Dark secrets and troubled pasts
Whodunits full of people in misty valleys are nothing new but Loch Ness’ whole town of suspects makes it intriguing.
Loch Ness (now available on Lightbox) opens with sweeping views of beautiful Scottish countryside and suitably creepy music that signals bad things are about to happen. Sure enough, there – under the placid waters of the loch – is a floating corpse anchored to a curling stone. Cut to the local curling club, where it’s all jolly community camaraderie and cries of ‘‘sweep, sweep’’.
Then there’s another dead man. This one is at the bottom of a clifftop. They’ve clearly got a murder rate on a par with Brokenwood and Midsomer combined. But it turns out they’ve actually got a serial killer. And he’s a particularly brutal one – ripping out hearts and pulling out brain parts through noses.
Clearly, all is not as happy as it seems in the beautiful Scottish countryside and pretty soon outsiders are turning up, too.
Plain-talking detective inspector Lorraine Quigley (Siobhan Finneran of Downton Abbey and Happy Valley) is called in to head up the investigation because it’s beyond the local police. ‘‘Beauty of nature,’’ she says, walking around the clifftop crime scene, ‘‘bores the living sh.. out of me.’’ Meanwhile, local cop Annie Redford (Laura Fraser) is keen to be on the case but is compromised by her teenage daughter’s pranks with human body parts.
Yep, I know, small towns brimming with dark secrets behind closed doors are hardly a rarity on television. And there’s a bit too much time introducing characters and various strands of the story at the start. But it does start to come together as a pretty engaging whodunnit.
As for the murderer, my money is on creepy college head Craig – he found the second body; won’t talk about it; and tells his wife he wants some time alone. Doesn’t that sound serial killer-ish? But it’s early days and while this format might not break any moulds, it’s got a whole town of suspects and I really want to know who did it.
It’s murder from a different angle in local drama Dear Murderer (Thursdays, 8.30pm, TVNZ1). This five-parter tells the story of one of
New Zealand’s most colourful legal characters. Mike Bungay (Mark Mitchinson), who featured in a number of high-profile cases.
The first episode begins way back before Bungay became well known and gives us glimpses of a traumatic childhood in wartime England. It then moves onto his early career: from his decision to go into law (which was based on the toss of a coin) to his early court appearances and defiant attitude towards authority. All of this interspersed with plenty of shots of Bungay swirling scotch in the local bar and falling into bed with a procession of women.
This series is based on a book by Bungay’s widow, Ronda and, perhaps, because of this insight it does a good job of slowly building up a portrait of a troubled but brilliant man with little regard for authority but great regard for the law itself. Definitely worth a look.
With a serial killer on the loose and a wad of suspects, the cops in Loch Ness have their hands full as they try to solve the murrr-ders.
Dear Murderer tells the story of Kiwi lawyer Mike Bungay (Mark Mitchinson) who featured in a number of high-profile cases.