by the disbelieving Marcella –her ‘confrontational exchange’ as she stormed into his bakery roughly consisted of: “What do you want?” “A loaf of bread please, Pete. Oh, you can choose which one!” Passive aggressive? Or just, well, passive?– but then we were treated to the sight of him almost suffocating a fellow prisoner who didn’t mind his P’s and Q’s with a plastic bag. Which reduces the sympathy factor somewhat, I find.

There are a few strands that haven’t been tied in with the main plot yet, and hats off to Hans for keeping us guessing here. No, literally, I can barely tell if I’m supposed to have seen a character before. So far, we have:

  1. DTG Construction Squad Thread
  • Jason Backland, estranged husband of Marcella B and legal advisor of DTG. Wears black leather gloves (as did the headless murderer we briefly glimpsed, just saying) and is a right meanie to boot, if you ask me.
  • Big Boots Boss Sylvie, married to a younger man; raises an eyebrow slightly if anyone dares to speak back to her (and that probably includes hair and wardrobe since she looks fantastic in every scene).
  • Grace of the Perfect Hair, daughter of BBB Sylvie who has recently become manager of DTG under her mother’s careful supervision; suspected to be having an affair with aforementioned Jase, Marcella’s not-yet-ex hubby. Last seen inviting a less-than-pleased Marcella in to her less-than-humble abode.
  • Henry, dweeby stepson of BBB Sylvie who she’s dumped in the environment department of DTG because he’s generally useless; did once say boo to a goose (i.e. BBB Sylvie) and everyone nearly died of shock.

Plotline consists of a new building in Lambeth that will not have the requisite rooftop park promised to the council; can it thus go ahead? Grace and an ungrateful Henry say nay, Big Boots says yay, and Jase is too entranced by Grace’s luscious locks to care.

2. As Yet Unknown Sex-Worker Thread (erm, there’s pretty much just one person in this group)

  • Cara, racy camgirl who steals from women she meets and sleeps with online. I tentatively suspected she might be daughter of M&J initially, but let’s not count our chickens, hatched or otherwise.

Plotline consists of Cara beating up a boy who saw her stripping on camera and propositions her in real life, before gaily sailing off to swipe some booty from some booty she met on a dating app.

3. Catching the Killer Thread

  • Marcella Backland, sassy police officer prone to fits of anger followed by memory loss: see trying-to-push-husband-down-stairs and then conveniently forgetting about it when you ring him afterwards.
  • Rav Sangha, head of the investigation and Marcella’s boss. Grumpy git.
  • Laura Porter, even header of the investigation and Rav’s boss.
  • Peter, budding baker extraordinaire featured above.
  • Maddie (Edith from Downton Abbey), whom Peter tells he has “helped” and can “help more”. Hopefully not involving any plastic bags, eh Pete?
  • Clive Bonn, dodgy geezer who was a suspect in the original investigation and claimed not to know any of the latest victims, despite employing one, Carol. Unfortunately for Clive, a photo was found of him with Carol at a ‘work party’ and we subsequently saw him slyly deleting all proof of “matching” with her on an online dating website (not the same one Cara uses, so no hope of a link there).

Half-Hearted Predictions:

Now if there is something I learnt from three series of The Bridge, it’s that Hans is a trickster when it comes to red herrings and suspects. I’ll hedge my bets, but consider the bets extremely hedged and due for dismissal soonish.

  • There’s something up Jason’s tailored sleeve. It may be a backup pair of black leather gloves, it may be a plastic bag, but there’s something odd going on over there.
  • Same goes for Wet Dishcloth Henry. I have a  feeling that he might be sequestering Cara’s services in the near future, and it might go downhill from there.
  • Pete and Dodgy Clive are certainly dodgy, but I’m willing to bet my cotton socks neither of them did it. In fact, I think that Dodgy Clive might be the next to be bagged. Or at least in the queue.
  • The Lambeth property must be much more interesting than we’ve been led to believe. Maybe the location of a further murder?

Tills nästa vecka!

(Yes, I’m having withdrawal symptoms from the Swedish subtitles, OKAY. I’m determined to get some Scandi äccent marks in there somehow.)


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