The Loch

2 out of 5

Created by: Steven Brady

covers season 1

When the killer is revealed in Loch’s season one closer (spoiler?), the show manages to temporarily get all of its ducks in a row, wringing compelling and tense performances from Laura Fraser, as DS Annie Redford, her daughter Evie – played by Shona McHugh – and the other various characters caught up in a murder mystery involving discarded body parts and a submerged – in The Loch of the title – cadaver.  The explanation digs in surprisingly deep, giving a character justification that (mostly) doesn’t feel like forced backtracking just to catch you out.  The epiloguey bits are a bit too “and they lived happily ever after,” but if you’d only caught that final episode, you’d likely be tempted to start from the top, and experience what would hopefully be an effective and layered thriller.

…And you’d be disappointed.  Most BBC serialized mysteries follow the same tropes of red herring accusations and ultimately pointless plotty complexity in which Loch indulges, but there’s generally a minimum of focus or momentum maintained that keeps you engaged enough.  The Loch can’t even quite decide if Fraser is the lead or not, giving her a character arc which has her choosing between her job or her family and then chasing down totally un-Fraser connected leads – that are even more clearly not connected than the usual false positives – while dropping in a tiresome repeated image of that water-logged cadaver, like a passive aggressive reminder that shit will get real at some point, I promise.

Because the wind-up to that successful final episode is so wayward, with too many undercooked subplots and excessive character development that only affects those subplots, the quality acting and mood-setting, rain-slicked production design goes to waste, efforts emoted to the wings in which no one is seated.

I guess some extra points* for attempted symbolism with the monster of The Loch.

*extra points are subject to current point rates, converted via the accepted standards set by the International Point Board of Point Assignations, Transfers, Conversions and “Pointings,” and cannot be redeemed for any point value.