TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Marcella TV Poster Image
British detective show is violent, complex.

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Divorce, police work, greed, corruption, family conflicts all themes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Marcella is talented, well-intentioned, troubled, flawed.


Serial killing, murder investigations central themes. People assaulted, suffocated, run over; bloody crime scenes, photos.


Strong innuendo, including simulated sex acts. Partial nudity (breasts, bottoms). Porn, prostitution discussed.


"Hell," "damn."


Oreos, Apple computers; none prominently featured.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking (champagne, wine); pot discussed, cocaine use visible.

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. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byflixandchill September 24, 2019

Like the female Luther

Dark, interesting, well acted but not amazing show for adults. CS misses a few things: plenty of 'F' words; a person has been shot in the head and we... Continue reading
Adult Written byAeolus February 3, 2021

Series 2, absolutely dreadful direction

A reasonable story line well acted, where direction allows. The skipping timelines are distracting in the extreme and why do we need to wait for episode six, o... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byouat_reign_ April 24, 2019
Ok well I watched this when I was 12 because my parents were watching it and I really liked it and I’m excited for the next season as they left it on a cliff ha... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byMollieRose May 30, 2018

Marcella. Real or Over the top?

I am obsessed with this program. It is a thrilling yet relatable English program on ITV and I am impressed. Yet I can't stress enough to how hard hitting t... Continue reading

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 ...

  • Families can talk about what makes a good detective story. Is it the characters? The crimes involved? Do you think violent scenes are always necessary?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love drama

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