The emergence of vampires, werewolves and zombies into the mainstream has led to the creation of Paranormal Investigation Team Scotland (PITS) who investigate crimes involving the supernatural. After the team is joined by ambitious police officer Maya, the emergence of a sinister madman and a powerful werewolf threaten to unleash a tide of chaos on the streets of Glasgow.
An ongoing web series, only the first three episodes of Cops and Monsters are currently available, but they make for a neat introduction to a developing story. Taking direct inspiration from Torchwood, the series can also be compared to a number of similar efforts such as Grimm, Caledonia (also a Glasgow-set supernatural web series), short-lived Syfy show Special Unit 2 and underseen MTV mockumentary series Death Valley.
Despite being a low-budget series, some neat visual effects periodically crop up to augment the location shooting, such as ‘Fangs Welcome’ being projected on a bar wall or the officers working off some mid-air computer screen projections. The series also transcends its limited resources by the focus on its characters. Yes, the backstory mythology is important and will doubtless play a significant part later in the series, but the actions of the show’s humans and monsters along with what drives them are shown to be just as significant as the fantasy trappings, if not more so.
Smart, athletic and determined, Maya is a perfect viewpoint character to take the audience into the supernatural underworld. She may be on a steep learning curve, but her confidence and capability make her an interesting character to watch, while a personal connection to the dangers of the supernatural world give her motivation to constantly push herself. On the antagonist side of things is a wild-haired nutter with the intriguing moniker of The Cult of Many Faces. It’s yet to become clear exactly what this name refers to, but what is apparent is his habit of talking in that annoying condescension that smug villains sometimes do, making you want to repeatedly punch him in however many faces it is he has. Also clear is his utter disregard for life, be it human or supernatural, while his plans for the mysterious and violent werewolf Alexis can’t be good.
With the first episode focusing on Maya’s introduction and the second set five years prior to current events, it’s only with the third and latest instalment that the story has properly started to get moving. At least two more will be released later this year, and with all narrative overtures now complete, the way is now set for the development of a brutal and sinister mystery.
COPS AND MONSTERS EPISODES 1 – 3 / CERT: N/A / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: FRASER COULL / STARRING: ELLEN PATTERSON, BILLY KIRKWOOD, KENNY BOLE, INNES ANDERSON, CHRIS BAIN / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW