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Marcella series 1 recap

Anna Friel returns to our screens in Marcella on Monday 19 February, nearly two years after viewers were gripped by the first series of the ITV 1 thriller. The show’s maiden run caused quite a stir for a number of reasons and plenty of crime fans will be salivating at the prospect of its comeback. Although hopefully not literally. There really is no place for drooling, no matter how much you like high-quality television.

Fans of the show will no doubt enjoy its return, but there’s no reason why those of you that missed out in 2016 should do so again, as the first series is available to download on Sky or stream on Netflix. It’s dark, twisting, complicated and a real head-scratcher. And it’s well worth catching up on (or even revisiting).

We’re told that this follow-up series aims to cut down on the confusion and complex storytelling a little, which should help us all keep up with it. But hopefully Marcella doesn’t lose its charm because of it.

Before the new series starts, we thought we recap for you what happened in the previous one. After all, two years is a long time when you watch as much crime drama and read as much crime fiction as we all do, isn’t it?

So let’s have a bit of a reminder of what went down in Marcella series 1, shall we?

Written and directed by Hans Rosenfeldt, the much-lauded Swedish screenwriter behind the smash hit crime series The Bridge, Marcella followed Detective Sergeant Marcella (pronounced ‘Marchella’) Backland as she struggled to investigate a decade-old serial killer case that reignited.

marcella series 1 recap

It wasn’t just the impossibly complex and seemingly unsolvable case that gave Marcella grief, though. She had to try and track down the perpetrator all while dealing with the fact that her husband had just left her for another woman. A woman who then turned up dead – murdered by the very killer Marcella was trying to find.

And that was just the beginning of Marcella’s issues. Not only was there trouble at home and work, she was also suffering from extremely violent blackouts. These fugue states usually ending some hours later, with full amnesia of what transpired. One such disassociative occurrence happening just before her husband’s lover’s mysterious death. Leaving Marcella (and us) to wonder if perhaps she was the killer…

It’s not a huge spoiler alert to anyone planning on blitzing the first season for the first time to reveal that Marcella was not, in fact, the serial killer responsible for tying half a dozen people up and suffocating them all with bags over their heads. We won’t reveal who exactly it was, but suffice to say that it was one of the three dozen possible candidates.

The possibilities were seemingly endless, so we can see why the writers have stripped things back for the return. While we loved Marcella the first time out, the sheer number of characters was borderline insane.

There was a huge whiff of Scandi-noir about things, so it wasn’t all that shocking that there was also a strong smell of herring about it. Red herrings, to be exact. Suspects ranged from lawyers to police to white van men to immigrants to cab drivers to police to smarmy city slickers to bakers to Swedish men in brown Volvos to IT workers to Marcella herself.

This did lead to a slight feeling by the end that there were quite a few loose ends that could have been tied up, but weren’t. That said, given the sheer number of ends that needed tying, had they have tried, series 1 would still be running now.

What did we learn about Marcella herself two years ago? Well, she’s a good detective. A brilliant one, in fact. All old school sleuth, working on hunches and intuition. She’s brave, wily and not afraid to upset people. In fact, she almost seems to actively enjoy winding people up. She stomps about the place, getting a real kick out of asking brutal questions and putting people ill at ease.

She and her soon-to-be ex-husband Jason have two kids that are away at boarding school. The couple also lost a child a few years back due to sudden infant death syndrome. There’s also a little romance between her and colleague Jamie. And more than an little iciness between her and some of her other colleagues.

Anna Friel was outstanding in the first eight episodes that aired in 2016. And we’re sure she will be again. Marcella series 2 is all geared up to be yet another rollercoaster ride. We’re certain they’ll be thrills n’ spills and an enormous whodunit that’ll keep everyone guessing. We’re just also hoping for a little more fleshing out of just why Marcella is so cold and prickly. And a little more depth as to those strange blackouts of hers.

We’re excited and you should be too. Just remember – it’s pronounced Marchella. Don’t let her catch you getting her name wrong…

What did you think of Marcella series 1? Will you be tuning in for the show’s second season? Let us know in the comments below!

Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

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    Just finished series 1 and the unconcluded/unanswered questions are annoying. A series should end.

    Amusing to spot the very old cars appearing ‘that’s going to end up in flames/ down a quarry/ in a bad crash’ soon we all say here in my house, and invariably they do.

    Got to save money where they can!

    Loved series 1 and would watch it again if possible. I watched series 2 yesterday. Yes I did say yesterday – it was a cold wet day so I lit the fire and settled down with a packet of cookies and a coffee and started watching at lunch time. With a dinner break for two hours at six I recommenced watching around 8pm and finished the last episode around 10pm. Can’t wait for series 3. excellent drama – superb cast – brilliant writing – fascinating end. What more can one say – Bring on series 3.

    I enjoyed the first series of Marcella (which I saw last night) but wonder about the obvious flaw in the story line which places her at the house of her husband’s girlfriend, both prior to and after this woman’s death. Marcella arrives to harangue/attack the woman, then seems to blank out, later waking up in a bath, covered with blood and scratches? Later, we realize that (for some unexplained reason) she has disposed of the body of a woman she did not kill. But, where she was when the woman was actually being killed? How is it that the murderer did not notice Marcella, if as must be the case, she was still present in the house when he was murdering his half-sister? Very weak plot here!

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