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June 19, 2017

Loch Ness:
The monster is quite human in this six-part drama

© Stephanie Hoover, All Rights Reserved

Stars of Acorn TV's Loch Ness
Laura Fraser as Annie Redford and Siobhan Finneran as DCI Lauren Quigley. Photo courtesy of ITV and Acorn TV.

Loch Ness presents an intriguing alternative. Yes, there is a monster terrorizing the villagers living on the shores of this familiar body of water - but it's not a lake creature. It's a very human serial killer.

In the show's opening scenes, the camera dives under the murky waters to reveal a dead man, tied to cinder blocks, floating like a ghostly revenant on the lake floor. His identity is not revealed (and won't soon be) but the creep factor is multiplied when teenagers stage a bloody, prank "Nessie" carcass on the beach. It includes, unbeknownst to them, a human heart.

This six-part series is written by Stephen Brady (veteran of Vera and Silent Witness) and is executive produced by ITV Studios' Tim Haines. Much of the show was filmed on location. The rugged shores, highland cliffs and wild-growing nature surrounding Loch Ness are as important to the show's sensibilities as the human cast.

Siobhan Finneran (whom many know as Downton Abbey's conniving lady's maid Sarah O'Brien) plays DCI Quigley - a no nonsense Manchester copper who wants to solve the murders and return to her long-awaited promotion. She and Loch Ness Police Chief Frank Smilie (John Sessions) butt heads as they compete for control of the investigation.Tough but fair, it is Quigley who gives DS Annie Redford the chance to exercise her pent-up ambition.

Redford, the classic village cop who knows everyone, is well played by Laura Fraser. After four years of living in America and working on shows like Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, the Scottish actress is back home. Her character in Loch Ness becomes obsessed with the murders. This, in turn, creates friction with her husband and daughter, both of whom are dealing with their own secrets.

Blake Albrighton (Don Gilet), an egotistical forensic psychologist, is hired by DCI Quigley to consult on the case. Though there is clearly a personal history between the two, it's a move she comes to regret. Like everyone else, it seems, Albrighton's true motives are hidden just beneath the surface.

When the crime is finally resolved, Loch Ness presents a twist within a twist that is both unique and satisfying.

CIM recommends Loch Ness to viewers who enjoy mysteries with strong, well-drawn characters and suspense that builds over time. A love of the legends surrounding Loch Ness isn't required, but certainly adds to the enjoyment.