Crime through time

Published date17 October 2023
Publication titleSignal
NETFLIX’S Bodies is here (from 20 October), and comes with the perfect promise: “it has Stephen Graham in it”. I do not need to tell you that Stephen Graham is one of the best actors England has ever had and, crucially, has immaculate taste in projects (“What about Venom 2? And that Pirates of the Caribbean film?” Not now! Shut up!), but that does sort of misrepresent what makes Bodies such a strong offering

For the first couple of episodes at least, he is only there in passing, doing that thing where he holds his mouth stoically shut and inhales very deeply while standing up straight.

What makes Bodies so interesting is the murder procedural is being told in four different timelines — 1890, 1941, 2023 and, gasp, 2053 — each with four completely different visual feels and four different but excellent lead performances. You’re following a lot of gears and they click neatly together, and it scratches a very satisfying itch when they do.

Let’s start in 2023: DS Shahara Hasan (Amaka Okafor) has just chased a teenage boy into an alleyway and found a nude body with a mysterious tattoo who has been shot through the eye. In 1941, Jacob Fortune-Lloyd’s Karl Whiteman is tangled in police corruption while the bombs drop, and he finds a nude body with a mysterious tattoo who has been shot through the eye. In 1890, Kyle Soller’s Edmond Hillinghead is busy being a Victorian intellectual when he finds a nude body with a mysterious tattoo who has been shot through the eye. Not going to tell you what Shira Haas’s Iris Maplewood just did in 2053 (guess), but she has a very interesting haircut while she’s doing it. The body is still nude.

The fact that this is a limited series gives me a lot of hope. I often find that Netflix shows start very strongly, then decision-makers at the company start combing through audience data and posts on X/Twitter and try to course-correct a show to please a hungry audience, and that’s why Sex Education season four was like that. Bodies, like a previous “high sci-fi concept, good visual aesthetic, amazing actors” Netflix limited series, Maniac, isn’t constrained by the need to have an open-ended finale in the vague hope of a series two. It...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT