Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt For The Bone Collector spoilers follow - including its ending.
If you've been watching Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt For The Bone Collector on Sky Witness over recent weeks, chances are that you've been looking forward to the finale, which aired last night.
However, if episode ten (named 'Mano A Mano') left you drooling at the prospect of everything that could happen in the next season, don't get your hopes up too high. It's recently been announced that the show – which originally aired on NBC over in the United States – won't be returning for a second series despite initial speculation that it would, meaning that all cliffhangers will be left frustratingly suspended in mid-air.
The show, which sees Russell Hornsby play the eponymous Lincoln Rhyme, is based on the 1997 best-selling novel by Jeffrey Deaver. In 1999, the book got the Hollywood treatment and was turned into a movie, starring Denzel Washington as Rhyme (and Angelina Jolie as his colleague, Amelia) to mixed reviews.
Detailing the collaboration between paraplegic detective Rhyme and the rookie – yet innately gifted – cop Amelia Sachs (played by Arielle Kebbel) as they work together to take down the grisly serial killer nicknamed the Bone Collector, the series combines classic cat-and-mouse tension with an impressive slickness and a thoroughly 21st century twist.
The closing scenes of the show saw Lincoln and his team rescue his family and finally catch the deranged killer – with the flickering possibility of Lincoln's ex-wife and son moving back to New York to be with him. It also saw the police department raise a toast to fallen detective, Eric Castillo, moments before they received a mystery phone call alerting them to head outside to discover another murder.
But of course: whilst the series finale left viewers on the edge of their sets, we'll now never know what happens next. And here are just a few reasons why that sucks.
We don't see many Lincoln Rhymes on screen
Lincoln Rhyme is a Black man, and is also severely disabled following an accident several years earlier. This is a level of representation that we very rarely see on screen, let alone on primetime television (though Hornsby is not himself paraplegic). It's also a fresh take on the sometimes-tired cop genre that we've been so exposed to over the years.
We realise quickly how valuable he is to the NYPD: this is a detective around whom his team have built an incident room, just so as to get his insights and involvement in the case. The inspirational leadership qualities that Lincoln can exude become apparent very quickly, as do his brilliant analytical mind and intense bravery.
Via flashbacks, we're able to see what Lincoln's life was like prior to his accident, affording us glimpses into exactly how much he lost due to the fall that was masterminded by Peter Taylor (AKA the self-styled Bone Collector).
We might be unable to imagine the frustration and heartbreak that the stoic cop has gone through in order to reach the point where he is today. This is largely due to the fact that he betrays very little in the way of emotion – yet when he does (such as when he tells son Camden that he loves him), we feel we've earned the privilege to see it.
Lincoln is growly, grumpy and grizzly. He snaps, he deadpans and he has little patience for fuss. He doesn't always say the right thing and as such, doesn't always know the right thing to say – but for all of it, we are safe in our belief that he's a good man.
Much like all of our favourite small-screen detectives – Sherlock, Luther and so on – he's also got a brilliant mind. We know from early-on flashbacks that he was instructed to absorb every detail of New York City if he wanted to emulate the brilliance of the (admittedly fictional) Holmes – and so, he does it.
As such, we see nods towards Benedict Cumberbatch's sleuth, with Rhyme's thought processes visually depicted on-screen to allow us to keep up with the fierce speed of his mind as he improbably deduces the link between the three clues that the killer leaves at every crime scene.
(One such example is when he ponderously realises that 'goat skin leather… adrenaline… Greenwich Village…' can only mean that the next victim will be found at an old boxing gym he frequented in his youth. But of course.)
The show has just found its stride
Arguably a tad clunky to begin with, the show had warmed up and was just beginning to flex its muscles in time for the announcement that it wouldn't be returning.
Turning a storyline that first originated on the pages of a book, then transformed onto the big screen, into a ten-part television series was never going to be the easiest of tasks – but creators and executive producers Mark Bianculli and VJ Boyd managed it.
Viewing in the US was modest but consistent – after a 4.37million debut, the figures hovered around the mid-threes, suggesting an audience who were coming back each week to find out what happened next.
It could be argued that the show sometimes veers into box-ticking when it comes to adhering to the old-school cat and mouse genre of detective dramas: as the Bone Collector, Taylor is the archetypal undervalued former colleague who discovered that the one way he could make Lincoln notice him was by committing horrendous crimes.
Equally, there's almost a predictable quality to some – not all – of the plot points. As Taylor increasingly loses his grip on reality, he begins to toy with not just Rhyme but also Amelia. He also kidnaps their colleague, Sellitto. He even ends up killing his own wife and removing the bone from her wedding finger as some kind of grisly token before setting up her corpse for the police to find, complete with eerie record playing in the background.
We won't even bother questioning the logistics of Amelia's meteoric progression from on-the-beat officer to detective; equally, details about the technology that Lincoln and the team use to stay connected ("it’s like a high-tech Bat cave!" his son marvels) shouldn't be investigated too deeply, for fear of spoiling the fun.
Clichés aside, the show also offers a range of characters that you genuinely feel invested in – when Amelia, furious with herself, weeps at the memory of her murdered parents, you feel her pain. Equally, when Lincoln sends his ex-wife and son to a safehouse in order to protect them from Taylor, you can see the agony in his eyes. Both Hornbsy and Kebbel do fantastic jobs of bringing their characters to life; we feel their pain and we share in their achievements.
The positive mentor-mentee relationship
There's no glimmer of sexual tension here, no potential for a snooze-fest romance to form from the chaos of tracking the Bone Collector. Rather, Amelia assume the role of Lincoln's on-the-beat agent as they work together to stop the killer, with Lincoln able to see exactly what Amelia is seeing at any given moment due to some very smart tech.
She is, thanks so some clever technology, quite literally his eyes, ears and legs, with the two working in unlikely tandem to crack the various cases they come up against.
There are loggerhead moments – hot-headed Amelia doesn't always listen to or agree with his commands – but as it's a strong working relationship, these are used as opportunities to enhance the way they bounce off each other. "I couldn't talk her out of it – you think I could talk her through it?" marvels an incredulous Rhyme when Claire suggests he offer comfort to Amelia when she's tracking a killer in pitch darkness. But he does, and that's the beauty of it, resulting in Amelia musing: "I wasn't blind, I had Lincoln – he was my eyes for a change."
We just know the story doesn't end here
With last night's finale ending with the dawning of a potential new serial killer - "You think you can catch me, Lincoln?" drawls a voice over the phone, moments after a woman's lifeless corpse falls onto a car. "Think again".
It would be fair to assume that the cast and crew had all imagined season two was a given. However, we'll now never get clarity in regards to who, exactly, Lincoln's new nemesis is, or how the rest of the story will play out.
As such, the reality is this. Jeffrey Deavers has written a whole series of books starring Lincoln Rhyme. In fact, there are 13 of them: The Coffin Dancer, The Empty Chair, The Stone Monkey… (You get the jist.)
Lincoln Rhyme clearly has plenty of gas left in the proverbial tank: arguably, The Bone Collector should have been little more than a mouth-watering first outing for the character, a base on which future seasons could be built.
With the majority of viewers most likely unacquainted with Deaver's work and the development of Rhyme (whether mirrored or not by the TV series), we're left unsure about what will happen to the detective and his team. Although there's one thing we certainly do know: we'll most likely now never get to find out.
Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector aired on NBC and Sky, and is now available to watch on NOW TV.
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