The Beast Must Die
Suffering from PTSD amid the recent death of his colleague in the line of duty, DI Strangeways (the always sublime Billy Howle), is sent from London to the Isle of Wight to replace DI Geraghty who has recently died. His first visitor at his new position is London-based teacher Francis (Cush Jumbo), who has just received a letter of no further action from Geraghty regarding the unsolved hit and run of her young son on the island three months prior. As Francis has now lost all faith in the police, she changes her surname, leaves her job and empties her savings to pose as a researching writer and finally find the person responsible for her son’s death.
A tip leads Francis to Lena (Mia Tomlinson), a twenty-something small-time model who is constantly avoiding calls from a man named George. When Francis accompanies Lena to visit her sister Vi (Maeve Dermody) on the Isle of Wight, she discovers that Vi is married to an outrageously wealthy and smug property developer, George (Jared Harris). Francis grows increasingly suspicious – and when Francis and Lena are invited to stay for the entire summer, Francis is confident she is on the right track to avenging her son.
There’s a strong plot with interesting characters here with even better casting. After the terrific BBC series The Serpent, Billy Howle has cemented himself as a television star in his own right. Joined by the always-terrific Harris and a starring lead from Jumbo, the acting is immensely strong. However it seems the writers got a little trigger-happy and went behind the confines of their setting. At the end of the day, this is meant to be set on an island off southern England – and yet the plot sometimes resembles a Latin telenovela or America’s Dynasty. Too much melodrama and intensity between characters breaks the show’s rhythm and throws the credibility of the story into question. The problem is that any ITV mystery now walks behind such gigantic shadows in the shape of Broadchurch and Unforgotten, standards are set so high and it is difficult not to compare.
A twisting and enthralling story with a modest setting but the plot pints are just too far-stretched. With that said, it is an entertaining distraction from this grey May and a strong reminder of the talents of its lead actors.
The Beast Must Die is released on Britbox on 27th May 2021.
Watch the trailer for The Beast Must Die here: