ITV announced today its renewal of crime thriller miniseries Grace for a second season, one day before the first season’s closing episode is set to premiere in North America.
Crime drama fans on this side of the pond might want to clear 90 minutes from tomorrow’s schedule, as Season 1 of Grace, a BritBox Original series, comes to a close with the North American premiere of “Looking Good Dead” — which is awesome.
It opens on a weekday morning that looks like any other in Brighton. A newsreader is taking radio listeners through the day’s local news headlines and weather forecast as folks like Zach and Sophie Bryce head off to work and take their children to school. For others, like a particular adulterer, the day begins with a meeting with his barrister and solicitor following his wife’s filing for a divorce.
Elsewhere in the city, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace (John Simm, Life on Mars, Doctor Who) and Detective Sergeant Glenn Branson (Richie Campbell, Small Axe, The Frankenstein Chronicles) are at a crime scene where a 49-year-old male has been found dead. His death looks more like the result of an overdose or sexual misadventure than murder — aspects of which remind Grace of another case in which a man was found dead a couple of weeks ago.
For Zach, the train ride to his namesake company’s office proves irritating, (no) thanks to the obnoxious, inconsiderate dude yakking loudly on his mobile in the seat next to him. Perhaps it is karma, then, that the guy inadvertently leaves behind a flash drive. After failing to get his attention, Zach takes the drive, ostensibly to return it on their next shared commute. Except he can’t, for a number reasons — all of them bad.
Soon thereafter, a woman is horrified when her dog brings her a human hand while on a walk in a large field in Sussex. It belonged to a young woman, presumably the same person whose dismembered remains, including torso stabbed dozens of times, have been found by the police. What makes this crime more bizarre is the item found inside the victim’s body.
With two people found dead in as many days, Grace and Branson need more people for the investigations. Enter veteran copper DS Norman Potting (Craig Parkinson, Line of Duty) and the team in Digital Forensics. Grace needs one more thing, a personal item from the female victim, and gets it — annoying Branson in the process. Branson knows Grace will bring it to Harry Frame (Adrian Rawlins, The White Princess), the medium Grace consulted on a handful of cases — acts that, when revealed, tarnished Grace’s credibility as a detective.
Grace’s reputation hasn’t recovered. According to ACC Alison Vosper (Rakie Ayola, Shetland), he should “start looking for somewhere new to lay [his] hat,” and clues him into a Detective Chief Superintendent spot that will be opening up. In Hampshire.
Meanwhile, Grace has discovered evidence that connects two cases and is desperate to find the sick serial killer before there is another victim, as Zach falls further down the dark, disturbing, and deadly rabbit hole he had never imagined entering…
“Looking Good Dead” is a riveting feature-length crime story — one filled with twists, turns, and red herrings, as well as proper scary and suspenseful moments that will leave you on the edge of your seat. The backstory of the crimes could be something ripped from the headlines, which makes the plot and various plot devices all the more disturbing and frightening.
Like “Dead Simple,” the first episode in the Grace series, “Looking Good Dead” is based on a book in Peter James’s best-selling series of “Roy Grace” novels, specifically the second title in the book series.
The “Looking Good Dead” episode costars Amit Shah (Crashing) as Zach Bryce and Christina Chong (Line of Duty) as Sophie Bryce, and features James Barriscale (WPC 56), Alex Price (Father Brown), and Darreb Tighe (Silent Witness). Returning cast members include Laura Elphinstone (Chernobyl) as DS Bella Moy, Brad Morrison (National Theatre Live: Twelfth Night) as DC Nick Nicholl, and Amaka Okafor (The Split) as DC Emma Jane “EJ” Boutwood.
(The second season of Grace will include three two-hour films — “Not Dead Enough,” “Dead Man’s Footsteps,” and “Dead Tomorrow” — based on the third, fourth, and fifth titles in Peter James’s “Roy Grace” novel series. Stay tuned for updates.)
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