The show “Bodies” starring Stephen Graham as a cop is an exhilarating drama that will leave you craving for more.
After watching the first episode of Bodies, I couldn’t help but feel that it was just another well-made police show, but with a unique twist. The twist is so significant that it could even be called a “Twist” – four detectives stumble upon the same body in the same location, but at different time periods. However, for a brief moment, it didn’t seem exceptional, just good enough. The story starts in 2023, where the police are present at a far-right protest in London’s East End, but then jumps back to 1941 and 1890 before making an even more daring leap. The modern-day scenes are gripping and intense, while the past sequences seem exaggerated and unrealistically historical. However, as the first episode reached its explosive climax, I was immediately hooked and couldn’t resist watching the following episodes.
The story begins gently in the present time, with Detective Sergeant Shahara Hasan (played by Amaka Okafor) noticing a suspicious young man carrying a gun near a fascist march. She follows him and discovers a dead man who has been shot in the eye and stripped naked. Then, the story takes us back to 1941 where we meet Charles Whiteman (played by Jacob Fortune-Lloyd), a charming detective who is Jewish and faces discrimination from his colleagues. He also comes across the same body. Finally, we are taken back to 1890 where Alfred Hillinghead (played by Kyle Soller), a detective with an impressive beard, navigates the different subcultures of Victorian Whitechapel and stumbles upon the same body in the same alley, arranged in the same manner.
Bodies is a TV adaptation of Si Spencer’s 2015 graphic novel and is dedicated to his memory. It pays homage to its source material through the inclusion of split screens, reminiscent of comic book panels, that divide up scenes and eras. The series features dramatic light explosions and strange occurrences, with Stephen Graham’s character being a crucial piece of the mystery. Initially, the three plot lines compete for attention, but ultimately the 2023 storyline proves to be the most satisfying. Hasan, a no-nonsense police officer, has a talent for handling troubled youth, but becomes a disturbing focal point for two teenagers connected to a body. She is also a single mother, living with her father and son, struggling to balance her work and home life like many other female officers on TV.
In contrast, the late-Victorian era is quite lively, with bold sex workers flirting with police officers. There are numerous intense glances exchanged between Hillinghead and a journalist who is also a trailblazer in street photography. The journalist has captured a photo of the victim that may provide a clue to the culprit. The atmosphere is reminiscent of the Victorian era, with everyone adding dramatic flair to their actions. Similarly, 1941 begins in a humorous noir style, with Whiteman receiving mysterious phone calls and being directed to secretive operations, all while charming the brave women who work at the station.
Keep at it, however, as things calm down quickly. It moves the plot forward and Shira Haas from “Unorthodox” appears as Iris Maplewood, another detective who comes across the dead body. The different time periods become more significant as the connections between them are revealed. It is an ambitious show, but it is also very worthwhile. There are seances, hidden signals, gunfights, car pursuits, surveillance missions, a caravan explosion, and blackmail schemes.
Hillinghead is an upright police officer with secret longings, whose life takes an unexpected turn after making a discovery. Whiteman is a corrupt cop with a mysterious side job, but when he stumbles upon a body, events quickly spiral out of his control. Hasan is being followed by another young person who claims to have knowledge of the future, while in the future, Maplewood’s investigation is hindered by an enigmatic “red alert” placed on her case. Identities shift and intertwine. While there is a lot happening, once it comes together it becomes an exciting all-in-one package. The audience is treated to a variety of genres – a historical drama, a 1940s film noir, a gritty police show, and an experimental science fiction. It’s like getting three for the price of one.
Recently, there has been a surge in TV shows centered around time travel. In the Apple series “Shining Girls,” Jamie Bell portrayed a serial killer with the ability to travel through time. In “The Lazarus Project,” Paapa Essiedu went back six months in time, while Peter Capaldi jumped through different years in Prime’s “The Devil’s Hour.” With all this time-traveling content, it was only a matter of time before Netflix joined in. Their new show, “Bodies,” is well-equipped to compete with the others in the genre.