Angeline Walsh’s comedic series, The Coroner’s Assistant, takes us into the dark underbelly of London’s cadaver trade. Will you survive or be the next put up on the seller’s block?
It’s Victorian-era London, and a young anatomy student, James Rigby (Cedric Gegel), applies for a position as an assistant to the town’s coroner, Oliver Cross (Robert Branch). After an incredibly brief meeting with the resurrection man, Thomas (Jeremy Gladen), the eccentric Oliver hires the young James, and our adventure begins.
The following day, Thomas and Oliver attend an inquest regarding the recent drowning of a woman in the Thames River. Thomas leads the inquest, and as evidence is presented about the drowning, James starts poking holes in the proceedings testimony and evidence examination. Something is not right, and James has not entirely caught on that Oliver and Thomas may be involved.
The Coroner’s Assistant is a five-part series with a ten-episode season two in the works. This review will focus solely on the first episode featuring James being hired as Oliver’s assistant and the initial inquest into the drowning on the Thames.
“…James starts poking holes in the proceedings testimony and evidence examination.”
First, let me point out that The Coroner’s Assistant is quite an ambitious low-budget indie series. Set in the Victorian era, the costumes alone will eat up a budget fast. The reported budget is $10,000, and the costuming is impressive enough to feel like it’s from the right era.
The comedy comes from its set of bizarre characters. Cedric Gegel nails his performance as James. He’s the straight person to Robert Branch’s Oliver. James is the bright-eyed, naive student who is prime to have his world destroyed by Cross and his mysterious “side gig.”
Much like a British series, the comedy is dry as toast. Jokes are laid throughout the episode, like Easter eggs looking to be found. But it’s the interactions between these odd characters that produce the most laughs. The comedic potential is there simply with the things you can do with a dead body.
It is unfair to come to a final judgment on the series after only one episode. Still, The Coroner’s Assistant lays a good indie foundation with its odd characters and even more intriguing setting surrounded by the dead.
For more information about The Coroner’s Assistant, visit Angeline Walsh’s official website.
"…odd characters and even more intriguing setting surrounded by the dead."