Marcella (TV series)

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series title against a blurred background
GenreCrime noir
Scandinavian noir
Created by
Written byHans Rosenfeldt
Opening theme"Fall" — The Bug featuring Inga Copeland
Composer(s)Lorne Balfe
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series2
No. of episodes16 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Hans Rosenfeldt
  • Nicola Larder
  • Tony Wood
  • Andrew Woodhead
CinematographyUla Pontikos
Editor(s)Liana Del Giudice
Running time50 minutes
Production company(s)Buccaneer Media
Original networkITV
Picture format16:9 (4K)[1]
Audio formatStereo
Original release4 April 2016 (2016-04-04) –

Marcella is a British "Nordic"-noir detective series,[2][3][4] written, directed and produced by Swedish screenwriter Hans Rosenfeldt, creator of The Bridge. The series first broadcast on ITV on 4 April 2016, with seven further episodes broadcast weekly.[5]

The series stars Anna Friel as Marcella Backland, a former London detective who returns to work to investigate an open case from 11 years ago involving an unidentified serial killer who appears to have become active again. Marcella also has to deal with a hectic home life, where her husband, Jason (Nicholas Pinnock), has made the decision to leave her and, at first, send their two children to a boarding school; but later on (in the second season) he uses Marcella's mental disorder as a means to take full custody. Nina Sosanya (series one), Ray Panthaki and Jamie Bamber are also credited as principal members of the cast.

The series was commissioned in June 2015,[6] with location filming taking place in London and the Port of Dover.[7] After their broadcast on ITV, episodes are available to stream on Netflix outside the United Kingdom.[8] The first series was released on DVD via Universal Pictures UK on 20 June 2016.[9] In 2017, Friel was awarded the International Emmy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Marcella.[10]

On 26 August 2016, ITV announced that a second series had been commissioned.[11] The second series premiered on 19 February 2018[12] and was released on DVD on 16 April 2018.[13] On 3 October 2018 it was announced that Marcella would be returning to ITV for a third series, and will begin airing in 2020.[14]


Series 1[edit]

Marcella Backland (Anna Friel), a former London Metropolitan Police Service detective, decides to return to work after her husband of 15 years, Jason (Nicholas Pinnock), abruptly announces he is leaving her. Marcella resumes her investigation into the three unsolved Grove Park murders from 2005, when it appears the serial killer responsible has returned. Unbeknownst to Jason, Marcella is experiencing blackout episodes. Marcella worries she herself may be involved when Grace, the woman Jason has been having an affair with, is murdered.

Series 2[edit]

Marcella investigates a serial killer of children, encountering a paedophile, an arrogant millionaire, a 1970s rock star, and strange symbols relating to witchcraft. Her estranged husband Jason has become engaged to his rehab nurse even though their divorce is not yet finalised, putting their children in the middle of a custody battle that quickly becomes ugly. Marcella's blackouts continue, and she seeks counselling to help her remember what happened during them.

Series 3 (2020)[edit]

Filming on third series of the Marcella began in March 2019 and is expected to air sometime during the summer. It's said that the 8 part drama will dig deeper into Marcella's mental health and explore her new role as an undercover police officer.[15]




Series 1[edit]

Series 2[edit]


Series 1[edit]

  • George Anton as Andrew Barnes
  • Yasen Atour as Mohammed El-Said
  • Jasmine Breinburg as Lea Coombes
  • David Fahm as Greg Brady
  • Imogen Faires as Emma Backland
  • Otto Farrant as Evan Jones
  • Asher Flowers as Edward Backland
  • Nick Hendrix as Adrian Cooper
  • Emil Hostina as Bendek Krol
  • Rob Jarvis as Don Parkin
  • Shivani Kapur as Beth Bachan
  • Youssef Kerkour as Hassan El-Said
  • Isobel Middleton as Victoria Daughton
  • Toby Wharton as Ronnie Weir
  • Robert Whitelock as Guy Roberts
  • Susannah Wise as Linda Callaghan

Series 2[edit]

  • Lucy Speed as Leslie Evans
  • Michael Wildman as Nathan Priestley
  • Clara Indrani as Amanda Priestley
  • Yolanda Kettle as Becky Marani
  • Asher Flowers as Edward Backland
  • Imogen Faires as Emma Backland
  • Aldo Maland as Luke Howell
  • Oaklee Pendergast as Adam Evans
  • Miltos Yerolemou as Yanis



SeriesEpisodesOriginally airedAve. UK viewers
First airedLast aired
184 April 201617 May 20167.59
2819 February 20189 April 20185.12

Series 1 (2016)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
11"Episode 1"Charles MartinHans Rosenfeldt4 April 2016 (2016-04-04)9.18
Former detective Marcella is devastated when her husband of 15 years, Jason, suddenly announces he is leaving her and no longer loves her. She is visited by the detective in charge of an investigation linked to the Grove Park murders, one of Marcella's former unsolved cases. The case involves a serial killer who the police believe has begun to kill again after 11 years. Marcella decides to return to work after several years spent raising their two children, Emma and Edward, who are away at boarding school. Reinstated with her old rank of detective sergeant, Marcella has a very different idea about who should be the main suspect and tells her new superior, to no avail. She discovers her husband, who works as a legal advisor for DTG Construction property developers, is having an affair with Grace Gibson, the CFO of the firm and daughter of the owner, Sylvie Gibson.
22"Episode 2"Charles MartinHans Rosenfeldt11 April 2016 (2016-04-11)8.37
Grace Gibson is reported missing and Marcella vaguely remembers visiting her the previous evening to confront her about Jason. Marcella is warned by her superiors to stop harassing Peter Cullen, her prime suspect, who is in prison for killing his wife in a domestic incident but is allowed out several days a week to work at a bakery under supervision. Marcella believes Peter has a personality disorder and cannot handle rejection. Marcella herself is being secretly treated for a disorder that causes memory blackouts. Webcam girl Cara, who meets people via a cheating app and steals from them, is threatened in her internet chatroom by someone she has stolen from. Marcella is drawn to a wood on Hampstead Heath by memories and discovers Grace's body bound with a plastic bag over her head — fitting the pattern of the Grove Park murders.
33"Episode 3"Charles MartinHans Rosenfeldt18 April 2016 (2016-04-18)7.55
Marcella fails to report the body, which is later revealed to be that of Grace Gibson, now believed to be the fourth victim of the serial killer. Marcella's early hopes of a reconciliation with her husband may be fruitless when she discovers that he had been having an affair for more than three years and Grace was pregnant. Jason loses his job when Sylvie discovers the affair. Marcella's former partner, DCI Laura Porter, allows her to keep working on the case with some restrictions. The police realise Cara, who has been selling the items she steals at a pawn shop, can identify the killer but, as Marcella closes in, Cara is intentionally struck and killed in a hit-and-run. The man supposed to be supervising Peter Cullen during his work release is arrested for breaking and entering, confirming Marcella's suspicion that Cullen had the opportunity to continue killing. Cullen is released on parole and begins stalking criminology student Maddy Stevenson, who has been meeting him for research for her dissertation. Studying CCTV, the police discover that Clive Bonn had been at Hampstead Heath around the time Gibson's body was left there, and also learn that Marcella had been studying CCTV around Grace Gibson's home — prior to her body being found.
44"Episode 4"Jonathan TeplitzkyHans Rosenfeldt and Marston Bloom25 April 2016 (2016-04-25)7.50
Marcella insists she didn't know about Grace's affair with Jason and was merely looking at the CCTV around her home because she was missing. Ordered to check CCTV again, Marcella discovers a taxi parked outside Grace's home the night she was murdered. The taxi driver, Hassan El-Sayed, claims he was trying to sleep and did not see anything; in reality his brother Mohamed, living in the UK illegally on an expired tourist visa, had really been the one driving the cab, and he tells Hassan he remembers a woman taking a heavy item from Grace's home. Marcella fakes her DNA so she cannot be linked to blood from an unknown woman found at Grace's home. Maddy arrives home to find Peter Cullen waiting for her, angered after reading her speculation that he is the Grove Park killer. After discovering that Maddy's boyfriend, Adrian, was found dead on the river shore, Marcella races to Maddy's home and saves her from Cullen. Circumstantial evidence at the scene makes Marcella realise that while Cullen committed the 2005 murders, the latest killings were done by a copycat.
55"Episode 5"Jonathan TeplitzkyHans Rosenfeldt and Ben Harris2 May 2016 (2016-05-02)7.15
Peter Cullen confesses to the 2005 murders. Feeling civic responsibility, Hassan finds Marcella and tells her he now remembers seeing a woman leaving Grace's flat put something into a black Audi. Marcella, who drives a black Audi, does not report this. After Hassan is found shot through the head, the police discover that it was really his brother Mo outside Grace's flat. Marcella discovers evidence that allays her own fears regarding Grace's death: Cara had stolen a necklace belonging to Grace that her killer had taken as a trophy. Jason gets his job back with help of Henry, Grace's half-brother, but a councilor, Andrew Barnes, is dead. Deliveryman Ron Weir returns from a job to find his 6-year-old daughter, May, missing, and neighbour, Beth, murdered by the serial killer.
66"Episode 6"Jonathan TeplitzkyHans Rosenfeldt and Mark Greig9 May 2016 (2016-05-09)7.21
Marcella and her police colleagues desperately search for May, who has been taken by the serial killer, along with her backpack. May's father calls the phone she had in her backpack, which causes the serial killer to panic and dispose of her phone along the way. Marcella and her team find his burnt out car and the drowned girl nearby. Marcella frantically attempts CPR on the young girl, whom she calls Juliet, but is unable to save her; Juliet was the name of Marcella's own baby daughter who died of cot death several years earlier. DNA evidence leads to the arrest of Yann Hall, the boyfriend of Henry Gibson's childhood friend, Matthew. The apparent suicide of Andrew Barnes is being investigated, but the coroner suspects foul play. Jason Backland tries to disconnect himself from any involvement by paying off his private investigator, Stuart, who himself is being blackmailed by his lodger, Polish immigrant Bendek Krol. Mo, the brother of the taxi driver who was murdered, breaks into Marcella's home.
77"Episode 7"Henrik GeorgssonHans Rosenfeldt16 May 2016 (2016-05-16)6.97
When Mo seeks a confession that Marcella killed his brother, she only confesses that she moved Grace's body. The evidence against Yann Hall begins to break down pointing towards his boyfriend, Matthew Neil. Jason Backland comes under suspicion regarding the murder of Andrew Barnes. Stuart and Bendek conspire to blackmail Jason, then Bendek blackmails Stuart. Bendek is found dead in his room, which Stuart staged as accidental death from autoerotic asphyxiation. Henry appears to be mending fences with Sylvie. Matthew Neil appears to have absconded abroad, but he's really being held captive by Henry Gibson. Marcella accepts her marriage is over.
88"Episode 8"Henrik GeorgssonHans Rosenfeldt17 May 2016 (2016-05-17)6.80
Unable to find Matthew Neil, Marcella's attention turns to his best friend Henry Gibson. She tracks his phone to a bar the night Grace was murdered — a bar that was closed and burgled, yet nothing taken, that night. Jason realises Marcella's suspicions and he goes to Henry's home to confront him. Marcella follows on and finds Jason stabbed. Henry tries to attack her and she blacks out; when he wakes up, he is handcuffed with a plastic bag over his face. Marcella barely revives him. When Marcella's colleagues arrive, she is accused by Henry of attacking and trying to kill him, while Henry claims he stabbed Jason in self-defence. Given 12 hours to find evidence against Henry, Marcella realises from the CCTV footage that May bit her kidnapper; a bite mark on Henry's shoulder confirms his guilt. DI Tim Williamson's investigation of Andrew Barnes' murder uncovers the possible involvement of Marcella's husband and previously doctored CCTV footage placing Marcella near Grace's home on the night Grace was murdered.

Series 2 (2018)[edit]

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
91"Episode 1"Charles MartinHans Rosenfeldt19 February 2018 (2018-02-19)5.83
The discovery of a schoolboy's body in the wall of a derelict flat has personal repercussions for Marcella, as the victim is identified as Leo Priestley, a close friend of her son, Edward. Leo disappeared in 2014 when the boys were 9, while Edward was supposed to be walking home from school with him. The occupier of the neighbouring flat, aging rocker Reg Reynolds, is questioned about the discovery but denies any involvement. Reg was out of the country on a tour at the time and has since had a stroke, causing aphasia. Marcella suspects that convicted child sex offender Phil Dawkins, who was seen ogling the crime scene as police and forensic officers arrived, may be involved. Businessman Vince Whitman gets bad press when his business practises — hiring teenagers for low pay and then changing them to zero-hour contracts when they are older — is exposed. Marcella returns to the flat where Leo was found and is attacked by an unseen individual. In a blackout, Marcella attacks Becky, Jason's fiancée, whom she mistakes for someone abducting Edward. After her attack on Becky, Marcella finally admits to Jason that she suffers from blackouts. He threatens to keep the children away from her if she doesn't get help. Another schoolboy, Adam Evans, is abducted. Someone is watching Marcella in her home over her own laptop webcam.
102"Episode 2"Charles MartinHans Rosenfeldt26 February 2018 (2018-02-26)5.18
Instead of offering Marcella help with her blackouts, Jason prepares to use her situation as ammunition to get sole custody of the children. The discovery of a second body in the boot of a car involved in a car crash leads the team to suspect there is more to the case than initially meets the eye. The boy, 15, had been working illegally at a brothel, and like Leo, was lobotomised before his death. Phil Dawkins' DNA is found at Reg's flat. DC Mark Travis discovers a possible link to a local car garage, but before Marcella and Rav can retrieve any vital evidence, the garage is burnt to the ground. Mark is stalking Marcella via the webcam on her home computer. Adam is being held captive in a house by an unknown abductor, who surgically implants discs with strange symbols on them into his abdomen — the same type of discs found on Leo and the boy found in the boot. Edward, who feels guilty for leaving Leo alone, begins to act strangely, killing his pet mouse.
113"Episode 3"Charles MartinHans Rosenfeldt5 March 2018 (2018-03-05)4.81
Vince invites the press to his factory for a publicity stunt during which he throws £20,000 in cash out to his workers; one young worker, MMA fighter Eric, is sacked after scuffling with another working during the ensuing melee. Eric's sister, single mum Gail, discovers that one of her patients at a care facility, who suffered brain damage in an accident, is able to spell out messages using his fingers. Jason serves Marcella papers which will allow him to take sole custody of the children, whom he plans to move to Singapore for a new job opportunity. He tells her if she doesn't sign the papers, he will tell everyone about her blackouts. He provokes her into a blackout, and when she revives she sees Jason, whom she has presumably attacked, covered in blood and looking at her with disgust. Rav is angered when he suspects Marcella may have leaked Phil Dawkins' home address to the press. When journalists harass them, the stress sends Phil's partner, Nina, into labour three months prematurely, which results in their son being stillborn. A professor identifies the symbols as talismans used to ward off evil in Colonial Massachusetts. Vince's wife, Maya, who runs a charity for at-risk youth, decides she has had enough. She is infatuated with Tim, who is on the board of the charity, and tells him she is leaving Vince. Adam escapes the house after five days in captivity.
124"Episode 4"Charles SturridgeHans Rosenfeldt12 March 2018 (2018-03-12)4.89
Adam is rescued by an older couple in a passing car, which is pushed onto the path of an oncoming train by a blue lorry. The couple is killed but Adam survives. Doctors report that Adam, who is in a coma, was sexually abused, but that the abuse predated his kidnapping. Police discover that a 14-year-old girl, Debbie Canavan, disappeared in 1986 after going backstage at a Swiss Coast concert — Reg Reynolds' band. Marcella visits a psychiatrist for hypnosis and recalls details from her last blackout — and that Jason intentionally injured himself to manipulate her. Phil Dawkins exacts his revenge on Marcella, turning up at her home when she is at the therapist and posing as a police officer to gain Edward's trust. Mark, thanks to his covert surveillance, prevents Dawkins from sexually assaulting Edward by anonymously calling police. After Marcella listens to his 999 call, instead of having him sacked, she forces him to look for compromising information on Jason and Becky. Sascha and her partner, Jojo, who both work at the Whitman Foundation, argue over the cost of another round of IVF that Jojo desperately wants. Maya rejects Sascha's request for a raise but offers her money under the table if Sascha helps her with something illegal. The family of Gail's patient, Joel, complains about her when he experiences a seizure while communicating with her.
135"Episode 5"Charles SturridgeHans Rosenfeldt & Camilla Ahlgren19 March 2018 (2018-03-19)5.08
Marcella is able to remember the events of the night that Grace was murdered. Through analysis of the tachograph found on the lorry that acted as a catalyst in the train crash, Mark is able to pinpoint a possible location where Adam was being held. When they eventually locate the property, the team are stunned to find Victorian-style post-mortem photos of 17 dead children hung on a wall, including Leo and the boy found in the boot, all posed with toys. Marcella is perturbed by the strange reaction of a neighbour, Nigel Stafford, who refuses to speak with her. As the case quickly intensifies, one of the victims is identified as a promising amateur boxer who disappeared three years ago. The case leads the police to Vince, who serves as a mentor at a boxing club, and who was the last person to see the boy alive. Another promising boxer, 14-year-old Karim, had disappeared days earlier. Eric, who recorded Karim getting into Vince's Ferrari, attempts to blackmail Vince. Vince refuses to give any money to Eric, who gives the footage to the police. Reg confides in Alan Summers, Swiss Coast's longtime manager, that he has pancreatic cancer. Edward's girlfriend, Samantha, breaks up with him because of his odd behaviour. Gail ignores her boss's order and tries again to communicate with Joel. Joel, who has the same scar on his stomach that Adam and the dead boys had, spells out, "No accident."
146"Episode 6"Charles SturridgeHans Rosenfeldt26 March 2018 (2018-03-26)5.16
Vince is arrested after being picked out of a lineup by Nigel, who claims he saw him at the house where Adam was held. He denies any involvement in the murders and informs Marcella that his wife is sleeping with Tim, who therefore has a vested interest in determining his guilt. Marcella confronts Tim, who accuses Marcella of being paranoid because of Jason's infidelity. Vince is released when Karim shows up alive; Eric, desperate for money, orchestrated his disappearance in order to blackmail Vince, who finally paid him. Alan visits the station with Reg's letter of confession, claiming that he has gone missing and he is concerned for his welfare. Old newspaper articles from Debbie Canavan's disappearance lead Marcella to Samantha's mother, Jane, who was with Debbie the night she vanished. Becky shows up at Gail's work to ask her questions about Joel; Gail suddenly disappears. Edward confesses that he and Leo had a fight shortly before the boy disappeared and that he remembered a car following them. A toy found with one of the boys is traced to Vince's business, who traces it to Maya. Amateur paranormal investigators, who break into buildings that are supposedly haunted, post video taken several years earlier of their visit to the house where Adam was held captive. Marcella feeds information of Vince's arrest to the press in order to obtain the full video footage, which leads her to suspect the murderer may be female. They also discover the killer somehow hid a female body in the police station, where it has since decomposed.
157"Episode 7"Jim O'HanlonHans Rosenfeldt2 April 2018 (2018-04-02)5.04
Marcella tells Alan she doubts he wrote the confession letter and that she suspects he is behind Reg's disappearance. Maya's attempt to leave Vince backfires badly and ends up with Tim under investigation for embezzling from the foundation, using transactions she had herself done to frame Vince. Marcella finds out from Mark that Becky once worked on a yacht involved in a hooker scandal. The body found at the police station is revealed to be that of a troubled teen girl; like several of other victims, the police trace her to KidsCall, a crisis line run by the Whitman Foundation. The professor now believes the discs with the symbols represent not keeping evil away, but preventing it from escaping. Nigel, the uncooperative neighbour, reveals his girlfriend, Rosio, has been abducted, and he is communicating online with the kidnapper, who forced him to pick Vince out of the police lineup. Mark remains at Nigel's home, attempting to trace the abductor while the police search for her. When Rosio's body is found, Nigel kills Mark and then kills himself. Eric confronts both Gail's boss and Vince about his sister's disappearance. Samantha's mother, Jane, sees bruises on her daughter and believes Edward caused it and that is why they broke up. Edward shows up at their house to talk to Samantha, where Jane drugs him.
168"Episode 8"Jim O'HanlonHans Rosenfeldt9 April 2018 (2018-04-09)4.98
The police arrest Eric for firing his gun at Gail's boss. Upon questioning, he reveals Gail's breakthrough with Joel, who turns out to be Jane's brother. During the raid at her house, Marcella finds Edward's bag and realizes that he has been taken. During another one of her blackouts, she drives off, picking up Samantha, and eventually confronts Jane at an abandoned winery. After subduing and arresting Jane, Marcella goes back to the hypnotist and learns that she accidentally killed Juliette. Upon learning this, she signs the custody papers and almost jumps off the police building. Rav notices her, stops her from jumping and attempts to convince her to seek out help. Marcella knocks him out and changes her appearance before disappearing into the night. Later, it is learned that the woman whose DNA Marcella used to hide her possible involvement in Grace Gibson's murder perished in a fire, resulting in Marcella being legally deceased. Upon being told this information by Frank, an associate of Laura, he also offers her a job to work undercover.


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  3. ^ Saner, Emine (5 April 2016). "Marcella review: skilful Scandi noir comes to London – knitwear and all". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
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  5. ^ "Anna Friel: I've always found beauty in flaws". BBC News. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  6. ^ "ITV commissions drama series Marcella". Press Centre (18 June 2015). Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  7. ^ Kent Film Office. "Marcella". Kent Film Office.
  8. ^ Nolan, Emma (5 March 2018). "Marcella season 2 Netflix release date: How to watch Marcella season 2 online". Express. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
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  10. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (21 November 2017). "Kenneth Branagh, Anna Friel, 'Alan Partridge,' and 'Mammon II' Win International Emmy Awards". Variety. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  11. ^ "ITV commissions second series of Marcella starring Anna Friel". ITV. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
  12. ^ "Anna Friel celebrates International Emmy Award win for Marcella". BBC News. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  13. ^ "Marcella - Series 2". Amazon. UK. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  14. ^ "Marcella is coming back for series 3 and will dig deeper into her mental health". Metro. 3 October 2018. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  15. ^ Blanket, Jo (26 March 2019). "Filming commences entirely in Northern Ireland on third series of critically acclaimed drama Marcella starring Anna Friel" (Press release). ITV. Retrieved 14 October 2019.

External links[edit]