Time travel is a theme often explored in sci-fi books, movies and television shows.
Author Kurt Vonnegut famously explored the theme in his iconic 1969 anti-war novel Slaughterhouse-Five in which the main character Billy Pilgrim is able to travel through time.
In the recent Netflix series Bodies (2023) we follow detectives as they investigate a murder, each in a different period of time — 1890, 1941, 2023 and 2053.
We learn the victim in each case is the same man.
The eight-part series is based on the DC Vertigo graphic novel of the same name, written by Si Spencer and illustrated by Dean Ormston, Tula Lotay, Meghan Hetrick and Phil Winslade.
It’s been adapted to the small screen for Netflix by Paul Tomalin.
Tomalin is best known for No Offence (2015) and Torchwood (2006).
The story unfolds in 2023 with the discovery of the naked body of a dead man in London’s Longharvest Lane, in the Ripper’s old hunting ground — Whitechapel.
Detective Sergeant Shahara Hasan of London’s Metropolitan Police, stumbles across the body when she is assigned to help with crowd control during a right-wing demonstration.
The body is that of a naked man, who has been shot through the eye and has a strange tattoo on his wrist.
After a tip-off Detective Sergeant Charles Whiteman of the London police finds the same body, with the same gunshot wound in the same location during the Blitz in 1941 World War II London.
Whiteman does a bit of work on the side for a mysterious group that delivers his orders by phone.
The voice on the line is that of a woman who ends each call with the words, “Know you are loved.”
In 1890, another London policeman, Detective Inspector Alfred Hillinghead, is also called to Longharvest Lane where he finds the exact same body.
In a photo of the crime scene he discovers the reflection of a man in a window, holding what appears to be a walking stick.
Fast forward to 2053, where we are introduced to a fourth London cop, Detective Constable Iris Maplewood, who also finds the same body.
The big difference this time is that he is not yet dead.
Longharvest Lane is now a disused, abandoned and fenced off.
Maplewood ponders how the nan got there?
Bodies stars Kyle Soller as DI Alfred Hillinghead (1890), Jacob Fortune-Lloyd as DS Charles Whiteman (1941), Amaka Okafor as DS Shahara Hasan (2023, 2053), and Shira Haas as DC Iris Maplewood (2053).
Stephen Graham plays Sir Julian Harker /Commander Elias Mannix. You might remember him as the dim-witted Tommy in Guy Ritchie‘s Snatch (2000).
The Body/Gabriel Defoe is Tom Mothersdale.
Without giving too much away, it appears that England has suffered some sort of cataclysmic event, either natural or man-made and is no longer a democracy, but ruled by the Commander Elias Mannix.
You can catch Bodies on Netflix.
Tom Mothersdale as The Body (Gabriel Defoe)
Stephen Graham as Commander Elias Mannix (Sir Julian Harker)
Kyle Soller as DI Alfred Hillinghead
Amaka Okafor as DS Shahara Hasan
Shira Haas as DC Iris Maplewood
Gabriel Howell as Elias
Jacob Fortune-Lloyd as DS Charles Whiteman
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Final thoughts . . .
Time and the paradox of time. It takes a bit of getting your head around, but it’s worth the investment.