“A skeleton found in the cellar of a building prompts investigation from DCI Stuart and her colleague into the murder of a young man that could potentially span back thousands of years.”
Well, that’s what the IMDB says about episode one. In fact the body belongs to Jimmy Sullivan, a young black man who went missing in London decades previous to the discovery. DCI Cassie Stuart and DS Sunil “Sunny” Khan investigate the cold case, helped no end by a diary found with the body.
The body contains a list of names of people who were involved in Jimmy’s life and possibly in his death. But as the past begins to reawaken, the danger from the past might return as well.
Yes, this is an old show, from 2015, but I’ve just watched it on Britbox UK and thought I’d give some thoughts on it. One particular reason is to ask you, dear reader, is if I should carry on watching the next three series? Because I’m a bit divided on this.
The cast is astounding. Led by the wonderful Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Baskar, the suspects and those surrounding them are populated by a plethora of the UK’s acting talent – Trevor Eve, Tom Courtney, Ruth Sheen, David Troughton, Bernard Hill, Hannah Gordon, Peter Egan, Gemma Jones… and the stories of the characters that are triggered by the discovery of Jimmy’s body carry enough weight to draw excellent performances out the entire cast. The stories are absorbing and generally held my interest throughout.
But… you knew there was going to be a “but”, didn’t you? The show is presented as a murder mystery, hence me writing about it here, and as a murder mystery, it’s about as complex as trying to find some hay in a haystack. The problem is that the “suspects” stories diverge quickly into their own strands and only one story continues to have Jimmy’s presence in it. There is something in the revelation of the killer that is supposed to be a twist, but it’s about as twisty as a ruler. As soon as one particular word is mentioned, they might well have tattooed the word “KILLER” on that character’s forehead. And I should say that it seemed later in the story that the use of that plot point actually doesn’t work by itself, so they had to paper over some cracks to explain why things had been quiet for the past years. I’m genuinely curious – was anyone watching really surprised by the killer’s identity? Were we supposed to be?
I could have done with some more time establishing why Cassie was so obsessed with past murders. I thought at one point that her dad, Peter Egan, was a ghost, which would have given some motivation, but alas no. Well, not alas, that’s a crap twist, but some sort of justification would have been nice. Also, Sanjeev Bhaskar seemed mostly there to react to Nicola Walker, which seemed a bit of a waste of his character. I guess the characters will be expanded upon in the upcoming series… well, I hope so anyway.
So, dear reader, should I watch more? As strong as the performances were, and as interesting as the stories were (not withstanding enough epilogues to rival The Return Of The King), I’m in it for the mystery. Do things improve, or should I look elsewhere?