REVIEW: ITV’s Marcella bridges the gap between British and Nordic drama
From the pen of Hans Rosenfeldt – the writer responsible for Scandi noir smash hit The Bridge – comes the brand new English-language offering of Marcella, which premiered last night on ITV.
Anna Friel took on the titular role, playing Met police officer DS Marcella Beckland, who returns to the force to investigate the return of a serial killer she failed to catch a decade ago. The case became known as the Grove Park Killings, where victims were suffocated with plastic bags tied around their heads. The camera did not shy away from showing this – any viewers with a sensitive disposition should probably avert their eyes when close ups of the victims are shown on screen.
Marcella (Friel) was a woman on the verge of a psychological breakdown as she tried to come to grips with her husband leaving her. We were given glimpses of Marcella’s pent up anguish firstly when we saw her smashing her husband’s car with a golf club and more shockingly, launching a vicious physical attack on him when he was packing his suitcase to move out of their marital home. In a state of confusion after the attack, she rang him to find out what happened as she claimed she could not remember her own actions. At this point, I suspect that we are being primed for more such memory lapses on Marcella’s part. Her mental stability was called into question as our confidence in Marcella began to ebb a little.
There were also several threads of seemingly unrelated storylines which will no doubt be pulled together as the plot unfolds over the following weeks.
Fans of Nordic noir will be familiar with the chilling effect of the broody grey palette and low-toned palpitating soundtrack employed, both of which serve to destabilise the senses.
The closing scene last night left a bloodied and sobbing Marcella in a bathtub inside a blood splattered bathroom with viewers left wondering what on Earth had happened. This will not be a straightforward ride for sure.