may technically be a British mystery series, but the quirky BBC show, set in Scotland, is more Local Hero
meets Northern Exposure
than Miss Marple, as series 2 shows. The residents of tiny Lochdubh, Scotland, are an eccentric bunch, and actor Robert Carlyle, for better or worse, is the town's sole lawman/sheriff. Carlyle is in prime deadpan form in the role of Hamish Macbeth, who presides over the crimes and just plain weird happenings of the burgh. The series, based on characters created by M.C. Beaton, doesn't always even seem to feature a mystery, until the final moments of an episode, as in "A Perfectly Simple Explanation." The episode features slightly manic members of a fundamentalist sect, the Church of the Stony Path, and Hamish comes under their fire-and-brimstone curses for living out of wedlock with his insecure girlfriend, Alex. Then there's the new age cult leader who conducts his conversations on a particularly sloshy waterbed. The oddball characters come and go, and somewhere, woven around their interactions, is a plot that becomes strangely satisfying by an episode's finale, but which is not at all the reason for watching. The steadfast but affectionate take on the residents' quirkiness is compulsively addictive, and Carlyle proves again what a talented, multifaceted actor he is. As the blustery minister shrieks at Macbeth about the sin and wantonness of his town, Carlyle never lets Macbeth show he's ruffled. "If the Lord thinks so much of you," he says, when the reverend pauses to catch his breath, "then why is He lettin' me dog wee on your leg?" Visit Lochdubh and you'll likely never want to leave. --A.T. Hurley
The complete second series of the popular British television drama, about a police constable sent to the small Scottish town of Lochdubh. In 'A Perfectly Simple Explanation', Hamish is confronted with a religious sect who claim he represents the devil. 'In Search of a Rose' sees Hamish investigating the disappearance of a local diver. In 'Isobel Pulls It Off', Hamish is jealous when local journalist Isobel (Shirley Henderson) acquires a new boyfriend. In 'Radio Lochdubh', Hamish is content to let a local pirate radio station continue broadcasting, but when the radio authority sends a detector van, he finds himself with conflicting loyalties. In 'No Man Is An Island', Hamish leaves the town after suffering a personal crisis, but Lochdubh is less than impressed with his zealous replacement. Finally, in 'The Lochdubh Deluxe', Hamish is involved in a bizarre case of body snatching, with the added possibility that the grave robbers might not be from this planet.