Review: Marcella (S1 E3/8), Monday 18th April, ITV

Marcella-1OK, so I’m bit late on this one (blame real work in the real world), but I couldn’t not review this eight-part Hans Rosenfeldt show because, well, Hans Rosenfeldt. However, I’m still not won over by this even though it’s rating very well and I certainly should like it. The good news was that this was the best episode of the series so far, which, according to some, isn’t that much of a boast.

I was talking to a work colleague last night and she asked me what I thought of this series, and I struggled to give her a definitive answer. Thankfully she stepped in as I ruminated, and said she couldn’t understand what was going on, concluding that it’s the worst crime drama currently on television, but also the best because she’s desperate to know what happens. I’m kind of with her on that one, although I wouldn’t quite go as far as saying it’s the worst crime drama on the box at the moment.

I understood what she was saying, though – it’s infuriating, the characters are unlikable and yet… I’m in this until the end because I do want to know what happens to Marcella, and whether she perpetrated the crimes she thinks she might have perpetrated.

Thankfully this was the best episode so far, mainly because she didn’t have any of her fits of rage or blackouts and she almost faded into the background. Grace was indeed found dead (and a post-mortem had determined that she was seven weeks pregnant) and the investigation stepped up a notch.

After a brief bout of anxiety – where she once again woke up in her apartment with the detritus of potential murder all over her hands – Marcella seemed to have forgotten about Grace’s expiration as she got on with the case. But that wasn’t all that Marcella had to deal with. Her husband estranged popped around for an ill-advised bout of post-break-up sex, and her daughter had been caught smoking weed at school.

Elsewhere, Peter Cullen, released from his community placement, was being creepy towards Maddy (who was still insisting that she carry on meeting with him because of some sort of case study she was working on) to the extent that, by the end of the episode, he had abducted her boyfriend.

The most stunning development concerned Cara, that webcam grifter, who had been recently been threatened by one of her customers. With Marcella hot on her tail, she was mowed down in a hit-and-run and, gruesomely, had been revered over to make sure the job was finished.

By the end of the episode we had some suspects: Marcella herself, Peter Cullen (who I, unlike Marcella, am convinced isn’t the murderer), Clive Bonn (who was spotted on CCTV at Hampstead Heath the night of Grace’s murder) and Emil (an Eastern European who worker turned up mid-episode who had meted out revenge on his paymaster’s dog). Furthermore, DI Sangha is now aware that Marcella has been snooping around CCTV footage, too.

I’m still not sure about this, I’m sorry to say. Marcella is such an unlikable character (she’s aggressive and nervy), as are the rest of the investigative team and the Gibson family, and the way she just comes and goes during the day is beginning to grate. We keep talking about The Bridge, which is only natural considering that Hans Rosenfeldt wrote it, and yes, in that his troubled lead was socially challenged, too. But because she was paired with someone completely her opposite (either Martin or Hans in series three) there was always counterpoint, which helped to view through more sympathetic eyes. Here there is no counterpoint. Here Marcella is on her own, with no one to balance her out.

Paul Hirons

For all our Marcella news and reviews, go here



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