* * * B
Marcella is a British Netflix series about a stay at home mother who, when her husband leaves her, returns to her job as a homicide detective. Played by Anna Friel, Marcella first investigates a serial killer whose murders are eerily similar to a case she worked on 15 years earlier. The writing is good, with a tangled multithreaded plot and plenty of false clues. Marcella is also mentally troubled, suffering from episodes of lost time.
The supporting cast is mixed. Nicholas Pinnock plays her unlikeable lawyer ex husband and is believable. Her direct superior, DC Rav Sangha (Ray Panthaki) is the most fully formed and well acted of her co-workers. Their tech guy, a constable played by Jack Doolan, comes into his own in the second season. The remaining cast are fairly unmemorable, single note characters.
The second season is much like the first, this time looking for a serial murderer of children. Marcella’s son Edward plays a prominent part. The finale reveals the root of Marcella’s episodes of missing time, with an ending that could easily have ended the series.
In the third season, they change things up. Marcella has become an undercover operative, working to build a case against a northern Irish crime family. Only Rav remains from the previous season’s cast. He is drawn in when one of the McGuire family murders the son of an ambassador. As in the past two seasons, Marcella suffers from mental instability.
The first two seasons are more coherent than the third (and last as of this writing). However, a third season that was more of the same would have gotten stale, so changing it up made sense. All in all, this is a solid British crime series.