Lockwood & Co, a ghostly sci-fi thriller

Cameron Chapman, Ali Hadji-Heshmati, and Ruby Stokes in Lockwood & Co

Lockwood & Co is sci-fi based on novels by Jonathan Stroud. It’s set in a future world where ghosts can kill you and only young people have the needed “talent” to find and destroy the ghosts.

Here’s the world created in Lockwood & Co. In 1980 The Problem began. Ghosts came out at night (daylight was safe) and killed people. Over a million deaths and 50 years have passed. Technology is stuck in 1980, however.

Only young people can sense the ghosts and destroy or contain them. Their tools are iron, silver, and salt. Sensitive young people with the talent to see or hear ghosts are recruited and trained as agents in the fight against The Problem.

Lucy Stokes in Lockwood & Co

Lucy (Ruby Stokes) began training at age 13. She’s a listener. She can hear the spirits. When things go wrong with her in her small town, she runs off to London. She thinks she’ll be hired by famous ghost killer Penelope Fittes (Morven Christie). Nope. Because she didn’t complete all her training, she finds herself alone in the city, jobless, with no where to go.

Lucy follows a newspaper ad to Lockwood & Co to try for a job with them. It’s two young men, Lockwood (Cameron Chapman) and George (Ali Hadji-Heshmati). They live in Lockwood’s home and are trying to establish themselves as agents competing against the much bigger group of Fittes agents.

Cameron Chapman and Ruby Stokes in Lockwood & Co
Lockwood and Lucy

They hire her, give her a bedroom in the attic, and warn her never to open the locked door off the second floor landing.

Let the ghost hunting begin.

In addition to finding and destroying malevolent ghosts and spirits, Lucy’s extraordinary skills as a listener put her in communication with the spirits. That leads to her wanting to solve various crimes, so a mystery solving element is added to the storyline. Lucy finds killers, uncovers horrible characters, and sometimes carries around a chatty disembodied spirit head in her backpack as the team goes about doing their work.

Every job they take on is potentially a death sentence. If they don’t act fast with their iron rapiers, their iron chains, or their salt bombs, they will die like so many others. Every new job is fraught with danger and the three of them argue constantly about the best way to deal with that danger.

The police have evolved into a group interested in destroying ghosts, too. Inspector Barnes (Ivanno Jeremiah) has learned to trust Fittes agents, and regards Lockwood & Co as a bunch of lamebrains sure to get themselves killed. Except they keep doing the job and outperforming the Fittes agents.

A major subplot is the buying and trading of relics associated with ghosts or containing ghostly spirits. The relic hunter Lockwood involves in their adventures is Flo Bones (Hayley Konadu). I grew quite fond of Flo and her independent spirit.

Everything was shot with a sepia overtone, creating that dystopian vibe a series like this needs. The sets and special effects were good, and the actors did very well. It made heroes of the young people and offered plenty of action and excitement.

I know the creators of the series are hoping for a second season. There are more stories in the books than could be told in the just 8 episodes of the series. The season ended with a great cliffhanger to encourage the idea of a second season, but I haven’t heard of it being approved as of this time.

The series is on Netflix. Catherine Morshead directed 3 of the 8 episodes.

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