‘Flesh and Blood’ brings a generational psychodrama to ‘Masterpiece’

Lust, greed, wrath, envy and pride are just some of the deadly sins that plague a seemingly happy family in “Flesh and Blood,” premiering on “Masterpiece” Sundays at 8 p.m., starting Oct. 4. The mystery-thriller stars Imelda Staunton (“Harry Potter,” “Vera Drake”) and Francesca Annis (“Home Fires,” “Cranford”), who play close neighbors cast into a generational psychodrama.

Also starring are Claudie Blakley (“Grantchester,” “Cranford”), Russell Tovey (“Little Dorrit”), and Lydia Leonard as the grown-up children of Annis’s character, Vivien; Stephen Rae as a suspicious new addition to the family; and David Bamber (“Victoria”) as the detective who tries to work out whether an unfortunate incident was an accident or, in fact, a heinous crime.

Staunton, who is set to star as Queen Elizabeth II in the next season of “The Crown,” gives a slyly comedic performance as Mary, the family’s long-time next-door neighbor, whose life is devoted to gardening and trying to be helpful to Vivien.

Opening with emergency vehicles on the scene of a life-threatening mishap, the mystery for viewers is: Who has done what to whom?

WATCH: Episodes 2 and 3 are free to watch online and via the PBS app. Binge the whole series now with Passport access!

As D.I. Doug Lineham elicits the details in flashbacks, it all started innocently enough. Widowed a year and a half earlier, glamorous former salon owner Vivien invites her three children to their seaside childhood home for an important announcement: she has a new man in her life: Mark, a retired surgeon.

Wrapped up in their own complicated relationships, the children have mixed reactions. Career woman Helen is wary of Mark, perhaps because she sees romance as entirely transactional, which is how she treats her stay-at-home husband.

Jake is downright hostile to Mark, possibly out of guilt over the breakup of his marriage. Also, he’s worried about his inheritance, which may be his only hope for financial security.

Only Natalie, the youngest, is genuinely excited for her mom, likely because a fulfilling partnership is Natalie’s fondest wish. At the moment, she is in the fifth year of an aimless affair with her boss.

Then there is Mary’s opinion. Having no close family of her own, she has been a second mother to Helen, Jake and Natalie. A born sleuth, she conveys her serious doubts about Mark in the most elliptical way imaginable.

As for Mark, he dotes on Vivien and treats her to expensive surprises — plus he really wants to marry her. The question on everyone’s mind: Is he hiding something?

Sponsor message:

Sponsor message:

Sign up to receive the Arizona PBS Insider

Get up-to-the-minute information about your favorite programs and learn more about Arizona PBS news and events.

Makers: "Not Done: Women Remaking America"

Not Done Women Remaking America

"Makers" made television history in 2013 with its three-part PBS documentary which told the story of the modern American women’s movement for the first time. But a lot has happened since then.

Enjoy Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony: S&M2

Join the ultimate heavy metal band as they combine forces with a nearly 80-member orchestra to perform Metallica fan favorites.

Great Performances returns to Arizona PBS with 'One Man, Two Guvnors' starring James Corden

Revel in this 1960s-era comedy featuring a Tony-winning performance by James Corden. Adapted from a 1743 farce, Corden plays a musician-turned-bodyguard trying to keep his two mobster clients apart, a tricky predicament resulting in comic mayhem.