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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Marcella is a mature British detective series about a woman who returns to the force as she reinvestigates a string of unsolved murders. It contains strong violent content (including disturbing murder scenes), simulated sex acts and partial nudity (breasts, bottoms), and drug use. Corruption, divorce, and mental illness are also central themes.
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- Kids say
What's the story?
MARCELLA is a British crime detective series starring Anna Friel as Marcella Backland, a gifted detective who finds herself reinvestigating a string of unsolved murders while trying to cope with her unraveling personal life. After taking time off to raise her family, Marcella rejoins the murder investigation squad when she is approached by DI Rav Sangha (Ray Panthaki) for details about some previous murder cases that may relate to a new string of killings. As she thoroughly reviews the details and pursues leads, often without the consent of Sangha or his boss, DCI Laura Porter (Nina Sosanya), she struggles with her anger about her impending divorce from estranged husband Jason (Nicholas Pinnock). Things get more complicated as the murder inquiries reveal new information, including a twist or two that involves Sylvie Gibson (Sinéad Cusack), the wealthy owner of the property development company Jason works for. As time goes on, Marcella's professional and personal worlds begin to collide, making her feel she may be losing control.
Is it any good?
Dark and knotty, this film noir-type series intertwines thickly detailed narratives that require a viewer's full attention to navigate them. Marcella, who has no problem breaking the rules to investigate a case, is a complicated -- but sympathetic -- heroine. But the constant introduction of new plot lines and suspicious characters happens almost too frequently, and Marcella's inability to control her divorce-fueled rage sometimes makes you wonder why any police force would trust her.
Nonetheless, the show still manages to tell an overall tale that is both compelling and intelligent. Those who are interested in complex detective stories will appreciate the painstaking efforts to coherently piece together the often-overlapping details of each case. Not every question they raise will be answered as you watch, but this, in part, is what makes it an addictive viewing experience.
Talk to your kids about ...
For kids who love drama
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.