Review: The Beast Must Die

Cush Jumbo in The Beast Must Die

The Beast Must Die, a mystery from the UK, is a slow-moving psychological drama. It’s about grief and loss and coming to terms with that. It was on AMC+ and is now on Acorn TV.

The Beast Must Die stars Cush Jumbo as Frances. Frances lost her 6 year old son to a hit-and-run driver while they were vacationing on the Isle of Wight.

Cush Jumbo is the best thing about this series. She has such command of her emotions and expressions that she can smile at her prey in one breath, and a breath later her face is filled with anger, disgust, and pain.

The actors saved this drama from itself. It was far too slow. Four episodes would have been better than six. The plot twists were predictable and never surprising. The ending was not strong.

Billy Howle in The Beast Must Die

Frances shows up at the police station to ask why no one has been caught in the hit and run on the same day that the new D.I. Strangeways (Billy Howle) takes over running the department.

Strangeways is a mess. He’s leaving a job behind where his partner was shot and is still in therapy for the panic attacks he suffers because of it. He blows Frances off after a quick look at the files and tells her there isn’t any evidence.

Cush Jumbo in The Beast Must Die

Frances doesn’t like that answer. She decides to find and murder whoever killed her son. She quits her teaching job and moves. She scours the island, questioning everyone who might know anything. One man tells her about a loud argument between and a man and a woman he heard on the day of the hit-and-run.

Mia Tomlinson in The Beast Must Die

Frances finds the woman who was half that argument. She is Lena (Mia Tomlinson). Frances inserts herself into Lena’s life. Soon she gets Lena to introduce her to the rest of the family. That’s important, because Frances believes Lena’s brother-in-law is the killer.

The brother-in-law, George Rattery (Jared Harris), is a rich and powerful man who never has to face the consequences of his actions. Except now Frances is after him, acting undercover. She manages to move in with the family while plotting how to kill George.

The Rattery family includes George, Lena, George’s wife Vi (Maeve Dermody), their teen aged son Phil (Barney Sayburn) and George’s mean-spirited sister Joy (Geraldine James). Each person in this family has some sort of problem that gets explored. They all hate each other.

Meanwhile D.I. Strangeways grows interested in investigating the case and realizes that it wasn’t properly investigated by his predecessor.

Eventually it becomes a race to see whether Frances can kill the murderer before D.I. Strangeways can arrest him. During their race for means and opportunity, Strangeways is collecting evidence that does, indeed, point to George.

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