The Loch Ness Monster may or may not exist, but Loch Ness, Series 1, released by Acorn Media on Blu-ray October 3 2017, shows us that monsters come in all shapes and sizes and are usually human. A small town in Scotland bordering the infamous Loch is rocked by first one, then a series of murders.
Being the local cop in the above mentioned town hasn’t prepared Detective Sergeant (DS) Annie Redford (Laura Fraser) for dealing with one murder, let alone what looks to be a series of murders. So a team, headed by Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) Lauren Quigley (Siobhan Finneran) is brought in from the nearest city, Inverness, to head up the investigation. While the two officers get off to an initially rocky start, Redford’s knowledge of the local geography and the people in her community prove to be too invaluable a resource for Quigley to ignore.
The six part series takes the viewer down the same path the villagers and police end up travelling. From the first body being discovered and the ensuing grisly details revealed by the pathologist’s examination (part of the brain had been removed using the time honoured method of pulling it out through the nose) to the show’s conclusion we follow along as the police bounce from suspect to suspect. While it turns out more people than you’d think in a town this size have secrets they want to hide, that doesn’t necessarily make them murderers.
Well paced over its six parts Loch Ness not only does a great job of allowing the story to unfold gradually, it also does a fine job of showing how the worm of suspicion can affect a community. At first there is only shock at the sudden death of a well liked townsperson. However, as subsequent deaths come to light, and the police investigation progresses, we see how people begin to wonder about each other. Any doubts they may have had about a person’s character are blown out of proportion, until the only answer must be they’re the guilty party.
While the show does a commendable job of character development over the course of the series, the main focus is naturally on Redford and how she interacts with others. We see her as mother of a teenage daughter, wife, and cop, and how sometimes those three roles don’t exactly mesh.
As a cop she is naturally excited by the opportunity to be part of something bigger than the usual run of the mill crime she deals with in a small town. However, these feelings are tempered by fear as more of the people she knows and cares for become embroiled, in one way or another, by events.
One of the better aspects of the show is the interactions between the two lead female characters. DCI Quigley has obviously become used to having to put up a hard exterior as a woman trying to climb the promotion ladder in the police force. However, as the case progresses and her relationship with Redford improves, she begins to let her guard down, even to the point of revealing personal secrets from her past.
Watching Fraser and Finneran work off each other is a delight. They are both highly gifted actors who can always find the right tone to make all their scenes completely believable. However, in the special feature included in the Blu-ray on the making of the show, we find out they had a serious problem with sending each other into fits of giggles when they did scenes together. Fraser admits they had to take turns looking at each other, because anytime they made eye contact they’d break up laughing.
Loch Ness, Series 1 is a wonderful piece of television. Not only is it an extremely well done police procedural and murder mystery, but it manages to recreate the atmosphere of fear that would surely stalk an isolated and close knit community under these circumstances. The combination of great acting, wonderful script and incredible cinematography make this a mini-series well worth watching. We can only hope the Series 1 in the title indicates there is more to come.