|Lockwood & Co.|
|Based on||Lockwood & Co.|
by Jonathan Stroud
|Developed by||Joe Cornish|
|Opening theme||"Can't Leave the Night"|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||1|
|No. of episodes||8|
|Running time||37–49 minutes|
|Production company||Complete Fiction|
|Release||27 January 2023|
Lockwood & Co. is a British supernatural detective thriller television series developed by Joe Cornish for Netflix based on Jonathan Stroud's book series of the same name. Consisting of eight episodes, it premiered on 27 January 2023. It follows the plots of the first two books, The Screaming Staircase and The Whispering Skull. In May 2023, the series was cancelled after one season.
In an alternate version of present-day Britain, ghosts who are deadly to the touch have been rising from their graves for the past 50 years. Because of this phenomenon, known as "The Problem", technological advances have stopped; for example, there is no internet and people still use cassette recorders.
Adults cannot sense the ghosts, but children can, so teenagers have been organised into licensed ghost-hunting agencies to detect and dispose of threats. Lucy Carlyle, a psychically gifted teenager, has run away from home and come to London in the hope of catching on at an agency. Running out of options, she applies for a job at a tiny outfit run by two boys from an old townhouse: Lockwood & Co.
Cast and characters
- Ruby Stokes as Lucy Carlyle, a highly talented "Listener" – someone who can hear supernatural sounds and voices. Pressed into ghost-hunting by her mother, she was unjustly made the scapegoat for a tragedy that killed four colleagues at her first agency, forcing her to leave her northern hometown.
- Cameron Chapman as Anthony Lockwood, proprietor of Lockwood & Co. – London's newest psychic investigations agency and the only one with no adult supervisors. Orphaned and almost alone in the world, he is the owner of 35 Portland Row, the Lockwood family residence which now serves as the agency’s HQ and home to its three members.
- Ali Hadji-Heshmati as George Karim, Lockwood's friend and the agency's head of research. Shy but highly intelligent, he was fired from the prestigious Fittes agency for asking too many questions about "the Problem", as the plague of ghosts is universally known. An excellent cook, he also serves as unofficial head chef at Portland Row.
- Ivanno Jeremiah as Inspector Montagu Barnes, an official at DEPRAC, the Department for Psychical Research and Control, which regulates agency work and responds to paranormal incidents
- Jack Bandeira as Quill Kipps, the top agent at Fittes, charged with solving its most dangerous cases, and a longtime rival of Lockwood's
- Rhianna Dorris as Kat Godwin, a member of Kipps's elite team and effectively his second-in-command
- Paddy Holland as Bobby Vernon, the young researcher on Kipps's team, whose grasp of the Problem is almost as good as George's
- Rico Vina as Ned Shaw, the fourth member of Kipps's team
- Bronwyn James as Sergeant Wade, Barnes's hardline deputy at DEPRAC
- Louise Brealey as Pamela Joplin, a driven researcher at Sweet Dreams Excavations whose job is to identify potentially haunted grave sites
- Lily Newmark as Norrie White, Lucy's best friend and a colleague at her first agency, who is now "ghost-locked" – trapped in a coma – after the tragedy
- Andrew Woodall as Jacobs, the alcoholic proprietor of Jacobs & Co., Lucy's first agency
- Sandra Huggett as Mrs Carlyle, Lucy's uncaring mother
- Ishtar Currie-Wilson as Annabel Ward, a British actress who disappeared in the 1980s
- Sharon Morgan as Mrs Hope, the owner of the house Lucy and Lockwood set alight
- Saverio Buono as Hugo Blake, an actor suspected of Annabel's murder
- Nigel Planer as Sir John Fairfax, an industrialist who has made millions from the global demand for iron as a means of repelling ghosts
- Lily Nichol as Ellie, Fairfax's assistant, a former agent
- Morven Christie as Penelope Fittes, enigmatic head of the Fittes agency and the public face of Britain's ghost-hunting effort
- Jeff Rawle as Sebastian Saunders, Joplin’s business partner in Sweet Dreams Excavations
- Michael Clarke as the Skull, a ghost contained in a secure jar that George stole from Fittes, now kept at Portland Row
- Amanda Abbington as Marissa Fittes, the late founder of the Fittes agency and Britain’s most famous ghost hunter. Mother of Penelope
- Hayley Konadu as Florence Bonnard/Flo Bones, a mudlark and friend of Lockwood's who makes a living selling haunted relics or "sources"
- Ben Crompton as Julius Winkman, a violent and lawless "relic man" involved in the trade of sources, who masquerades as an antique dealer
- Alice Lowe as Adelaide Winkman, Julius' wife and partner in crime
- Jethro Skinner as Jack Carver, a relic man involved in the theft of the Bone Glass
- Luke Treadaway as The Golden Blade, a dangerous antagonist with a gold-bladed sword whose allegiance and motives are unclear
- Paul Thornley as Cutter, an undercover DEPRAC officer infiltrating the Winkmans' operation
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|1||"This Will Be Us"||Joe Cornish||Joe Cornish||January 27, 2023|
|13-year old Lucy Carlyle is sent to Jacob's, a local agency that trains youths to hunt ghosts, where she achieves her first, second, and third grades in ghost fighting. However, three years later, Lucy's training comes to an abrupt end following the deaths of four students. After an argument with her unsupportive mother, Lucy flees to London seeking to join another ghost hunting agency, despite not achieving her fourth grade. After she is turned down by some of the most prestigious agencies in the country, Lucy joins Lockwood and Co., run by Anthony Lockwood and his friend George Karim. She moves into the attic at Portland Row, and is curious about a locked room on the floor below that Lockwood never talks about. She and Lockwood go to a house to get rid of the ghost haunting it so the owner can sell it, but it ends in disaster as the house sets on fire. In order to find out more about the ghost that haunts it, Lucy steals its 'source', a ring, and then she and Lockwood jump off the side of the house to escape the fire.|
|2||"Let Go of Me"||William McGregor||Joy Wilkinson & Kara Smith||January 27, 2023|
|Lockwood is fined £60,000 by the agency regulator, DEPRAC, for the damage to the house. The team's investigations reveal the ghost is the actress Annabel Ward, who disappeared in the 1980s; Lucy's psychic connection to Annabel grows intense. Inspector Barnes at DEPRAC discovers Lucy has not achieved her grade 4 and tells Lockwood to fire her. Lockwood realises solving Annabel's high-profile murder could help pay the fine and protect Lucy's position. He gives a TV interview boasting of Lucy's psychic talents, which upsets her. Returning home after being called to DEPRAC, Lucy tries to resign, but is talked down by Lockwood. At home they fight off an intruder who had tied up George and was looking for the ring: Lucy reveals that in fact she had been wearing it round her neck.|
|3||"Doubt Thou the Stars"||William McGregor||Ed Hime||January 27, 2023|
|To help pay the fine, Lockwood answers an ad for a dangerous job. The client is Sir John Fairfax, a former showbiz impresario turned industrialist, who will pay them £60,000 to clear the ghosts at his stately home. On arrival, they discover Fairfax has misrepresented the dangers and they barely survive. Lockwood realises they had been brought to the house to die, and that Fairfax, who knew Annabel from his theatrical days, was her killer. Fairfax returns to the hall to shoot the trio: Lucy releases Annabel's ghost from the ring and Annabel kills Fairfax. DEPRAC arrives and covers up the whole case, forcing Lockwood & Co. to silence, but the fine is settled and Lucy is awarded her grade 4. Back at home, while Lucy is in the cellar, she is overcome by a spectral voice calling to her and faints.|
|4||"Sweet Dreams"||William McGregor||Ed Hime||January 27, 2023|
|Sebastian Saunders and Pamela Joplin of gravediggers Sweet Dreams ask the agency to investigate an unusual coffin. At the graveyard, Lucy, unsettled by the incident in the cellar, is distressed and, upon opening the coffin, George briefly looks into a strange mirror clasped in the corpse's hand. Lucy remembers the voice she heard, and realises the Skull, whom the boys keep in the cellar, had called to her. Back home, she discovers she can converse with the ghost - an almost unique talent. The mirror is stolen, and Barnes orders Quill Kipps at the Fittes agency to investigate. When George reveals he has identified the corpse as a Victorian occultist called Edmund Bickerstaff, Lockwood & Co. and Kipps's team are jointly given the case. Lockwood and Kipps's rivalry flares up, and the case becomes a competition.|
|5||"Death Is Coming"||Catherine Morshead||Joy Wilkinson||January 27, 2023|
|George discovers a body in the canal by the graveyard. It is Danny Clough, a friend of Lockwood's turned "relic man". Lockwood takes Lucy to meet his friend Flo Bones, who also deals in haunted relics. She tells them Danny had a partner, Jack Carver, and did deals with the dangerous Mr and Mrs Winkman. Lockwood leaves a message for Carver. George, who has been feeling odd since glimpsing the mirror, goes to the archives to research the case. He encounters Joplin and they spend the day working together. Eager to outdo Kipps, Lockwood breaks into the Winkmans' premises in search of the mirror. He and Lucy are captured and face death until Lucy engineers their escape. They arrive home moments before Carver calls. He collapses, having been stabbed. With his last breath, he warns them about the mirror, which he calls the "Bone Glass".|
|6||"You Never Asked"||Catherine Morshead||Joy Wilkinson||January 27, 2023|
|George's researches reveal Bickerstaff was a famous doctor who held 'gatherings' at his mansion – a secret exposed by one guest, Mary Dulac, who went insane. The Skull speaks to Lucy, saying he was an acolyte of Bickerstaff's, and urging them to take him to the derelict mansion. In the house, Lucy realises Bickerstaff had been killing people in his care; she finds his papers but has to be rescued from the ghosts of his patients. Flo informs Lockwood the Bone Glass is to be auctioned that night. The papers reveal the murders were committed to create 'sources' for the Glass, and that Dulac wrote a memoir, a rare copy of which is held at the Fittes agency. The team have been invited to a ball at Fittes that evening; they plan to get the book and then attend the auction. George invites Joplin over to do more research. Lucy and Lockwood go to the ball, find the book and escape after being stopped by a mysterious man with a gold-bladed sword.|
|7||"Mesmerised"||Catherine Morshead||Ed Hime||January 27, 2023|
|Flo takes the trio by boat to the wharf where the auction is being held. Lucy and Lockwood sneak in. They encounter an undercover DEPRAC officer, who tells them to leave, but they join the bidders. Flo takes the boat out to mid-river and challenges George about having been "mesmerised" by the Bone Glass. Lockwood is unmasked, so he grabs the Glass and he and Lucy flee. They are cornered and Winkman orders the undercover officer to kill them; instead, he aids their escape and is himself killed. Golden Blade appears. Fleeing to the roof, they radio to Flo and George. Lucy throws the Glass down to the boat and Flo and George take it away. As Golden Blade closes in, Lucy and Lockwood jump into the river. Flo escorts George to DEPRAC with the Glass and leaves him there. Lockwood and Lucy stumble out on to the riverbank. Alone, George cannot bear to hand the Glass in. He goes to a phone box and makes a call.|
|8||"Not the Eternal"||Joe Cornish||Joe Cornish||January 27, 2023|
|Lucy and Lockwood get home. Reading the Dulac memoir, they realise the effect the Bone Glass must have had on George. They interrogate the Skull; he tells them Joplin has called George to the graveyard. Joplin leads George down into the catacombs. They encounter Kipps, and Joplin ties him up and places him in front of the Glass. George realises her intentions are bad and he is tied up too, taking Kipps's place. Lucy and Lockwood arrive at the graveyard and meet Kipps’s team. Winkman's thugs show up to retrieve the Glass. Lucy and the Skull go after George while Lockwood and Kipps's team fight Winkman's gang. The Skull tells Lucy the Glass is a window to "the Eternal", and the only safe way to use it is to watch someone else's face change as they look into it. Lockwood goes to find Lucy, but Golden Blade is lurking and shoots him. Lucy finds Joplin and volunteers to look into the Glass. When Joplin uncovers it, Lucy turns away and holds up the Skull to look. He screams. Lucy passes out. George throws himself into the stand holding the Glass; it falls and cracks. Joplin picks it up; it consumes her in a beam of light and shatters. Joplin disappears, presumably dead. Bickerstaff's ghost rises but a wounded Lockwood appears and fights it off. Barnes and DEPRAC arrive to clean up. At home, Lockwood leads Lucy and George up to the locked room, but as he opens the door, the screen fades to black and the end credits roll.|
In 2017 it was announced that Nira Park and Rachael Prior had optioned the rights to Jonathan Stroud's Lockwood & Co. book series while at Big Talk Productions. In 2019 they left Big Talk to set up Complete Fiction Pictures and produced the TV series under their new banner. On 19 May 2020, it was announced that Complete Fiction was working with Netflix to develop the series, and Joe Cornish was set to helm and executive produce the series. In December 2020, Netflix officially gave an eight-episode series order to Lockwood & Co. Cornish serves as the lead writer and director. Nira Park, Rachael Prior, and Cornish serve as executive producers. William McGregor was also involved in directing several episodes.
The cast was confirmed in March 2022 with Ruby Stokes, Cameron Chapman and Ali Hadji-Heshmati set to star alongside Ivanno Jeremiah, Luke Treadaway and Morven Christie. Also joining the cast were Jack Bandeira, Ben Crompton, Hayley Konadu, Rhianna Dorris and Paddy Holland.
Filming began on July 5, 2021 in London. A house on Claremont Square in Islington was chosen for the exterior shots of 35 Portland Row, with the interiors of the house constructed as sets at Ealing Studios. Filming occurred at the Kensal Green Cemetery in late October 2021. Scenes at haunted "Combe Carey Hall" for episode 3 were shot at Mentmore Towers in Buckinghamshire and the part of the series set in Lucy's unidentified hometown was filmed in Chipping Campden in Gloucestershire. The series wrapped on 15 March 2022 in London.
Joe Cornish chose to include in the series songs relying on early goth rock from the repertoire of Bauhaus, the Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees and This Mortal Coil. Journalist Matthew Mahler noted: "The score seems [...] to create a truly supernatural aural palette."
Commenting on the music, Cornish said: "We went back to a lot of post-punk, [...] music like Siouxsie and the Banshees and The Cure and Bauhaus that have this kind of romantic, doom-laden spookiness to them, and they feel very analog". "They feel alive, they feel haunted, and they have a terrific, beautiful melancholy to them. We had a playlist very early on of those tracks of Bauhaus and Siouxsie and The Cure". A lot of the bands are referenced in posters in characters' rooms like Lucy's.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 92% approval rating with an average rating of 7.70/10, based on 13 critic reviews. The website's critics consensus reads, "A paranormal procedural steered by writer-producer Joe Cornish's usual deft hand, Lockwood & Co. is a fun-filled adventure carried off with sprightly charm." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 78 out of 100 based on 6 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Writing in Empire magazine, Boyd Hilton said: "Forget the YA [young adult] label; this is an addictive, sophisticated supernatural thriller which will keep cynical old duffers entertained throughout."
Lockwood & Co. featured in the Netflix global top 10s for 3 weeks between January 22 and February 12 picking up 79.91 million hours.
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