by Kathleen Costa
BritBox is my favorite go-to streaming entertainment option. I’ve been a member for several years and have zero complaints. For my membership (monthly $6.99; special annual $69.99), I can access a vast and varied library at anytime, anywhere, and on any of my devices. There’s comedies that illustrate well the nuances of British humor, dramas that will spark many emotions, detective shows that rival any one with a badge, and documentaries that’ll just make you smart. It’s the quirky that I greatly enjoy and add a warrant card and a murder mystery and I’m in…like MacDonald & Dodds, a big favorite!
MacDonald & Dodds has returned for its third season. The oddly suited duo DCI Lauren McDonald (Tala Gouveia) and DS Dodds (Jason Watkins) are members of the West of England Police Constabulary in Bath, England. They are anticipating trouble with their new boss, Chief Superintendent Mary Ormond (Claire Skinner), who runs a tight ship through expectation and example. Her mission puts apprehending the criminals and getting justice for victims and their families as the utmost importance, well over personal and professional loyalties. She is, however, more accommodating and trusting of the team’s abilities, especially when results are positive.
The first case sends MacDonald and Dodds to Parade Park where a young woman is found dead in one of the lawn chairs oddly sporting a smile on her face. This leads the pair to The Belvedere, the private residence of linguist Professor George Gillan and his antagonistic mother Agnes. Dodds has a strange déjà vu feeling of the place slowly remembering when he visited it with his “old auntie” when it was a Women’s Psychiatric Hospital. A £50,000 betting slip. A linguistic mistake. Dodd’s revelation of family.
ICYMI—Alan Davis (Jonathon Creek, Whites, & Damned) portrays the professor. Dame Siân Phillips (Dune—1984; many guest star roles) plays his eccentric mother.
The next case sends the duo to the Formula 1 track when, during a practice round, Addington Racing’s top driver comes in for a pit stop and dies. The company, a racing dynasty, is struggling, but an investment from Japanese group could be the bail out needed, but there are conditions. MacDonald is a big fan of F1, yet Dodds is trying to understand the fascination. But, when questioning those of interest MacDonald meets a former colleague. A dysfunctional family. An undercover op. MacDonald uncovers a truth.
ICYMI—Paul McGann (The Three Musketeers—1993; many guest star roles) is Team Addington’s head of the family. Mrs. Masamoto is Naoko Mori from the sci-fi thriller Torchwood.
The last case gets a bit creepy when a body is found in a shallow grave on the Dia de los Muertos in the shadow of the Glastonbury Tur. However, it becomes necessary to have DS Dodds under close scrutiny when they discover key hotel reservations, car registrations, and an online persona are all…DS Dodds. Ok, it’s not him, but someone seriously wants his attention, and two more bodies and a personal kidnapping just might do it. A paranormal podcaster. A cold case attack. Dodds desires a special dispensation.
ICYMI—Joanna Riding (Into the Woods—2014; guest star in many mystery shows) is Maeve Gibney with a delightful voice.
MacDonald & Dodds is one of my favorite detective shows not only for its creative opening, but its intriguing, clever mysteries and surprise outcomes, but for the quirky performance by Jason Watkins…he’s perfect! His quiet, introspective manner is highlighted by a small stature, balding hairline, think glasses on a cord, and a taste for butter with his chips (fries). He records all of his observations and theories in a little black notebook, but isn’t quick to share his opinions until he is very sure.
MacDonald has grown to appreciate Dodds’ idiosyncrasies, even taking an interest in Dodds’ life outside the job (losing his mother early in his life, living with his aunt, and a divorce decades in the works), but she now relies on him, shares personal details, and even embracing his quirkiness. Dodds understands how his manner is construed, but he’s gained enough confidence in the field to speak up and offer his insights. He also shows an interest in MacDonald’s life away from the job asking about her boyfriend inviting them to join his Les Quizzerables team. They are more than colleagues now which makes for an endearing relationship…but why only three episodes? It’ll be a whole year before we get the next series…that’s a disappointment. Earns 5+/5 Orders of Chips!
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