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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Marcella: Offbeat and Compelling

We live-streamed Marcella on Netflix the past week, mostly in the wee hours of the morning, after watching the Presidential conventions.   It was certainly more appealing than the GOP convention last week, but that's faint praise indeed.

In its own right, Marcella is an off-beat and compelling story about the a woman who returns to the Metropolitan Police in London to help with a case that's all-too-familiar.   This happens at the same time as her husband leaves her for a blonde business executive, and then things get really interesting when she's murdered.

But here's what really sets Marcella apart as a noir police procedural: she's suffering black-outs, due to stress, and these (of course) occur at crucial times in her life  and in the investigation.  So much so, that she begins to suspect herself as the killer of her husband's lover.

Black-outs are a great trope in fiction, especially in detective stories, and even more so if it's the detective who's suffering the blackouts.   I did in this in one of my Phil D'Amato novels - The Consciousness Plague - and it adds an underlying uneasiness and uncertainty to everything in the story, which is just what you want in a serial murder narrative.

But Marcella takes this to a new level, since the serial murders themselves make no sense, and, in addition to her black-outs, she comes out of one of them with blood on her hands, literally.  I won't spoil the ending for you, but it's good indeed, conclusive in one sense but intriguingly ambiguous in another.

Anna Friel does a memorable job in the title role, the supporting cast is strong, and I'm looking for season 2 to be announced.

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