Some reviews claimed that it moved too slowly. If you need a fast pace, this one might not work for you. But it worked for me. The show kept me wondering, intrigued at the suspense of a well-built horror-mystery that evolved into something fairly different.
Of course, Sean Bean is fantastic in the lead. He plays a policeman named John Marlott (apparently a nod to his old role as Richard Sharpe). Marlott is grizzled, yet noble–sinful while seeking redemption. He has the standard crime drama trope of a tragic backstory, but it’s a realistic one for the period, making for reasonable and compelling storytelling.
The first season’s plot revolves around Marlott’s search for a barbaric child murderer. The culprit’s crude reassembly of mismatched parts of victims is what gives the show its name. Thankfully, this isn’t as grotesque as the show’s summary suggests.
Added to this is the authentic historical setting of London in the 1800s–grungy and disease-ridden, with surgery just emerging as a feared and misunderstood field of study. It’s no wonder this is the backdrop that inspired Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (the author herself even gets a moderate role in the show).
An incredible cast fills out the remaining characters. They work together splendidly, showing no seems in their on-screen relationships. Along with set and costume design, every detail joins perfectly to draw you into this world. It’s creepy and chilling and worth the watch.
5 out of 5 stars
P.S. Don’t expect much from season 2. Great acting, but the story loses some of its impact.