REVIEW: fans of Luther should definitely check out the latest British crime series to honor TVNZ OnDemand.
It’s a six-part show that shares the same macabre streak, gallows humor and actor Michael Smiley as Neil Cross’ Idris Elba starring the beloved dark drama.
Based on Daniel Cole’s 2017 novel of the same name, rag doll (which begins streaming on the Kiwi streaming service at noon today, February 1) focuses on British Detective Sergeant Nathan Rose (Henry Lloyd-Hughes).
Two years after being suspended from the force for very publicly attempting to kill the infamous ‘Cremation Killer’ in court after a trial went wrong on technicalities, Rose, still psychologically fragile, finds herself having to confront his past when he, his good friend Detective Inspector Emily Baxter (Thalissa Teixeria) and American newcomer Detective Constable Lake Edmunds (Lucy Hale) are called to a tower block adjacent to where Rose now lives. What they discover is a gruesome sight, a sewn-up body, which DNA evidence quickly reveals, contains body parts from six different “donors”.
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While many parts appear to have been frozen, the head is “fresh” and, to Rose’s amazement, appears to be that of the “Cremation Killer” himself – Mark Hooper (Sammy Hayman). Anxious to confirm that he is his nemesis, Rose visits the prison where he is supposed to be residing, only to discover that the recently converted vegan not only died of a biotoxin just days ago, but that the bonce of his corpse has disappeared.
Describing it all as a ‘sick coincidence until further notice’, Baxter suggests she can reassign Rose, but he’s determined to stick with the case, even when a typed letter shows up at the desk with a list. of six new names which includes both Mayor Ray Turnbull (Phil Davis) and himself.
As they hastily take the local politician into custody, a seemingly harmless gift sent to Baxter suddenly becomes the center of attention, with deadly consequences for the mayor and a truly triggering and terrifying moment for Rose.
While the gnarly, disturbing and visceral nature of the crimes is part of rag dollwhat really comes out of Freddy Syborn (the Jack Whitehall-starring Bad Education) tale is the edgy and incredibly hilarious banter between the central trio.
Along with attempting to give their new serial killer a nickname (“Michael Corpse? Tommy Killfingers? Loco Chanel?), Baxter and Edmunds discuss the similarity between Hooper’s cause of death and a The Simpsons episode, Rose admits his “pot personality” may have made him a target and Edumunds reveals his last job might have been in New Jersey – but it wasn’t mean streets (“It was a city university, with a female mayor and a reputation for great craft beer”).
Far from being contrived or shocking, this dialogue feels more like a perfect response to the horrors and pressures they face, a way to keep things light and blow off steam so they don’t get overwhelmed. Plus, it has the added effect of making you care about those characters and their fates.
With at least one jaw-dropping twist that also plays out in the opening episode, rag doll gives viewers plenty to chew on and plenty of reasons to watch the whole shebang ASAP.
rag doll begins broadcasting on TVNZ OnDemand from midday today (February 1).