‘Sherwood’ Review: The Struggle of Finding the Truth in a Small Town

Mysteries attract us in ways that are just even more mysterious. The human mind just has the need to find out the truth. Curiosity is a fine example, of that. When you know you can reveal something for what it is, then you just go for it. Storytellers have taken advantage of this necessity for truth, and the result has been the creation of the mystery genre. Stories that let you find clues, ask questions and then piece everything together in one final resolution. Sherwood is the latest crime murder mystery from BBC Studios that will allow you to do just that. Let’s review it.

Sherwood is a BBC Studios production, created and written by James Graham. Graham is a veteran playwright and has also recently collaborated on television with shows like The Crown. The series stars David Morrisey, Lesley Manville, Robert Glenister and Kevin Doyle. The six-episode series follows DCS Ian St. Clair as he tries to solve the murder of a prominent figure in the mining village of Nottinghamshire. However, he will quickly realize that finding the truth in the small village could be more difficult than he ever expected.

Sherwood isn’t particularly revolutionary. The story is following a very common set of steps to achieve the expected level of mystery that can draw people to see the show episode after episode. The hook of the story and the thing that might make it seem unique in contrast with the rest of the crime murder shows out there is the setting. The fact that the story occurs inside a mining town ends up being quite important, and the state of the town, its history, and its future permeate the entirety of the character interactions on the show.

We have seen it before, a mining town that was once prosperous and now has fallen into darker times. Unions of workers are trying to get the best deal out of the hands of the greedy owners of the mine. There is nothing new here, and the subjects don’t particularly go in a new direction, and yet, it would be disingenuous to say that Sherwood isn’t gripping. The elements themselves might be familiar, but combined they create something that is quite entertaining and fascinating as we get ourselves deeper and deeper into the daily life of the village.

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Once the dust has settled and the series begins to throw revelation after revelation, it becomes clear that, while expected, Graham and his team of filmmakers have created a very solid and intriguing mystery. One that will keep people interested throughout its entire run. Thankfully, Sherwood knows not to overextend its story, and with just six episodes, the series can be seen in one sitting on a lazy Sunday. Or you could even see one episode a day and give the mystery one full week to simmer.

One of the strongest elements of the show is acting, and Sherwood throws at us a mix of veterans and new, talented actors that make the entire affair feel important and meaningful. There are, of course, the two heavy hitters of the show in terms of acting; both of them just kill it. Of course, we are talking about David Morrisey as the main actor in the piece. Morrisey has leading man qualities all over. People in the States might know him better as the Governor in The Walking Dead, but Morrisey has a very eclectic resume, and his role in Sherwood just adds to it.

The other heavy hitter is Oscar Nominee, Lesley Manville. The actress has always had a fascinating look and demeanor on and off the screen, and here she just wrecks you in a role that feels both poignant and serene for some reason. Not many performers can balance that act, especially when dealing with events such as the ones depicted in the show. However, Manville has done it before, and she will keep doing it for as long as her career lasts. It is always a pleasure to watch her on screen.

Visually, the series is quite solid as well. Each episode is very well directed and very quickly, the audience will find themselves familiar with the geography of the village. There is also a lot of atmosphere. The camera moves and frames things in such a way that you can feel the tension in the air, which is great because the visual language should always support what is happening on a textual level. Sherwood might not have big action sequences or amazing displays of visual effects, but it is very well-made as a piece of film.

Sherwood is a classical British murder mystery that is filled with great performances and a great little mystery that really speaks to the situation of many villages and communities around the United Kingdom. The series is very short in comparison with other shows, so you get a great story for very little commitment on a time investment level. It might not be the finest mystery ever written, but it will keep you invested from beginning to end.

SCORE: 8/10

  • Nelson loves all things related to storytelling. He has spent most of his life studying narrative, applied across all mediums; film, TV, books, and video games. Mulholland Drive is his favorite film.