Roush Review: A Dark British Mystery Unfolds in 'Deadwater Fell'

Matt Roush
Deadwater Fell
Review ACORN

When death comes to the lush Scottish region aptly named Deadwater Fell, it's not kidding. And neither is Deadwater Fell, a taut four-part mystery streaming weekly on Acorn TV, hitting a new benchmark in emotional suspense as it depicts a community reeling from an unthinkable, inexplicable tragedy.

Echoes of the brilliant Broadchurch would be unmistakable even without the cunning casting of that series' star, David Tennant, who's compellingly inscrutable as the town's affable doctor, Tom Kendrick. He's the sole survivor of a terrible house fire that claims his schoolteacher wife (Anna Madeley) and their three adorable daughters.

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The ashes are still smoldering when clues suggest foul play, possibly implicating the unstable mother or even the grieving dad. Flashbacks slowly reveal the cracks in what seemed on the surface a happy marriage, but even so, how could it have led to such a horrific result?

As anyone who's familiar with this sinister genre might expect, the Kendricks aren't the only ones harboring sordid and dark secrets. That list includes the couple's best friends: local police sergeant Steve Campbell (Matthew McNulty, excellent), acting out in frustration over missing possible signs of trouble; and his companion, Jess Milner (Cush Jumbo), who was Kate's co-worker and disbelieves more than most that Kate could be responsible for such a dire act.

Deadwater Fell

Courtesy of Acorn TV

Best known for The Good Wife and its spinoff The Good Fight, Jumbo brings her edge of prickly intelligence to this complex character, stewing in sorrow, anger and guilt as she digs for an unpleasant, shocking truth. The more layers are peeled back, the more unsettling Deadwater Fell becomes.

Deadwater Fell, Series Premiere, Monday, April 6, Acorn TV