TV Review: Ragdoll

The world might not be crying out for another crime drama but Ragdoll is gruesomely entertaining

“Remember you’re not broken, God’s making stained glass”

Perhaps a victim of there just being too damn much content to consume on too many channels, I hadn’t even heard of Ragdoll until stumbling across it by accident on my parents’ Sky box this Christmas. Which is madness considering how many of my faves it has in its cast – Henry Lloyd-Hughes, Angus Wright, Natasha Little, Sams Spiro and Troughton – but that’s what happens when shows are tucked away on crime drama channel Alibi (qv Annika).  

Based on Daniel Cole’s novel, it’s a serial killer thriller in the vein of the late, lamented Messiah, built around a central multi-victim case and being investigated by a detective with a troubled history. That history is presented right up front for Lloyd-Hughes’ DS Nathan Rose, his past dodgy evidence collection resulting in a killer being cleared of all charges and matters not being helped by him then violently assaulting the guy in court.

Fast forward two years and the discovery of a body stitched together from the parts of six different people – including the head of the aforementioned bad guy – means that Rose is soon brought back in with a bang, a part of an unfolding investigation into those deaths and also a list that identifies the killer’s next six targets. His intervening stay as a psychiatric ward muddies the picture for both his colleagues and for us, how innocent is Rose really?

Ragdoll is a highly watchable crime thriller, unafraid to get dark and nasty at times and superbly cast as its troubled personal dynamics play out. Thalissa Teixeira is excellent as DI Baxter, Rose’s best pal and now boss and Lloyd-Hughes plays the conflicted hero of the story with real gusto. Lucy Hale’s US transplant into the team is a dodgy fit, her sub-plot too much of a distraction (though not to the US co-producers evidently…) but Samantha Spiro and Sam Troughton more than make up for it with a pair of delicious performances later on.

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