Locke & Key (TV series)

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Locke & Key
Locke & Key (TV series) Title Card.png
Based onLocke & Key
by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez
Developed by
Music byTorin Borrowdale
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes10 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Ra’uf Glasgow
  • Kevin Lafferty
Production location(s)
  • Tico Poulakakis
  • Colin Hoult
  • Matthew V. Colonna
  • Lilly Urban
  • Paul Trejo
  • Andrew Behrens
  • Philip Fowler
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time40–56 minutes
Production company(s)
Original networkNetflix
Original releaseFebruary 7, 2020 (2020-02-07)
External links
Official website

Locke & Key is an American supernatural horror[1][2] drama web television series developed by Carlton Cuse, Meredith Averill, and Aron Eli Coleite, based on the comic book series of the same name by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodríguez. It premiered on Netflix on February 7, 2020.[3] The series stars Darby Stanchfield, Connor Jessup, Emilia Jones, Jackson Robert Scott, Laysla De Oliveira, Petrice Jones, and Griffin Gluck.


Rendell Locke is murdered at the hands of former student Sam Lesser, so his wife Nina is forced to move with her three children Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode from Seattle to Matheson, Massachusetts and take residence in Rendell's family home, the Keyhouse. The children soon discover a number of mysterious keys throughout the house that can be used to unlock various doors in magical ways. However, they become aware of a demonic entity that is also searching for the keys for its own malevolent purposes.[4]

Cast and characters[edit]


  • Darby Stanchfield as Nina Locke, the matriarch of the Locke family
  • Connor Jessup as Tyler Locke, the eldest son of the Locke family
  • Emilia Jones as Kinsey Locke, the middle child and only daughter of the Locke family
  • Jackson Robert Scott as Bode Locke, the youngest son of the Locke family[a]
  • Petrice Jones as Scot Cavendish, a British student filmmaker at Matheson Academy, and a love interest of Kinsey
  • Laysla De Oliveira as Dodge, the "well lady" of KeyHouse, and a love interest of Tyler[b]
  • Griffin Gluck as Gabe, a new student at Matheson Academy, and a love interest of Kinsey[c]


  • Bill Heck as Rendell Locke, the patriarch of the Locke family and Nina's deceased husband
  • Aaron Ashmore as Duncan Locke, Rendell's younger brother
  • Sherri Saum as Ellie Whedon, an old friend of Rendell who dated Rendell's best friend Lucas back in high school and a Physical education teacher at Matheson Academy
  • Thomas Mitchell Barnet as Sam Lesser, Rendell's student who shoots Rendell dead
  • Kevin Alves as Javi, Tyler's friend who is on the hockey team with him at Matheson Academy
  • Genevieve Kang as Jackie Veda, a girl that Tyler has a crush on
  • Hallea Jones as Eden Hawkins, Jackie's best friend
  • Kolton Stewart as Brinker Martin, Javi's friend
  • Asha Bromfield as Zadie Wells, one of Scot's friends
  • Jesse Camacho as Doug Brazelle, one of Scot's friends
  • Eric Graise as Logan Calloway, a disabled student at Matheson Academy
  • Felix Mallard as Lucas Caravaggio, Rendell's best friend back in high school[d]
  • Steven Williams as Joe Ridgeway, the dean of 11th grade and Tyler's English teacher at Matheson Academy
  • Coby Bird as Rufus Whedon, Ellie's adopted son and the groundskeeper of the Keyhouse



Locke & Key was originally developed as a television series by the Fox broadcast network during the 2010–11 television season by DreamWorks Television and 20th Century Fox Television with Josh Friedman writing the pilot script adaptation. Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci served as executive producers for the pilot, which starred Mark Pellegrino, Miranda Otto, Jesse McCartney, Sarah Bolger, Skylar Gaertner, and Nick Stahl. The pilot was not given a series order by Fox though it was screened at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con. At the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con, a feature film trilogy was announced through Universal Pictures with Kurtzman and Orci expected to serve as executive producers.[5]


On May 9, 2016, it was reported that IDW Entertainment was developing a television series adaptation of Locke & Key again. The novel's writer Joe Hill was expected to write the production's pilot and serve as an executive producer. The project was being developed in association with Circle of Confusion with the intent of pitching cable networks and streaming services.[5]

On April 20, 2017, it was announced that Hulu had given the production a pilot order. The production was developed by Carlton Cuse with Hill and set to be directed by Scott Derrickson. Cuse was expected to serve as the potential series' showrunner and executive producer alongside Hill, Derrickson, Lindsey Springer, Ted Adams, and David Ozer. Production companies involved with the pilot were slated to include Carlton Cuse Productions and IDW Entertainment.[6] On July 14, 2017, it was reported that Andy Muschietti was replacing Derrickson as the pilot's director. Derrickson was forced to drop out of the production due to a scheduling conflict.[7] On March 27, 2018, it was reported that Hulu had passed on the pilot and declined to order it to series.[8]

On May 29, 2018, it was reported that the production was in final negotiations with Netflix for a series order. Netflix was reportedly planning on redeveloping the property and discarding the prior pilot ordered by Hulu. Due to scheduling conflicts, Andy Muschietti was not expected to direct the production's new pilot but would continue to serve as executive producer alongside Hill, Cuse, Adams, Ozer, and Barbara Muschietti. Production companies involved with the new iteration of the project were set to include Genre Arts, IDW Entertainment.[9] On July 25, 2018, it was announced that Netflix had officially given the production a series order for a first season consisting of ten episodes. New executive producers were announced to Aron Eli Coleite, Meredith Averill, and Rick Jacobs. Circle of Confusion was also expected to again act as a production company for the series. The new iteration of the series was created by Hill and developed by Cuse, Coleite, and Averill. The new first episode is set to be written by Hill and Coleite and Cuse and Averill are slated to serve as showrunners.[4] Michael Morris directed the first two episodes and will serve as an executive producer.[10]

In adapting the comic for the Netflix series, the fictional town where the Locke house was located was changed from Lovecraft, Massachusetts to Matheson, Massachusetts. According to Cuse and Averille, this change had been suggested by Hill: while the comic's setting of Lovecraft was to honor author H. P. Lovecraft, and thus had more Lovecraftian themes to it, Hill wanted to honor author and screenwriter Richard Matheson with the series.[11]

Despite it not yet being approved, a second season of the series is already being written ahead of its first-season premiere.[12]


In August 2017, it was announced that Frances O'Connor and Jackson Robert Scott had been cast in the pilot's main roles.[13][14] In September 2017, it was reported that Megan Charpentier and Nate Corddry had joined the pilot's main cast.[15][16] In October 2017, it was announced that Jack Mulhern, Danny Glover, and Owen Teague had been cast in starring roles in the pilot.[17][18]

Alongside the announcement of the production's move to Netflix, it was announced that all of the series' roles would be recast with the exception of Jackson Robert Scott as Bode Locke.[9] On December 19, 2018, it was reported that Connor Jessup and Emilia Jones had been cast to replace Mulhern and Charpentier, respectively.[19] In January 2019, it was announced that Sherri Saum, Griffin Gluck, Steven Williams (replacing Glover), Darby Stanchfield (replacing O'Connor), Laysla De Oliveira, and Kevin Alves had joined the cast with Gluck, Stanchfield, and De Oliveira in main roles and Williams and Alves set to appear in a recurring capacity.[20][21][22][23] In February 2019, it was reported that Petrice Jones and Thomas Mitchell Barnet (replacing Teague) had joined the main cast and that Asha Bromfield and Felix Mallard would appear in recurring roles.[24][25][26]

Mirroring their appearance in the comic book, creators Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez have cameo appearances in the first season finale as paramedics. [27]


Lunenburg, Nova Scotia was used for shots of the fictional Matheson, Massachusetts.

Principal photography for the series took place from February 11 to July 5, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario.[28] Scenes within the fictional Matheson were filmed in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, as well as some other exterior scenes, such as the outside of the Drowning Cave. The Locke house itself was a constructed set and shot at Cinespace Film Studios in Toronto along with other internal scenes.[29]


No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
1"Welcome to Matheson"Michael MorrisJoe Hill and Aron Eli ColeiteFebruary 7, 2020 (2020-02-07)
In the cold open, a man, after receiving a call, takes a key and inserts it in his chest, causing him to immolate and incinerate plans of the Key House. The Locke family relocates to the Key house in Matheson after Rendell's murder and move in with the help of Rendell's younger brother Duncan. As Tyler and Kinsey start school, Bode explores the home and hears strange whispers, leading him to a key. The whispers further lead him to the well house, where a voice, calling herself Echo, explains he had found the Anywhere Key that can be used on any door to travel to a place he has seen, and encourages him to find more for her. He comes across another key, the Mirror Key, which opens a portal to a dimension that falsely reflects ones' true self. Nina arrives to see Bode using the key, and becomes trapped in the mirror, but Tyler and Kinsey arrive in time to help her out. Bode returns to Echo to give the Anywhere Key to Echo, which she uses to escape the well house and travels to meet Sam Lesser, currently in prison.
2"Trapper / Keeper"Michael MorrisLiz PhangFebruary 7, 2020 (2020-02-07)
The Locke children find their mother has no recollection of being trapped at the Mirror. At school, Tyler becomes interested in Jackie, while Kinsey struggles to fit in until she meets Scot and others of the "Savini Squad", trying to make a budget horror film, and cautiously joins them. Bode fears that Echo may come back, and bonds with Rufus, the young caretaker of the Key house grounds. With help from Rufus, Bode tries to set a trap for Echo, but when she returns after using the Anywhere Key to do a brief world-spanning travel, she sees right through it and warns Bode not to disappoint her. Bode finds another key, and after seeing a keyhole on the back of a store clerk's neck, tries to use it on himself, just as Tyler and Kinsey arrive home. They find that Bode has used the Head key, allowing them to enter a representation of his mind.
3"Head Games"Tim SouthamMeredith AverillFebruary 7, 2020 (2020-02-07)
Tyler and Kinsey join Bode in his mind, finding the space storing some memories of Rendell. After return to the real world, Bode explains about Echo and the Anywhere Key, and Tyler takes the Mirror and Head Key as a precaution. At school the next day, Tyler finds one of the school bullies hitting on Kinsey, and he beats the bully up due to repressed guilt about not protecting Rendell from Sam, getting him in trouble with Dean Ridgeway. After school, Tyler lets Kinsey use the Head Key to enter her mind, fashioned after a shopping mall, to find more memories of their father. The two are chased by a crazed version of Kinsey before they escape. Meanwhile, Bode finds the Ghost Key, allowing him to become a ghost and speak to the dead, including his great-great-grandfather Chamberlain Locke, who mentions Rendell and Duncan had visited him often. Nina meets Ellie, Rendell's old friend, and when Nina mentions Bode searching the well house, Ellie becomes gravely concerned. Kinsey bails on a date with Scot to use the Head Key on herself, and after a short time, drags something out of her mind and buries it. Elsewhere, Echo returns to the burned-down home from the prologue and recovers the undamaged key.
4"The Keepers of the Keys"Tim SouthamMackenzie DohrFebruary 7, 2020 (2020-02-07)
Kinsey has become more open and engaging at school the next day, and Tyler finds she had used the Head Key to kill the manifestation of her fear within it. Bode learns from Rufus that the well house had played a morbid role in the past and could be haunted, and when Bode flips through a book on the history of Matheson, finds a moving picture of Echo on a photograph of the well house. Talking more with Ellie, Nina learns that most of Rendell's friends are dead, with Mark recently killed in a house fire; outside of Ellie, only Erin is alive but in a mental hospital. Ellie helps Nina tear down a wall put up in the house's basement to block a recreation room for no discernible reason. Kinsey invites Scot back to her house and uses the Head Key to show him her mind where they share a kiss. That evening, Echo appears and tries to take the Ghost Key from Bode, but Bode realizes that she can only take it if he willingly gives it to her. Echo disappears and returns to Sam, giving him a key and instructions what to do next.
5"Family Tree"Mark Tonderai-HodgesAndres Fischer-CentenoFebruary 7, 2020 (2020-02-07)
Tyler and Kinsey are drawn to another hidden key, which they find is the Puppet Key; when used with a music box, it allows the wielder to control anyone's actions. At school, Eden publicly accuses Scot of sleeping with Kinsey, and to get back, Kinsey and Gabe use the Puppet Key on Eden, which Tyler sees when her embarrassing actions are caught on social media. Tyler warns Kinsey about abusing the key powers, not wanting to draw attention. That evening, Tyler and Kinsey hear more whispering and find a flower-ended key in a graveyard, and on using it, find several paint jars that appear to contain darker memories. They deduce that the memories are from Duncan's childhood, and find one involving a young Rendell fatally beating up his friend Lucas. Meanwhile, Nina becomes suspicious of a similar scar on Ellie's chest as Rendell had. As Ellie refuses to say anything about it, Nina approaches Dean Ridgeway, who suggests the scars are from the same traumatic experience of the past. Later, Nina learns that Dean Ridgeway has died by suffocation.
6"The Black Door"Mark Tonderai-HodgesBrett Treacy & Dan WoodwardFebruary 7, 2020 (2020-02-07)
Nina attempts to convince the police that Ridgeway did not commit suicide, but fails. Kinsey confronts Duncan about the memories, but he has no recollection of any of the events, except vaguely remembering some caves near the shore line. Kinsey convinces the Savini Squad to film in those caves as a pretext to explore further. Within, she finds a door in an omega shape, but as the tide quickly rises, she is dragged away so they can all flee safely. Scot is furious with her, but Gabe considered the move brave, and starts to get closer to her. Echo goes to a party where Tyler is getting drunk and angering Jackie. As Tyler storms out, Echo introduces herself as Dodge to him and starts flirting with him. Sam uses the Matchstick Key Echo gave him to escape prison, and makes his way to the Key house.
7"Dissection"Dawn WilkinsonMichael D. FullerFebruary 7, 2020 (2020-02-07)
In flashbacks, teenaged Sam is being consoled by Rendell. While waiting alone, Sam sees a picture of the Key house with Dodge taunting him to read Rendell's reports, which assign Sam as having mental issues, leading to his murder of Rendell. In the present, Sam takes the Lockes hostage until they turn over the Head Key. Kinsey claims it is buried outside, directing him to where she buried the representation of her fear. During Sam's absence, Tyler helps free the family and when Sam returns after overpowering Kinsey's fear, they use the Head Key on him. Sam's real self is apologetic, and explains that Rendell's murder was not something Tyler had inadvertently asked him to do. Sam removes the Head Key from himself just as Dodge/Echo appears, mortally stabs him, and takes the Head Key, as well as all the other keys, before disappearing. As police arrive, Sam tries to leave via a door, realizing too late it was unlocked with the Ghost Key, and his ethereal form is separated from his now-dead body.
8"Ray of F**king Sunshine"Dawn WilkinsonVanessa RojasFebruary 7, 2020 (2020-02-07)
Nina begins drinking in wake of recent events, which cause her to start to remember some of the Key events. In a drunken state, she finds another key that allows a cabinet to restore objects to their original form. Tyler and Kinsey feel that while having these memories may be helpful, they would rather have Nina sober and convince her to stop drinking. Tyler and Kinsey travel to the cave with the Black Door, and find a list of the "Keeper of the Keys" that include Rendell and his friends, and Kinsey decides to visit Erin at the mental institution. Dodge beats them there, and uses the Head Key to find from Erin the location of the Omega Key. By the time Kinsey arrives, Erin identifies Dodge as Lucas, one of Rendell's old friends. Meanwhile, Dodge reveals that, using the Identity Key, she has taken the form of Lucas, who has been staying with Ellie and Rufus. After Nina smashes the urn containing Rendell's ashes in a fit of rage, Tyler locates the Omega Key amongst the ashes because Rendell had hidden it inside of his own head.
9"Echoes"Vincenzo NataliMeredith Averill & Liz PhangFebruary 7, 2020 (2020-02-07)
Bode is shown Duncan's memory of Rendell beating up a friend, which he identifies as Lucas, who has been living with Ellie and Rufus. The Locke children ask Ellie about this. Ellie explains that years prior, her boyfriend Lucas had been possessed by something that came through the Black Door, and had killed two of their friends in the Keyhouse basement before Rendell killed him. They hid all evidence of this, including removing Duncan's memories, and split up and hid the keys to prevent anyone using them again. However, longing for Lucas, Ellie used a key to try to bring back Lucas at the well house, only to bring back the entity that had possessed him instead, Dodge. Ellie had called Mark on Rendell's murder so that he would use the Matchstick key to immolate himself and the mapped locations of the other keys from Dodge. Dodge remained trapped until Bode gave her the Anywhere Key, and she took Lucas' form to live with Ellie and Rufus, and coerced Ellie to steal the Crown of Shadows from the Keyhouse. The Lockes leave Ellie and Rufus to prepare to face Dodge.
10"Crown of Shadows"Vincenzo NataliCarlton Cuse & Meredith AverillFebruary 7, 2020 (2020-02-07)
Now possessing the Crown of Shadows, Dodge attacks the Keyhouse in search of the Omega Key. After Bode destroys one of the shadows using the Matchstick Key, Dodge is found unconscious. Tyler and Kinsey send her back through the Black Door with the help of Scot, Gabe, Jackie and Eden. Bode finds Rufus injured but alive but no sign of Ellie, and he is sent to live with his aunt in Nebraska. The Lockes decide to stay in Matheson, and Kinsey starts dating Gabe, unaware he is another form of Dodge; Dodge had used the Identity Key to change Ellie's form into Dodge, and it was Ellie thrown through the Black Door. Further, Eden is also now possessed, having been hit by one of the demonic bullets while the Black Door was open.


In December 2019, Netflix announced that the series would be released on February 7, 2020.[3] On January 8, 2020, Netflix released the official trailer for the series.[30]


The series received mixed to positive reviews from critics, with the score, set design, and visual effects being singled out as highlights of the show.[31] Critics mainly praised the show's handling of themes relating to loss and trauma as well as its use of horror genre elements, while criticizing the use of teen drama and romance subplots to drag out the story.[32][33] The performances of Jackson Robert Scott and Laysla de Oliveira received particular praise.[34][35][36]

USA Today claimed that the show was "nearly as strong a debut as Stranger Things was in 2016, but it needs a few tweaks to jump the hurdle between good and great."[37] IGN credited the show for its portrayal of trauma and its visual effects, and praised the performances of Scott and de Oliveira, while criticizing it for not consistently building tension throughout.[38]

Polygon gave a more negative review, criticizing the decision to make the TV adaptation emphasize the coming-of-age story and fantasy elements of the series, while glossing over the horror elements and haunting visuals of the source material. In particular, the uninteresting subplots and inconsistent pacing were criticized.[39]

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the series has a 70% approval rating with 53 reviews, with an average rating of 6.67/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Though Locke & Key at times struggles to strike a consistent tone, it captures enough of the essence of its source material to provide a fiendishly fun and sufficiently spooky time."[40] Review aggregator Metacritic gave the series a score of 62 out of 100 based on 19 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[41]


  1. ^ Scott also portrays Dodge.
  2. ^ Oliveira also portrays Ellie in episode ten.
  3. ^ Gluck also portrays Dodge.
  4. ^ Mallard also portrays Dodge.


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External links[edit]