McDonald & Dodds Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Pros: Contrasting two completely different characters; intricate detective stories; game by Jason Watkins; unusual atmosphere of the city of Bath Cons: There are only two episodes in the season, which, moreover, are a little similar to McDonald & Dodds / “McDonald and Dodds”

Genre detective
Creators: Laura Scrivano, Richard Senior
Starring Jason Watkins (Detective Sergeant Dodds), Tala Gouveia (Detective Chief Inspector Lauren McDonald), James Murray (Chief Superintendent John Houseman), Robert Lindsay (Mack Crockett), etc.
ITV channel
Year of release 2020–
Episode 2
Site IMDb

Detective Chief Inspector Lauren McDonald is an ambitious young woman. She is assertive, makes quick decisions, uses all available modern forensic technologies and tries to work with maximum efficiency. She has been involved with South London gangs for a long time and, if necessary, can put pressure on suspects.

Detective Sergeant Dodds is her complete opposite. He is 55 years old and they have been trying to force him into early retirement for many years now. For the last 11 years he has only done paperwork. He is slow, indecisive, absent-minded and armed only with an old, battered notebook and pencil. He doesn’t understand modern technology, doesn’t know anything about Uber or Spotify, and often can’t find his own glasses. But Sergeant Dodds knows how to notice what other police officers do not pay attention to, he has encyclopedic knowledge and an ideal memory, and also… he knows how to work with paper documents in the library!


The authorities brought these two very different police officers together with one goal – so that the energetic McDonald would completely exhaust Dodds and force him to retire. But suddenly it turned out that together they make up a very strange, but extremely effective couple, unraveling the most sophisticated crimes.

The events of the miniseries McDonald & Dodds take place in a city that, if it appears on movie screens, is only in historical dramas based on the novels of Jane Austen. This is Bath, a resort in Somerset, well known since the days of Roman rule in Britain, a city named after the Roman baths and entirely listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I don’t know whether the Bath authorities had a hand in choosing the filming location, but the city here is another character in the film, and quite an important one at that. For Lauren McDonald, who came from London, this is the province in which she will work for a couple of years before promotion; for Sergeant Dodds, it is her homeland, the history of which he is proud of.


As has been the custom in English detective stories since the days of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, there are no simple crimes in McDonald & Dodds. All murders (and these are murders, did you really doubt it?) are extremely sophisticated crimes in which the attacker is trying to frame someone else and/or confuse his tracks by interfering with the investigation. Again, as is customary in English detective stories, all the suspects are known from the very beginning and the brave police can only find out who committed this or that murder. In a word, the McDonald & Dodds detective stories are generally quite good, although, unfortunately, the rule “suspect the most inconspicuous” applies here. In addition, both existing episodes of the series, The Fall of the House of Crockett and Wilderness of Mirrors, are a bit similar to each other. In both cases, suspects are trying to influence the police by sending them on a false trail.


However, the main charm of McDonald & Dodds is not even the detective stories and the unusual atmosphere of the slightly provincial Bath. The main thing here is the opposition of heroes. Their approaches, habits, preferences. Plus a very obvious generational conflict. And here we must pay tribute to actor Jason Watkins, who plays Sergeant Dodds. His absent-minded, almost retired detective turned out to be incredibly charming and somewhat similar to another detective, well known to several generations of viewers… Lieutenant Columbo, played by the invariable Peter Falk.


By and large, McDonald & Dodds has only one drawback, but it’s a serious one. In the first season there are only two episodes of one and a half hours each. And knowing the British habit of filming seasons every two or three years, it is unlikely that we will see a continuation in the near future.


A series for those who love classic British detective stories

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