Marcella season 3: Anna Friel’s character is “dead”, and the Scandi noir feels very different as a result

Marcella season 3: Anna Friel’s character is “dead”, and the Scandi noir feels very different as a result

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Will you be watching Marcella when it returns to our screens in 2021? Here’s what you need to know about the much-anticipated third season of the Emmy award-winning TV show… 

It feels as if we’ve been waiting for Marcella season three for what feels like forever, doesn’t it? But, fortunately, the wait is almost over.

Starring Anna Friel as DS Marcella Backland, the critically-acclaimed ITV drama (directed and produced by Swedish screenwriter Hans Rosenfeldt) is basically a British version of a Scandi noir – boasting gruesome murders, dark lighting, and covetable knitwear galore. 

And the new series is due to pick up after the shocking events of the second season finale – aka the very same episode which saw the troubled detective declared dead.

As such, this new season is going to be… well, it’s going to look and feel very different to those that came before.

What is the plot of Marcella: Season 3?

The third season of Marcella will see Friel’s character going deep undercover in Belfast, in a bid to infiltrate the infamous Maguire crime family.

Now going by the name ‘Keira’, Backland sports a bright blonde bob and a new wardrobe. She doesn’t just look different, though: surrounded by dangerous individuals, Marcella has been forced to adopt a new personality, too.

And, as someone who suffers from violent blackouts as a result of her dissociative identity disorder, this feels like a recipe for disaster.

“As she investigates their activities, questions come to the fore about how much she’s embraced the Keira personality and left Marcella behind,” teases the official ITV synopsis.

“In true Marcella style, the series has interweaving storylines with strands focusing upon the Maguires’ criminal operations. As she inhabits the character of Keira, Marcella’s quest for the truth puts her in danger and others in harm’s way. 

“Her undercover role makes her take risks, but will her old life eventually catch up with her?”

Is there a trailer for Marcella: Season 3?

Netflix released a trailer for the third season of Marcella earlier this year, and the TV series looks every bit as dark and twisted as we remember it.

Check it out:

Remind us: what happened at the end of Marcella’s second season?

If you haven’t caught up with the season two finale of Marcella, look away now, as spoilers are imminent (insofar as a two-year-old episode can be spoiled).

When Marcella realised (via hypnotherapy) that she was responsible for the death of her baby daughter, Juliette,  she handed over full custody of her surviving children to ex-husband Jason (Nicholas Pinnock).

She then assaulted DI Rav Sangha (Ray Panthaki) with a toilet lid, tore up her own face using a pair of scissors, and cut off all her hair.

The episode then flicked us forwards in time by nine days, when a man approached a disheveled and homeless Marcella living on the streets (still in her famous green parka, of course).

“There was a fire nine days ago. I don’t know if you heard anything about it?” the strange man asked her.

“An abandoned house over in Welworth. Well, it was supposed to be abandoned. A number of homeless people, immigrants were squatting there. Three people died.

“The bodies were so badly burned, they had to use DNA to identify them. Couldn’t match two of them, but they were able to identify the third. Marcella Backland. DS Marcella Backland. 

“For some reason there’s been a mixup with the DNA. So now, you’re dead! The department I work for could use a dead police officer to go undercover. What do you say?”

Spoiler: as the events of season three make abundantly clear, she said yes.

Who stars in the cast of Marcella: Season 3?

Anna Friel, who won an International Emmy for her performance in the role, will return as Marcella/Keira.

As per the Radio Times, she’ll be joined by Hugo Speer (The Musketeers), who will once again portray Marcella’s undercover handler Frank Young.

Amanda Burton, Aaron McCusker, Kelly Gough, and Martin McCann, meanwhile, will make up the Maguire crime family.

It remains unclear whether or not any of the show’s original cast members will reprise their roles in this new season.

The Express, however, has reported that both DCI Laura Porter (Nina Sosanya) and DI Rav Sangha (Ray Panthaki) are expected to return. 

If this turns out to be true, the reunion is guaranteed to be awkward. Especially as Marcella attacked the latter and left him for dead in the season two finale…

What are people saying about Marcella: Season 3?

When the news was announced, Friel (who has been waxing lyrical about the series via her Twitter feed) said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be taking on the role of Marcella again and am very grateful to ITV and Netflix for giving me the chance to delve into her unsettled world once more. 

“Everyone has been so supportive of the show and I am loving being so widely welcomed by the great city of Belfast. I can’t wait for the viewers to see what this series has in store.”

How many episodes of Marcella: Season 3 will there be?

ITV has promised that the drama will be returning as a meaty eight-parter, so there will be plenty of new episodes to sink your teeth into.

Does Marcella: Season 3 have a UK release date yet?

Marcella is expected to be back on our screens (via Netflix and ITV) in early 2021.

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Images: ITV

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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