Darker, deeper, and more complex than ever, Marcella season 2 on Netflix ventures far afield of conventional serial killer territory. We know the killer – a peadophile with a twisted bent for witchcraft  – has mental issues, but Marcella, as in season 1, also navigates the dark recesses of her own psyche as she sifts through a maze of suspects and connections. In any real world police force, DS Backland would be ruled unfit to serve, but she’s a perfect fit for television crime drama.

Marcella season 2 delivers seven solid episodes worthy of bingeing, but it’s an eight-episode series. (More on that later.)

Marcella season 2 cast

Some new cops on the force

Episode 1 opens with a flash forward showing that Marcella Backland (Anna Friel) remains a troubled soul. It takes several scenes, if not a full episode, to reaquaint with the characters and some new developments, but events draw us in quickly. Eerie scenes portray unsettling, but non-sexual, crimes against children.

Marcella and her ex, Jason (Nicholas Pinnock), continue with tense standoffs. Their two kids live with Jason and his new girlfriend most of the time. With the storyline of this season, it’s inevitable that the boy, Edward, gets involved. It’s the body of his friend, abducted years ago, that’s found early on.

The list of potential suspects grows and changes over several episodes. Everyone connects to everyone else somehow, adding welcome complexity and mystery to the story. Those that aren’t killers are still guilty of something. That’s the case with almost everyone in Marcella, all have their secrets.

Season 1 premiered on Netflix almost two years ago, leaving memories somewhat vague, but Marcella season 2 feels tighter and more intricate. For such an original series, it’s a shame the eighth episode reverts to standard thriller conventions before careening wildly in the opposite direction, almost as far afield as the end of Witnesses season 2. We stayed with both series til the end, engrossed and entertained, but didn’t quite buy into the reality presented.

Series creator Hans Rosenfeldt (creator of The Bridge) stayed on board for Marcella season 2. Episodes run about 50 minutes and both seasons are available on Netflix. Watch the recap before beginning season 2.

If you haven’t yet watched Marcella season 2 til the end, a minor spoiler lies ahead. The last couple of minutes set us up for Marcella season 3. It looks like a wild ride.