Barney Thomson (Robert Carlyle), awkward, diffident, Glasgow, Scotland barber, lives a life of desperate mediocrity and his uninteresting life is about to go from 0 to 60 in five seconds, as he enters the grotesque and comically absurd world of the serial killer.
—Trinity Works Entertainment
Barney Thomson (Robert Carlyle) is a sad sack of a man. He identifies himself mostly as a barber, Hendersons' Barbers in a working class neighborhood of Glasgow, Scotland, where he's worked for twenty years. More introspective than extroverted, which does not work well for the business, he has fewer and fewer customers, and as such his current boss, Wullie Henderson (Stephen McCole), son of the retired owner James Henderson (James Cosmo), who originally hired him, is moving him further and further away from the spotlight of the shop. Meanwhile, five men so far have been killed by who the general public is nicknaming the "Body Parts Killer," as the murderer sends through the post body parts of the victims to the victims' loved ones. Lead investigator, Detective Inspector Holdall (Ray Winstone), assisted by Detective Inspector Callum MacPherson (Kevin Guthrie), is no closer now to discovering the Body Parts Killer's identity than when the murders started two months ago. Wanting results, Chief Superintendent McManaman (Sir Tom Courtenay) takes Holdall and MacPherson off the case, instead assigning it to Detective Inspector June Robertson (Ashley Jensen), an A-type personality who believes she can do no wrong, and will take credit for others doing right, which places her and Holdall at odds with each other. What were so far these two unrelated paths start to merge when Wullie tells Barney that he is giving his chair to a new barber, effectively firing him. In an ensuing altercation of sorts, Barney accidentally kills Wullie. When Wullie is reported as missing, Holdall and MacPherson are sent to investigate, and increasingly believe that Barney not only killed Wullie, whose body has not been discovered, but that he is the Body Parts Killer, both which Robertson believes are nonsense. The matter gets more complicated when Barney's self-absorbed, chain smoking and dispassionate mother, Cemolina (Dame Emma Thompson), gets involved, she who would never be considered Mother of the Year.
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