There’s a killer on the loose, the kind that doesn’t just murder but is so twist and sick he turns six bodies into one. In AMC+’s new drama Ragdoll, behind the attractive streets and tourist destinations of London is a flat with its windows covered that sits in darkness. The smell od stench penetrations throughout the air as what one would think is a life-size doll hung from the ceiling. but if you look closer, water drips off its skin like a hot summer day and you realize it’s not just a human body but six bodies sewn together to make one. In its mouth a killer leaves behind a list next to his masterpiece, a kill list of six future targets.
Leaving the authorities to solve a half-dozen killings and stop six more, disgraced detective DS Rose has just been reinstated to the London police when he and his colleagues, newly promoted DI Baxter and young American ingenue, DC Edmunds must race against time with the killer creating ever more ingenious methods to murder their victims.
As part of the African-American Film Critics Association, The Koalition participated in the AMC+ roundtable with actors Henry Lloyd-Hughes (DS Nathan Rose), Thalissa Teixeira (DI Emily Baxter) and Lucy Hale (DC Lake Edmunds) to learn more about adapting a thriller, the differences portraying UK police officers, Lucy Hale’s first serious dramatic TV series, and more.
In the series, Lucy Hale plays Edmunds, an ambitious and highly intelligent American committed and equipped with a forthright language to articulate her boundaries. Wanting to change the world, she’s hungry to learn but she can also be reductive, proud and eager to judge. Wanting to make an impact in a male-dominated world, by preempting questions about her strength of character, grit and life experience.
“Funny [thing] about my character is she was a dude in the book so they made the decision to make her a female but I am very glad that they did. They knew they wanted an American on the show and I [purposely] didn’t read the book because they kind of told me there was no point. My character wasn’t heavily involved in the book but Edmunds in the show is from audience’s perspective a lot of the time. She really wants to succeed, she really wants to do the right thing but you can tell there’s something she’s running away from.”
[It] was so fun over the course of the show to like peel back the layers to [get to the answer as to] ‘why is she in the UK? Why did she choose this career path?’ All of those things were fun to play. [What] I love so much about Freddy’s writing is obviously the show is deeply disturbing and dark but [it’s] how the characters cope with everything through their humor and that was exciting.”
“I loved working with Thalissa and Henry and figuring out our dynamics. Edmunds was fun to play [and I] would love to continue to play her. Hopefully we can do a lot more of that. It was fun to get to create a character from the ground up; Freddy did everything there was when I read the script. I clearly understood who Edmunds was which was nice but because she wasn’t in the book, I could play around and make her my own, which was fun,” Lucy finished.
Readers of Daniel Cole’s novel have praised the author for his gruesome imagination. Not does the discovery of a dead body stitched together from six victims make a compelling start, but it also has a dark sense of humor and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Its characters drive the mystery and they’re flawed with their own personal issues. For Thalissa, this is what makes for great TV that could reach a broad range of viewers.
“We’re in a time, especially after the year this whole world has had of questioning humanity and what it is to suffer in different realms. I think we’ve all been pushed to [the] limits because of the pandemic. There’s so much in [the series] it feels more [like] psychological thriller in terms of the understanding of mental health and PTSD and how people function together. Yes, this is like an extreme because we’re talking about murder cases here but there are very minute interactions that feel very human in the sense of ‘Is someone well enough to work? Is Rose capable enough to do his job?’ Who needs who at what phase of their recovery?’
[Ragdoll tackles issues] from trauma and there’s something [when] watching the series post the year we’ve had, [There’s a combination of] editing, music and this amazing hyper-sense of reality of anxiety. You watch things in a different perspective [and] Ragdoll is not only a whodunit drama filled with action and humor but the humor comes from some sort of coping mechanism which we all understand from the year that we’ve had.”
“Freddy wrote these characters that are all really extremely flawed but yet [you] still like root for them, even if they’re not necessarily doing the moral thing. You still identify with them, you relate to them and Freddie really captured that in the characters,” Thalissa said.
“They’re effed up, they’re messed up, they do maybe questionable decisions but you still see yourself in them and you want them to succeed. The show is for people who want to be entertained obviously but the show also has strong messages about sexism, racism and mental health mental illness. It’s done really subtly [and] there are some moments that are bigger than others and that’s what really drew me to the script too.
It’s not just about ‘Who is this monster killing people?’ It’s about the police force and the foundational lies of the police force. It’s for the person with the wickedest sense of humor, the one who truly can cackle even in the darkest circumstances but [it’s also an] authentic and heartfelt psychological drama. [It’s a] weird combination and I don’t think I’ve seen a show or movie where you have proper jump scares and proper belly laughs. [It’s quite] a unique cocktail we’re serving up,” Henry said.
To learn more about Ragdoll, check out the full interview above and our Ragdoll coverage at the TCAs.