Bodies is a new limited series now available to stream on Netflix. Based on a graphic novel of the same name, the mind-bending, time-travel thriller brings a refreshingly new and interesting take to the detective crime genre.
The 8-episode series opens in London in 2023 with DS Shahara Hasan (Amaka Okafor), as she heads to help police a local far-right rally. She spots a young man in an alleyway holding a gun and she gives chase when he flees. The young man eventually ends up in Longharvest Lane, where a naked man lies dead on the floor from an apparent gunshot wound. The young man flees leaving Hasan to attend to the murdered man, who has been shot through the eye and also has a strange tattoo on his wrist.
Meanwhile, on the very same day in 1890, DI Alfred Hillinghead (Kyle Soller) is called to Longharvest Lane to investigate the murder of the same body, aided by local reporter Henry Ashe (George Parker) who was on scene first taking photos. In 1941, DS Charles Charles Whiteman (Jacob Fortune-Lloyd) works on the side for a secret organisation that ends every phone call with “Know you are loved”. They instruct him to head to Longharvest Lane to collect an identical body and transport it to a new location. And in 2053, DC Iris Maplewood (Shira Haas) lives in a dystopian Britain ruled by a power called The Executive. She is heading through the now abandoned area of Longharvest Lane when she hears a noise, and on investigating she discovers an identical body of the same man but this time, he’s still alive.
As the series progresses we see each officer as they advance their own investigation into the mystery body, while Hasan soon uncovers the link to the previous investigations in 1890 and 1941. All investigations discover a link between the body and the shadowy “Know you are loved” organisation, which in 2053 is led by Commander Elias Mannix (Stephen Graham) and as the investigations are furthered, it becomes clear that Mannix has a bigger role to play across all four timelines.
My main reason for watching Bodies was that I’d heard part of it had been filmed in Bolton which is local to me, and while Bolton wasn’t featured as much as I’d have thought, the series itself has turned out to be quite a pleasant surprise. The show puts a welcome science fiction spin on a standard murder mystery thriller, and the time travel aspect makes for a great original story as it crosses into a period piece, modern-day cop show and a futuristic dystopian sci-fi. I’ve always been a fan of well-done time travel, and the unique way this story jumps across the four timelines makes for an incredibly engaging series – every episode left me with questions that I just couldn’t wait to get the answers to. The first episode might start off a little slowly, but the action soon picks up once we’ve been introduced to all four timelines and the use of split screens to highlight differences between the periods and their policing techniques really helps.
The cast are all fantastic, showcasing some great British talent and ever brilliant is the wonderful Stephen Graham as Mannix, even if his accent does go a little dodgy on occasion, sneaking in some of his natural Liverpudlian. It’s in the overall appearance and presentation where the series falters a little. Some of the CGI isn’t great, and a lot of what we see appearance-wise in each period feels clichéd and not unlike any other shows set in similar periods. It feels a little like this is a lower-budget terrestrial TV show rather than what you’d expect from something produced by Netflix, which is a shame as the story deserves so much more. Fortunately, the plot and the rather tense, ambiguous ending mostly make up for these shortfalls, and even better, it’s a limited series which means they shouldn’t ruin the ending by making more. Bodies is the best and most original show I’ve seen in quite a while, with the sci-fi crime thriller aspects making for a unique and incredibly entertaining watch.
Where to Watch
A contract manager moonlighting as a rather discerning film and book critic, with an almost fangirl appreciation for anything made by Christopher Nolan. When I’m not catching up on my latest read or watch, you can usually find me trying out my amateur baking skills – Bake Off here I come!