rag doll Episode 1 begins with the trial of Cremation Killer Mark Hooper, a case that has left DI Nathan Rose’s (Henry Lloyd-Hughes) sanity and reputation in grave blemish. The Cremation Killer would burn his victims alive, whom Rose watched die, helpless to do anything to save them.
Rose was convinced that Hooper was the killer, to the point that he tampered with evidence and witness statements to ensure he would be convicted. His plans backfired, and Rose’s obsessive behavior caused fellow detectives to worry about her health. DI Chambers even wrote a letter defaming Rose’s actions. The press somehow got hold of the letter and published it.
This combination of events led to Hooper going free. During the opening scenes of the episode, we see the trial unfold and the judge announces that Hooper is innocent. Rose immediately becomes unhinged, launching herself at Hooper and beating him to a bloody pulp with the intention of killing him. The only reason he doesn’t kill Hooper is for Chambers and a security guard to intervene in time.
Summary of episode 1 of Ragdoll: Discovering the “Ragdoll”
Two years later, Rose returns to work after a stint in a mental institution. He’s back on the force and one of his first big new cases is the Ragdoll Killer. Rose receives a call to come and check on a body that was found in an apartment right across from hers.
This “body” is unlike anything police have seen before. Sewn together from body parts taken from six different murder victims to form a grotesque figure, the “Ragdoll” hangs from the apartment ceiling like a disturbing art installation. And that’s not all. The only instantly recognizable body part is the head, which looks suspiciously like Mark Hooper’s head.
Also, one of the Ragdoll’s frozen arms points straight at Rose’s apartment across the road. It can’t be a coincidence, can it?
But how can the head belong to Hooper? He is in prison, notes the American ingenue DC Lake Edmunds (Lucy Hale).
Yes, we find out Rose was right about Hooper’s identity as the Cremation Killer all along. Shortly after being found innocent, Hooper struck again. Rose saw this happen via a news report while in the hospital and lost his mind, rampaging through the playroom and destroying everything in sight.
So yeah, it seems odd that someone could have killed Hooper if he was in jail. Edmunds and Rose’s partner, DI Emily Baxter (Thalissa Teixeira), goes to the jail to verify Hooper’s death.
Ragdoll episode 1 recap: Is that Mark Hooper’s head?
Hooper is confirmed dead. The autopsy report shows that someone slipped tetrodotoxin, a naturally occurring neurotoxin most commonly found in puffer fish, into his prison food. Hooper had become the establishment’s only vegan, meaning his food was specially prepared off-site. Either someone at the scene poisoned her food, or she was poisoned in transit to the prison.
Back at the precinct, several bouquets of flowers are delivered to Baxter as a thank you for a case she recently solved alongside Chambers. It seems the locals are grateful that she caught a serial killer. Keep that in mind for later.
As for the toxin, the only clue Edmunds finds so far is a blurry photo of a man’s silhouette leaving the place where they prepared Hooper’s food. As for other unidentified body parts, the only significant clue they have so far is a Pomeranian tattoo on one of the arms.
Ragdoll episode 1 recap: Who’s on the killer’s target list?
During the first official press release, we meet Andrea (Natasha Little), a sharp and unscrupulous journalist who published Chambers’ letter about Rose at the time. She and Rose obviously slept together before creating a rift between her and Baxter but also because Andrea is the kind of woman who will whatever to have a good story. She’s already practically salivating over the Ragdoll story.
Awaiting the team on Rose’s desk, a hit list, courtesy of the Ragdoll killer, names six other victims, including Mayor Ray Turnbull, Nick Hooper, Eric Turner, Matthew Wingate, Andrew Daly and the latest, but not the least, Nathan Rose himself. If the numerical order of the list matters (and in the book it does), the priority is to protect Mayor Turnbull (Phil Davis), the first name on the list and probably the first victim whose death is expected.
Ragdoll episode 1 recap: Can the team save Mayor Turnbull from the killer?
Turnbull isn’t thrilled to have to spend a day in confinement inside police headquarters. From Rose forcing him up 11 flights of stairs (Turnbull previously called him a fascist on live TV) to the abundance of flowers everywhere triggering his asthma, his hand is constantly on his inhaler.
Face to face, Rose confronts Turnbull about how he handled the Hooper case. Days after Rose assaulted Hooper in the courtroom, Turnbull was photographed shaking hands with Hooper from his hospital bed to condemn Rose’s act of brutality. However, he notes that after Hooper was arrested, he wouldn’t have bothered if Hooper “mysteriously” died in his cell.
“If I had made an Epstein, I had hung him with his pajamas?” “You would be DCI.”
Across town, Edmunds and Baxter discuss tattoos, and the conversation leads to Baxter’s celebratory flowers. Baxter is uncomfortable with gifts because she doesn’t want praise for doing her job. Not to mention the fact that Baxter didn’t catch the killer on her own helped Chambers. She visits one of the victim’s family members and asks him to refrain from sending any, only for him to say that he never sent her flowers, which means someone someone else did…
Baxter immediately realizes something suspicious about his bouquets and tries to get in touch with Rose. But it’s too late. At the police station, Turnbull lights a cigarette and suddenly bursts into flames. The killer deliberately sent the pollen-laden flowers for Turnbull, who has asthma and likely allergens, to use his inhaler, which was likely mixed with an accelerant that caused Turnbull to be incinerated from within. Ouch.
Rose is powerless to stop the mayor from burning, paralyzed by the similarities between her death and the death of the Cremation Killer victim we saw in flashback in the episode’s opening scene. Turnbull dies. It’s a name on the list!
Ragdoll episode 1 recap: What is Rose’s relationship with the Ragdoll killer?
Baxter insists on telling Rose that the Ragdoll pointing to her apartment is probably just a coincidence, but is it true? During her court-mandated therapy sessions, we learn more about what happened to Rose during her time in the mental institution.
There, he befriended a paranoid schizophrenic named Joel. Why does Rose think of Joel today everyday, the day he learned of Hooper’s death?
In a flashback sequence to Rose’s stay in the hospital, Joel tells her about a Faustian killer. A Faustian bargain is, in essence, a pact with the devil. According to Joel, if you call a secret phone number, you connect to a killer who will do the dirty work for you. But the market is that it will also kill you once it’s all said and done.
Realizing there might be a connection between the Faust and the Ragdoll Killer, Rose tries to visit Joel in the hospital. Too late. Joel is dead, and I guess it’s no coincidence that he called Faust’s killer to eliminate his sister’s killer.
Rose relays all of this information to her therapist. “An eye for an eye. Savage justice. Does that appeal to you? Do you believe Faust is real? Is that why you called me tonight?
Apparently so, since the flashback shows that while in the hospital, Rose was so desperate to make Hooper pay that he called Faust’s killer using the number Joel wrote down on a piece of Bible paper and told him. asked to kill Mark Hooper.
In short, Rose freed the killer. He is the reason the Ragdoll was created! But what do the other victims have to do with it?
The next episode of rag doll premieres Thursday, November 18 exclusively on AMC+.