We speak to the US star about Alibi’s new series and the importance of comedy when it comes to crime
By Laura Rutkowski, Senior Staff Writer
The Ragdoll at the centre of Alibi’s new series Ragdoll is comprised of six different people’s dismembered bodies sewn into one. A grim idea, absolutely, but despite the thriller’s turn towards the ghastly and horrifying, it’s actually the show’s use of humour that (pardon the pun) stitches it all together.
It’s a trick Killing Eve has perfected across its three critically acclaimed series (with a fourth and final one coming soon), so it’s perhaps no surprise Ragdoll comes from the same production company. Based on Daniel Cole’s book of the same name, it’s also written by Freddy Syborn, who penned an episode of Killing Eve in series 2.
Case in point: when the detectives at the heart of the show see the thing for the first time, DS Ralph Finlay (Michael Smiley, The Lobster) deadpans to his colleagues: “They’re gonna make a podcast about this one.” The jokes are a coping mechanism for the characters, but one clearly needed in the context.
Pretty Little Liars star Lucy Hale plays DC Lake Edmunds, but while most actors get engrossed in the source material, Hale admits to us that she never ended up reading it. “The producers said, “You might not get anything from it, because your character is actually a dude in the book.”” That’s the main difference for this Alibi adaptation – and she’s an American, feminist, openly gay, vegan, wet behind the ears cop, which makes things all the more interesting.
“Oh yeah, they drive on the other side of the road here,” Lucy Hale (who plays DC Lake Edmunds) remembers
Hale’s Edmunds is joined on the case by DI Emily Baxter (Thalissa Teixeira, Trigonometry) and DS Nathan Rose (Henry Lloyd-Hughes, Killing Eve), a character still suffering with PTSD from a previous serial killer investigation.
It becomes very apparent the Ragdoll Killer case is bringing all those feelings back to the fore, and it’s Hale’s character who questions whether this guy is up to the job – especially when a kill list, naming six more future victims, is sent to the detectives. Edmunds also receives her own dark backstory that shatters her perky outward veneer as the series continues.
DS Nathan Rose (Henry Lloyd-Hughes) is the definition of a maverick detective
Although Hale had visited London before, this was her first time filming a UK series. In the first episode of Ragdoll, Baxter says to Edmunds, “You’ve got to work on your chat.” As the only American actor in the show, Hale also had to contend with the British banter, just like her character. “I thought it was gonna be fine, we speak the same language, but there really are so many more cultural differences and references than I had thought.”
Were there any lost in translation moments on set? “All the time,” Hale says. She mentions her first fitting for the show, where she asked, “Can you hand me those pants?” and she was quickly told that in the UK pants are underwear and trousers are pants. She lists off a few others she had to get to grips with, including vests instead of tank tops, a jumper not a sweater, and that sneakers are called trainers.
Baxter (Thalissa Teixeira) is a good leader, but she has one weakness: Rose, who used to be her superior until he took time off for his mental health
“I did my best to keep up. Thalissa and Henry were so awesome. If I didn’t understand a saying or a word, they quickly took me under their wing and explained it to me.
“On one of the first days of filming, we were at this old prison [abandoned wing of HM Prison Holloway]. It was very depressing and everyone kept calling it bleak and grim and I thought that was so funny. Those just seemed like very British words, but I’ve definitely brought those into my vocabulary. And it’s much more fun to describe something as brilliant and lovely. Those are two words they [Brits] use all the time too.”
Ragdoll could be described similarly – Syborn sees it as a mash-up between The Silence Of The Lambs (bleak and grim) and When Harry Met Sally (brilliant and lovely).
Two’s company, three’s a crowd…
During the course of filming, it also sounds like Hale not only learned to nail the terminology, but also the bants. “I’ve decided I find British humour funnier, because it’s very dry and to the point,” she says. “British people don’t overexplain their humour, whereas I feel like sometimes here [in the US], I’ll have to say it’s a joke, like, “It’s funny, right?”
“I feel like I found my footing… by the time I had to leave.”
When is Alibi’s Ragdoll on TV?
Ragdoll airs on Alibi/HD (CH 126) on Mondays and Tuesdays at 9pm, with the first episode screening on December 6th. It is also available for 30 days in Catch Up > Channels > Alibi.
The six-part series will subsequently air every week until Tuesday 21st December.
TV channels: Channels, content and features available depend on your chosen package. Channel line-ups and content are subject to change at any time and to regional variations.
HD: HD TV set, V HD Box, TiVo box, Virgin TV V6 box or Virgin TV 360 box connected with HDMI cables required for HD channels. Number of inclusive HD channels depends on package.
Catch Up TV: Catch Up TV content available for up to 7 days or up to 30 days after broadcast, depending on content.
Interviews: Any opinions expressed in interviews are those of the interview subject and not those of Virgin Media.
Image credit: Ragdoll ©2021 AMC Film Holdings LLC. All Rights Reserved.