TV: Marcella, Episode One

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She lets us know up front her name is pronounced “mar-chell-ah,” not “mar-sell-ah.”

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I don’t have directing, producing, or music credits. Because team “O” screwed up. Harumph.

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Marcella used to be a homicide detective. She was on the case of a serial killer who did this to his/her victims:

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The first victims were in 2005, more in 2008. Then no others. Now the killer is back. And Marcella is apparently able to return to her old job in a snap of the fingers. Is that how it would work in real life? Not even some forms to fill out? Some big suspension of disbelief is needed there.

Worse than a returning, uncaught serial killer, Marcella’s husband has left her.

She doesn’t like that …

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… and this probably provides a hint of why she left her job as a detective. I’d say more, but spoilers. Let’s just say that one of the big things in print books these days is the “unreliable narrator.” We’ve got that happening here. Whether it’s a first episode gimmick or an ongoing character trait is unknown. But she’s certainly different from Forbrydelsen’s Sarah Lund, even if she’s just as obsessed.

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The Internet has a supporting role …

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… which always makes me wonder if everything will have to be solved via cookies and government-ordered ISP logs in place of clever human thinking.

There’s lots more here. A very big cast of characters and threads have been packed into this single hour. Probably the most I’ve seen in any first episode. And it’s all done so well that I never lost track of where things were going. There are already at least two suspects and I expect neither one of them to be the killer in the end.

On Twitter yesterday, after peeking at the opening of Marcella, I raged about it:

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I’ve seen this done too many damn times in just the past year. It’s an easy crutch. And the time to stop using it is now. In this instance — which has been the same as some others, dammit — those twelve days are packed into this single episode, with us circling back to the opening as the final scene to make us want to see the next episode.

Which I do. I’m hooked.

Here’s the promo video, which you actually should not watch because it spoils a key twist and major series ingredient you should see for yourself in the first episode. But if I can’t dissuade you, go ahead. You’ll get an idea of how well done this is.

Marcella | Starts Monday 4th April 9pm | ITV

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