We’ve seen it time and time again in the storylines of many other movies and shows. A person living in a town with some sort of career as a criminal investigator suffers an unexpected tragedy. Because of this, said person picks up everything and moves away from the city and into a small obscure town to escape their tragedy and memories only to find themselves inevitably drawn into another investigation. It’s a cookie-cutter setup for many crime thrillers.


The Chemistry of Deaththe new crime thriller streaming on Paramount+ takes that tried-and-true plot foundation and tries to stand out from the crowd of other similar shows with its storyline, gritty, relatable characters, and enough twists and turns to captivate audiences and keep they come back for more every week.

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The Chemistry of Death: The Plot

This new show is based on the critically acclaimed book The Chemistry of Death by Simon Beckett, a British detective novelist. Although he wrote other books in the series following protagonist David Hunter, the show only focuses on the book it shares its name with.

In the first episode, we meet Dr. David Hunter, a once renowned forensic anthropologist who worked as a consultant for the police. After a tragedy takes away his family, David decides to leave everything behind and flee to the small town of Manham. He takes up the position of general practitioner in the village and assumes that he will be able to lead a more peaceful life.

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However, things quickly take an unexpected turn for the doctor when two young boys, brothers Neil and Sam Yates, discover the mutilated remains of a woman’s body in the woods. David’s previous career being what it was, he soon finds himself reluctantly entangled in the investigation. As he tries to focus on the investigation at hand, he also battles his own inner demons through flashbacks.

He is simultaneously trying to settle into his new life while helping the police investigate the murder, when he comes into contact with other people in the village who fulfill certain stereotypical small town roles. It has the town’s former GP, who acts as a kind of mentor for David on how to adjust to small town life, while giving other people a bit of history and warnings if necessary. Henry specifically warns David to be careful of Gary Yates, Neil and Sam’s father, who is known to have a very hot temper and is presumably violent towards his wife, Linda. David also meets one of the local teachers, Jenny, when she asks him for help with the two boys who found the body.

Things speed up as another woman goes missing and suspicions rise among the population. It then becomes a race against time as David must solve the murder and catch the killer before someone else becomes a victim.

The Chemistry of Death: The Cast

Harry Treadway and Jeanne Goursaud
Photos of Cuba and Nadcon

The cast of this new show might not be as starry as some we see on other streaming platforms, but there are definitely some notable actors filling those roles. The main character and protagonist of the series, David Hunter, is played by Harry Treadaway (dreadful penny and Mr Mercedes). Jeanne Goursaud who played in other series like Barbarians (2020) and Para – We are kings fills the role of the small town teacher, Jenny Krause, who asks David to help her with the boys who had discovered the corpse in the woods. The small town’s former GP, Henry Maitland, is played by actor Lucian Msamati (Its dark materials and See how they work). Each small town crime story is accompanied by a young investigative reporter determined to uncover the truth. Maggie Cassidy is the reporter for this story and is played by actress Katie Leung best known for her role as Cho Chang in the Harry Potter series.

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This series also stars Amy Nuttall (Downton Abbey), Nick Blood (Agents of SHIELD), Amy Manson (Nevers and spencer), Neve McIntosh (Doctor Who), and David Hayman (The boy in the striped pajamas).

Release date and everything we know

Samuel Anderson, Harry Treadaway, Jefferson Hall and Jeanne Goursaud
Photos of Cuba and Nadcon

The director of this series is Richard Clark who has also directed episodes in other popular series such as War of the Worlds (2019), Versailles (2015), and Foreigner (2014). Produced by Matt Carver (Lowering and The social network) and executive produced by none other than the book’s own author, Simon Beckett, hopefully this show can stay as true to the original story as possible.

If you’re a fictional crime thriller fan and this piqued your interest, you’re in luck. The first episode of The Chemistry of Death premiered on Paramount+ on January 12 in the US and January 19 in the UK. Although there is no official confirmation for the following seasons yet, the total six episodes of the first season will be released weekly on the streaming platform.

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