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‘Ragdoll’ on AMC+ is a dark killer hunt that’s also funny

NEW YORK , -- New York detectives on the crime drama "Ragdoll," stumble upon a disturbing scene in the premiere episode. A serial killer has reassembled the bodies of six victims to create one hideous body.

They vow to find this man and bring him to justice. They want to be able to officially name the macabre sewer of corpses.

"Loco Chanel?" one detective offers.

Another option is "Tommy Killfiger?"

"Michael Korpse?" refers to a third.

"Ragdoll is one of the most interesting TV shows this fall. It mixes the horrifying with wickedly dark humor, workplace politics, and other sanitizing elements. This streaming series is from the executive producers behind "Killing Eve" and debuts on Thursday at AMC+

Lucy Hale, who was previously seen in "Pretty Little Liars," fell in love with "Ragdoll" because of her "genre blending."

"Sometimes you feel like, "Well, how is this going to work?" It just works. She says that this is what stood out for her.

Three actors are featured in the series: Henry Lloyd-Hughes portrays Detective Nathan Rose, an English police officer who is recovering from PTSD triggered by another case; Thalissa Tixeira plays his boss and romantic interest; Hale portrays an American detective assigned for the hunt.

Lloyd-Hughes calls them an "uneasy triangle of detectives." His character and Teixeira's have had their mentor-mentee positions switched while he recovered and there's lingering attraction, "a kind of can't-live-with-each-other, can't-live-without-each-other-kind of co-dependency." Hale as an outsider is "probably the closest thing we have to the eyes of the audience," he says.

The Ragdoll Killer, as the serial killer is known, frustrates several detectives'egos and sends them a list with Rose's names among the six next victims.

This series, which is based in London, has all the elements that make up a police procedural: the kill list and the race against the clock, the autopsy clues and the serial killer one step ahead, but also the thorny personal relationships, workplace frustrations, and the race against the clock. The series also examines racism, sexism and mental health.

"The horror elements, or whatever you wish to call them, are breathtaking and it's an almost visual jump-scare fright fest. However, I think that if you removed all that stuff, you would still have a complex and rich drama." Lloyd-Hughes says.

"You could disintegrate the six bodies that were entangled into one and the serial murderer, and I truly believe you would still be interested in how these characters communicate with each other."

It starts two years after the killer, who Lloyd-Hughes had been tracking, was released on a technicality. This triggered a violent altercation which led to the detective being sent to a mental institution. A connection to an old case complicates the Ragdoll investigation.

Freddy Syborn adapts the series from Daniel Cole's British novel of the same title. It is full of wit and crackles. Teixeira's detective approaches Ragdoll's murder scene and asks her how terrible it is. An officer replies drily, "Gonna make podcast out of that one."

Hale appreciates humor and says that without it, this can be too dark. "That's how we humans get through life. We have to be lighthearted. How would we survive if that were not the case? It would be too difficult to live a normal life.

The Ragdoll Killer's name is a result of a police technician who asked to use the projector in a meeting. He then blurts out his catchy suggestion and a senior officer agrees.

"You're kidding me? Rose complains that IT gets to name our grisly discoveries.

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