TV Review: Waking the Dead Series 8

Alas poor Stella. Series 8 of Waking the Dead shakes up the team once again but its real strength comes from some god-tier guest casting

“Your evidence is based solely on the deluded ravings of a paranoid schizophrenic and the manipulative whisperings of a serial killing psychopath”

In all honesty, I’d forgotten that they killed off Stella in Series 8 of Waking the Dead and the rather low-key way in which she was dispatched seems to indicate the writers wanted it that way. I think Félicité Du Jeu did well to try and assimilate into the team but she rarely got much of a shot in terms of characterisation aside from being their dogsbody. Alors…

So we’re given a new junior – Stacey Roca as Detective Sergeant Katrina Howard – but once again there’s so little attention paid to developing her character that it is little surprise she only lasts for this one series. And whilst I’m being critical, the lack of follow-through from the traumatic events for Boyd at the end of the last series is a dereliction of duty IMHO.

But in the grand scheme of things, the swift return to business as usual ain’t a bad thing, as the four stories here are powerfully told – thanks to some amazing guest cast work – and undeniably impactful. Tara Fitzgerald’s Eve gets the limelight in one story as it turns out she’s shagging a bad’un. And the return of Ruth Gemmell’s brilliantly chilling Linda Cummings is wonderfully traumatic for Grace and Boyd in particular. A grand series, sorry Stella.

Top guest appearances

  1. Michelle Dockery delivers some outstanding work as trauma victim ? in ‘End of the Night’, aided well by Kate Fleetwood as her sister
  2. And as the ne’er-do-well of the story, Rory Kinnear is so effective – he should play dark more often
  3. As Eve’s karaoke-loving paramour, Joseph Mawle is great in ‘Substitute’, teasing out the complexities of his role to question our convictions, just beating out my perennial fave Nigel Lindsay
  4. As Grace’s replacement for the episode, Gina McKee’s shrink quickly forms an integral part of the action in ‘Endgame’
  5. And though there’s bonus Bertie Carvel in a small role, Barbara Marten is just so good in that final story too

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