It’s just two episodes long, but you shouldn’t miss limited whodunnit cop series McDonald & Dodds.
In this two-parter’s movie-length episodes, two polar-opposite cops work together brilliantly against the odds to catch murderers and ensure justice is served. DCI Lauren McDonald (Tala Gouveia) is a young, ambitious, confident and no-nonsense investigator, whereas DS Dodds (Jason Watkins) is an old-school, timid detective with a sharp eye for the finer details. Together they make an unlikely pair, but their differences make them an exceptional crime-solving team.
Stepping on toes
The series kicks off with DCI McDonald arriving in the city of Bath after being transferred from London to accept a promotion and lead her own team. “She is very good at her job and doesn’t mind stepping on anyone’s toes,” says Tala about her fierce character.
In preparation for her role, Tala did thorough research and spoke to a detective who was a murder squad investigator. “She told me to be feisty in my portrayal of McDonald, and in fact, she was quite similar to the character of McDonald.” Tala adds that real detectives witness horrible things, yet they can talk about it like you would the weather. “Sometimes they have to close off bits in their brains as they constantly hear, see and work with horrors and have to work out why anyone would do these things,” explains Tala.
In comparison, DS Dodds – who probably has a first name but no one’s used it for decades – is more of a background figure who hardly ever pushes anyone’s buttons. “He doesn’t put himself forward as McDonald does,” says Jason. “People don’t see him as someone who would mark his own territory, and that is why he drifted into examining the cold cases that kept him behind a desk at the police station for the past 11 years.” But that all changes when McDonald arrives…
A perfect mismatch
Jason and Tala describe their characters as complete opposites but ultimately, it’s their differences that help them thrive. “McDonald bowls over everything in a rush to get things done, but looking at the bigger picture she doesn’t always take the time to notice small little details, whereas Dodds does notice those small things,” says Tala.
Even their methods of investigating differ. “McDonald is all about being fast and efficient and using technology to her advantage,” says Tala. “She uses her computer tablet to make notes at a crime scene, but Dodds uses a notepad. He has no idea how to use Google, and will rather go to a library instead to look something up – and that infuriates McDonald.”
But they benefit as they both grow while witnessing the other work, says Jason. “They might be mismatched but Dodds learn from McDonald that being assertive is not a bad thing, whereas Dodds urges her to take her foot off the gas pedal and think and see the clues more clearly.”
In time, McDonald reluctantly warms up to Dodds, and the forced teamwork turns into camaraderie. “She wants their professional partnership to work but doesn’t have time for friends or any warmth. Yet, I think the audience will find that you can’t help but fall in love with him,” says Tala.
The two crimes
It’s time to put on your detective hats and see whether you can solve the murder of a homeless man in the deserted mansion of one of Bath’s most prominent industrialists, the inventor Max Crockett (Robert Lindsay) in episode 1, and the death of a wealthy patient at Mara Retreat, a private rehabilitation clinic, in episode 2. McDonald and Dodds have their work cut out for them to catch the killers, but see if you can spot the clues first.
Watch McDonald & Dodds S1 on Mondays on BBC Brit (120) at 20:00 or watch it on Catch Up.
How to watch DStv online
Missed out? Sign up for DStv Now. It’s no extra cost for DStv subscribers! DStv Now, the same channels you watch on your decoder at home are available for you to stream online or using the DStv Now app on your phone.