Loch Ness, also known as The Loch, is a UK procedural on Sundance Now starring Siobhan Finneran (Downton Abbey) and Laura Fraser (Lydia on Breaking Bad). Featuring a picturesque coastal town, the murder of a popular resident, and a detective coming in from the outside to solve the case, Loch Ness reminded me of Broadchurch, but without the delightful relationship between Miller (Olivia Colman) and Hardy (David Tennant).
A Promising Start
Loch Ness opens with several beauty shots of the town of Lochnafoy and Loch Ness itself. When the camera takes us underwater, the music cue turns dark. But instead of Nessie, we see a dead man, fully dressed and floating above weights that are holding him down to the bottom of the lake. We are then introduced to DS Annie Redford (Laura Fraser), a small-town cop who clearly knows everyone in town and vice-versa. That night, her daughter and classmates lay out some bones and offal from the local butcher in the shape of Nessie. It’s a harmless enough prank, except that a human heart is found in the mess. That day a (different) body is found at the base of a cliff, and because this force has little to no experience solving murders, and because they may have a serial killer on their hands, DCI Lauren Quigley (Siobhan Finneran) is sent in from Glasgow with her psychological profiler Blake Albrighton.
Everybody has a secret
Thus begins the red-herring-of-the-week routine that we’ve seen many times. It seems that everybody in town has a secret, getting caught in lies to the police who are just trying to solve a murder, for Pete’s sake. Meanwhile, DS Redford is excited to be working her first murder, but is getting pushback from her neglected family, who are used to having her home for dinner. DCI Quigley is on tense terms with DS Redford’s boss from an earlier incident, and also with Blake Albrighton, with whom she may have had an affair. Unfortunately, while these subplots look interesting on paper, they play out as tired. There is no real chemistry here between the characters, and although it’s nice to see two women working together, the relationship between Quigley and Redford is bland. The murderer, when he/she is unmasked, seems less like a serial killer than a person who can’t control his/her anger.
Watchable but not a must-see
Ultimately, Loch Ness falls into the category of “between-the-binge”. If you are jonesing for a UK procedural (which I sometimes do) while you wait for the next Happy Valley or Bodyguard, this can tide you over, but you won’t be clearing your schedule to finish it.
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