Locke & Key (TV series)

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Locke & Key
Locke & Key (TV series) Title Card.png
Based onLocke & Key
by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez
Developed by
Music byTorin Borrowdale
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes10 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
  • Ra'uf Glasgow
  • Kevin Lafferty
  • Nishpeksh Mehra
Production locations
  • Tico Poulakakis
  • Colin Hoult
  • Matthew V. Colonna
  • Lilly Urban
  • Paul Trejo
  • Andrew Behrens
  • Philip Fowler
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time40–56 minutes
Production companies
Original networkNetflix
Original releaseFebruary 7, 2020 (2020-02-07) –
present (present)
External links
Official website

Locke & Key is a 2020 American supernatural horror drama streaming television series[1][2] developed by Carlton Cuse, Meredith Averill, and Aron Eli Coleite, based on the comic-book series of the same name by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodríguez. It premiered on Netflix on February 7, 2020.[3] The series stars Darby Stanchfield, Connor Jessup, Emilia Jones, Jackson Robert Scott, Laysla De Oliveira, Petrice Jones, and Griffin Gluck.

In March 2020, Netflix announced that the series had been renewed for a second season which is slated to premiere in 2021.[4][5] In December 2020, ahead of the second season premiere, the series was renewed for a third season.[5]


After Rendell Locke is murdered at the hands of former student Sam Lesser, his wife Nina decides to move with her three children, Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode, from Seattle to Matheson, Massachusetts, and take residence in Rendell's family home, Keyhouse. The children soon discover a number of mysterious keys throughout the house that can be used to unlock various doors in magical ways. They soon become aware, though, of a demonic entity that is also searching for the keys for its own malevolent purposes.[6]

Cast and characters[edit]


  • Darby Stanchfield as Nina Locke, the matriarch of the Locke family
  • Connor Jessup as Tyler Locke, the eldest son of the Locke family
  • Emilia Jones as Kinsey Locke, the middle child and only daughter of the Locke family
  • Jackson Robert Scott as Bode Locke, the youngest son of the Locke family
  • Petrice Jones as Scot Cavendish, a British student filmmaker at Matheson Academy, and a love interest of Kinsey's
  • Laysla De Oliveira as Echo/Dodge,[a] the "well lady" of Keyhouse, who is revealed to be a demonic entity
  • Griffin Gluck as Gabe,[b] a new student at Matheson Academy, and a love interest of Kinsey's


  • Bill Heck as Rendell Locke, the patriarch of the Locke family and Nina's deceased husband
  • Aaron Ashmore as Duncan Locke, Rendell's younger brother
  • Sherri Saum as Ellie Whedon, an old friend of Rendell's who dated Rendell's best friend Lucas back in high school and a physical education teacher at Matheson Academy
  • Thomas Mitchell Barnet as Sam Lesser, Rendell's student who shoots and kills Rendell
  • Kevin Alves as Javi, Tyler's friend, who is on the hockey team with him at Matheson Academy
  • Genevieve Kang as Jackie Veda, a girl on whom Tyler has a crush
  • Hallea Jones as Eden Hawkins, Jackie's best friend
  • Kolton Stewart as Brinker Martin, Javi's friend
  • Asha Bromfield as Zadie Wells, one of Scot's friends
  • Jesse Camacho as Doug Brazelle, one of Scot's friends
  • Eric Graise as Logan Calloway, a disabled student at Matheson Academy
  • Felix Mallard as Lucas Caravaggio,[c] Rendell's best friend from high school and Ellie's first love
  • Steven Williams as Joe Ridgeway, the dean of 11th grade and Tyler's English teacher at Matheson Academy
  • Coby Bird as Rufus Whedon, Ellie's adopted son and the groundskeeper of Keyhouse; he is fascinated by the army and weapons.


No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
1"Welcome to Matheson"Michael MorrisJoe Hill and Aron Eli ColeiteFebruary 7, 2020 (2020-02-07)
A man, after receiving a phone call, takes a key and inserts it in his chest, causing himself and his house to be incinerated. Three months later, the Locke family relocates to Matheson, Massachusetts, after family patriarch Rendell's murder. They move into Keyhouse, Rendell's ancestral home, with the help of Rendell's younger brother Duncan. Youngest Locke son Bode comes across the well house, where he hears the voice of a woman claiming to be his echo. As eldest son Tyler and daughter Kinsey start school, Bode explores Keyhouse and hears strange whispers that lead him to magical keys hidden throughout the house. He finds the Anywhere Key, which can be used on any door to travel to any place he has seen, and the Mirror Key, which opens a portal to a dimension within any mirror. The Locke children's mother, Nina, becomes trapped in the mirror dimension. Echo tells Bode she can save his mom if he gives her the Anywhere Key. He does so, but she uses the key to escape the well house. Tyler and Kinsey arrive in time to help Nina out from the mirror. Echo meets with Sam Lesser, currently in prison for having killed Rendell.
2"Trapper / Keeper"Michael MorrisLiz PhangFebruary 7, 2020 (2020-02-07)
The Locke children find their mother has no recollection of being trapped in the mirror dimension. At school, Tyler becomes interested in Jackie, while Kinsey struggles to fit in until she meets Scot and others of the "Savini squad", who are trying to make a budget horror film, and cautiously joins them. Bode fears that Echo may come back and bonds with Rufus, the young Keyhouse groundskeeper. With help from Rufus, Bode tries to set a trap for Echo, but when she returns after using the Anywhere Key to travel the world, she sees right through it and warns Bode not to disappoint her. Bode finds another key, and after seeing a keyhole appear on the back of a store clerk's neck, tries to use it on himself just as Tyler and Kinsey arrive home. They find that Bode has used the Head key, allowing them to enter a representation of his mind.
3"Head Games"Tim SouthamMeredith AverillFebruary 7, 2020 (2020-02-07)
Tyler and Kinsey go with Bode into his mind, which stores some memories of Rendell. Echo travels to the burned-down home where the man killed himself with a key, and she recovers the undamaged key. After a hockey game, Tyler finds one of the school bullies hitting on Kinsey, and he beats the bully up due to repressed guilt, a decision that gets him in trouble with Joe Ridgeway. The next day, Tyler lets Kinsey use the Head Key to enter her mind, fashioned after a shopping mall, to find more memories of their father. The two are chased by a representation of Kinsey's fear before they escape. Meanwhile, Bode finds the Ghost Key, which frees his soul from his body and allows him to speak to the dead, including his great-great-grandfather Chamberlain Locke, who mentions Rendell and Duncan had visited him often when they were younger. Nina goes out for dinner with Ellie, Rendell's old friend, and when Nina mentions Bode searching the well house, Ellie becomes gravely concerned. Kinsey skips a date with Scot to use the Head Key on herself, later dragging the representation of her fear out of her mind and burying it.
4"The Keepers of the Keys"Tim SouthamMackenzie DohrFebruary 7, 2020 (2020-02-07)
Kinsey has become more open and engaging at school the next day; she tells Tyler she had used the Head Key to take out the manifestation of her fear from her mind. Talking more with Ellie, Nina learns that most of Rendell's friends are dead, with Mark Cho recently killed in a house fire; outside of Ellie, only Erin Voss is alive, but she lives in a psychiatric facility. Ellie helps Nina tear down a wall put up in the house's basement to block a recreation room, where Nina finds an old cabinet. Kinsey invites Scot back to her house and uses the Head Key to show him her mind, where they share a kiss. The next evening, Echo appears and tries to take the Head Key from Bode, but Bode realizes that she can only take it if he willingly gives it to her. Echo disappears and returns to Sam, giving him the key retrieved from Mark's house and instructions on what to do next.
5"Family Tree"Mark Tonderai-HodgesAndres Fischer-CentenoFebruary 7, 2020 (2020-02-07)
Tyler and Kinsey are drawn to another hidden key, which they find is the Music Box Key; when inserted into a music box, it allows the wielder to control a person's actions. At school, Eden insults Scot, and to get back at her, Kinsey and Gabe use the Music Box Key on her, which Tyler sees when her embarrassing actions are caught on social media. Tyler warns Kinsey about abusing the key powers, not wanting to draw attention. That evening, Tyler and Kinsey hear more whispering and find the Plant Key in the graveyard. When they use it on a nearby tree, several jars are uprooted from the ground. The jars contain memories from Duncan's childhood and find one of a young Rendell beating his friend Lucas Caravaggio to death. Meanwhile, Nina becomes suspicious of a scar on Ellie's chest that is identical to one Rendell had. However, Ellie refuses to say anything about it. Later, Nina receives a message from Joe, saying he had seen something strange and needed to show it to her. When she arrives at his house, she finds him dead by suffocation and immediately called the police. Unbeknownst to Nina, Ellie is hiding outside Joe's house.
6"The Black Door"Mark Tonderai-HodgesBrett Treacy & Dan WoodwardFebruary 7, 2020 (2020-02-07)
Nina attempts to convince the police that Ridgeway did not kill himself, but fails. Kinsey confronts Duncan about the memories, but he has no recollection of any of the events, except vaguely remembering some caves near the shore line. Kinsey convinces the Savini squad to film in those caves as a pretext to explore further. Within, she finds a door in an omega shape. As the tide quickly rises, Kinsey has to be dragged away from the door by her friends, and they all flee to escape the cave. Scot is furious with her, but Gabe considers her actions brave and starts to get closer to her. Echo goes to a party where Tyler is getting drunk and angering Jackie. As Tyler storms out, Echo introduces herself as Dodge to him and starts flirting with him. Sam uses the Matchstick Key Echo gave him to burn down the prison and escape, making his way to Keyhouse.
7"Dissection"Dawn WilkinsonMichael D. FullerFebruary 7, 2020 (2020-02-07)
In flashbacks, Sam is being consoled by Rendell. While waiting alone, Sam sees a picture of Keyhouse with Dodge taunting him to read Rendell's reports, which depict Sam as having mental-health issues. Feeling betrayed by the Lockes, it is implied this is what led to his murder of Rendell. In the present, Sam takes the Lockes hostage, demanding they turn over the Head Key. Kinsey claims it is buried outside, directing him to where she buried her fear monster. During Sam's absence, Tyler helps free Nina, and when Sam returns after overpowering Kinsey's fear, Tyler uses the Head Key on him. Sam's inner self is apologetic. Tyler realizes he did not cause his own father's death when Sam explains Rendell's murder was not planned and that he simply wanted to find the keys for Dodge. Sam removes the Head Key from his own neck just as Dodge appears. She stabs him and takes all of the keys before disappearing. As police arrive, Sam tries to leave through a door, realizing too late it was unlocked with the Ghost Key, and his ethereal form is separated from his now dead body.
8"Ray of F**king Sunshine"Dawn WilkinsonVanessa RojasFebruary 7, 2020 (2020-02-07)
Nina begins drinking in the wake of recent events, which causes her to start to remember some of the events involving the keys. She uses the Mending Key, which allows a cabinet to restore damaged objects to their original form. Tyler and Kinsey feel that while having these memories may be helpful, they would rather have Nina sober and convince her to stop drinking. Tyler and Kinsey travel to the cave with the Omega Door and find a list of the "Keepers of the Keys" that includes Rendell and his friends. Kinsey decides to visit Erin at the facility where she lives. Dodge beats her there and uses the Head Key to find the location of the Omega Key from Erin. By the time Kinsey arrives, Erin identifies Dodge as Lucas, one of Rendell's old friends. Dodge, having taken the form of Lucas using the Identity Key, is staying with Ellie and Rufus. After Nina smashes the urn containing Rendell's ashes in a fit of rage, Tyler locates the Omega Key among the ashes because Rendell had hidden it inside of his own head.
9"Echoes"Vincenzo NataliMeredith Averill & Liz PhangFebruary 7, 2020 (2020-02-07)
The Locke children confront Ellie about Lucas, and she explains that years prior, her boyfriend Lucas had been possessed by something that came through the Omega Door and had killed two of their friends before Rendell killed him. Ellie and her friends hid all evidence of this, including removing Duncan's memories, and split up and hid the keys to prevent anyone from using them again. However, years later, still longing for Lucas, Ellie used the Echo Key at the well house to try to bring him back, only to bring back the entity that had possessed him, instead. Ellie had called Mark about Rendell's murder so that he would use the Matchstick Key to immolate himself and keep the mapped locations of the other keys from Dodge. Once Dodge escaped the well house, she took Lucas's form to live with Ellie and Rufus, coercing Ellie to steal the Crown of Shadows from Keyhouse. Ellie and Rufus take the Shadow Key and go back to their house to retrieve the crown. Dodge is back at the house, though, waiting for them, and he takes the Shadow Key from Ellie to use for himself.
10"Crown of Shadows"Vincenzo NataliCarlton Cuse & Meredith AverillFebruary 7, 2020 (2020-02-07)
Now possessing the Crown of Shadows, Dodge attacks Keyhouse in search of the Omega Key. After Bode destroys Dodge's shadow using the Matchstick Key, Dodge is found unconscious. Tyler and Kinsey send her back through the Omega Door with the help of Scot, Gabe, Jackie, and Eden. Bode finds Rufus injured but alive, but discovers no sign of Ellie. Rufus is sent to live with his aunt and uncle in Nebraska. The Lockes decide to stay in Matheson, and Kinsey starts dating Gabe, unaware he is another form of Dodge; Dodge had used the Identity Key to change Ellie's form into Dodge, and Ellie was who the friends had thrown through the Omega Door. Furthermore, Eden is also now possessed, having been hit by one of the demonic bullets while the door was open.



Locke & Key was originally developed as a television series by the Fox broadcast network during the 2010–11 television season by DreamWorks Television and 20th Century Fox Television with Josh Friedman writing the pilot script adaptation. Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci served as executive producers for the pilot, which starred Mark Pellegrino, Miranda Otto, Jesse McCartney, Sarah Bolger, Skylar Gaertner, and Nick Stahl. The pilot was not given a series order by Fox, though it was screened at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con. At the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con, a feature-film trilogy was announced through Universal Pictures with Kurtzman and Orci expected to serve as executive producers.[7]


On May 9, 2016, IDW Entertainment was reported to be developing a television-series adaptation of Locke & Key again. The novel's writer, Joe Hill, was expected to write the production's pilot and serve as an executive producer. The project was being developed in association with Circle of Confusion with the intent of pitching the series to cable networks and streaming services.[7]

On April 20, 2017, Hulu gave the production a pilot order. The production was developed by Carlton Cuse with Hill and set to be directed by Scott Derrickson. Cuse was expected to serve as the potential series' showrunner and executive producer alongside Hill, Derrickson, Lindsey Springer, Ted Adams, and David Ozer. Production companies involved with the pilot were slated to include Carlton Cuse Productions and IDW Entertainment.[8] On July 14, 2017, it was reported that Andy Muschietti was replacing Derrickson as the pilot's director, as Derrickson was forced to drop out of the production due to a scheduling conflict.[9] On March 27, 2018, it was reported that Hulu had passed on the pilot and declined to order it to series.[10]

On May 29, 2018, the production was reported to be in final negotiations with Netflix for a series order. Netflix redeveloped the property and discarded the prior pilot ordered by Hulu. Due to scheduling conflicts, Andy Muschietti was not expected to direct the production's new pilot, but would continue to serve as executive producer alongside Hill, Cuse, Adams, Ozer, and Barbara Muschietti. Production companies involved with the new iteration of the project were set to include Genre Arts and IDW Entertainment.[11] On July 25, 2018, Netflix officially gave the production a series order for a first season consisting of ten episodes. Aron Eli Coleite, Meredith Averill, and Rick Jacobs were announced as new executive producers. Circle of Confusion was also expected to again act as a production company for the series. The new iteration of the series was created by Hill and developed by Cuse, Coleite, and Averill. The new first episode was written by Hill and Coleite, with Cuse and Averill serving as showrunners.[6] Michael Morris directed the first two episodes and serves as an executive producer.[12]

In adapting the comic for the Netflix series, the fictional town where Keyhouse is located was changed from Lovecraft to Matheson, Massachusetts. According to Cuse and Averill, this change had been suggested by Hill; because of the comic's Lovecraftian themes, the setting's name was to honor author H. P. Lovecraft, but Hill wanted to honor author and screenwriter Richard Matheson for the series, instead.[13]

Despite the fact the series had not yet received an order beyond its first season, writing for a potential second season began ahead of the series' first-season premiere.[14] On March 30, 2020, Netflix renewed the series for a second season, which is slated to premiere in 2021.[4][5] On December 18, 2020, ahead of the second-season premiere, Netflix renewed the series for a third season.[5]


In August 2017, Frances O'Connor and Jackson Robert Scott were cast in the pilot's main roles.[15][16] In September 2017, Megan Charpentier and Nate Corddry were reported to have joined the pilot's main cast.[17][18] In October 2017, Jack Mulhern, Danny Glover, and Owen Teague had been cast in starring roles in the pilot.[19][20]

Alongside the announcement of the production's move to Netflix, it was revealed all of the series' roles would be recast with the exception of Jackson Robert Scott as Bode Locke.[11] On December 19, 2018, Connor Jessup and Emilia Jones were cast to replace Mulhern and Charpentier, respectively.[21] In January 2019, Sherri Saum, Griffin Gluck, Steven Williams (replacing Glover), Darby Stanchfield (replacing O'Connor), Laysla De Oliveira, and Kevin Alves joined the cast with Gluck, Stanchfield, and De Oliveira in main roles and Williams and Alves set to appear in a recurring capacity.[22][23][24][25] In February 2019, Petrice Jones and Thomas Mitchell Barnet (replacing Teague) joined the main cast; Asha Bromfield and Felix Mallard were cast to appear in recurring roles.[26][27][28]

Mirroring their appearances as characters in the comic book, creators Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez had cameo appearances in the first-season finale as paramedics.[29]

On September 30, 2020, Aaron Ashmore and Hallea Jones were promoted to series regulars while Brendan Hines was cast as a new series regular for the second season.[30]


Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, was used for shots of the fictional Matheson, Massachusetts.

Principal photography for the series took place from February 11 to July 5, 2019, in Toronto, Ontario.[31] Scenes within the fictional Matheson, as well as some other exterior scenes, such as the outside of the Drowning Cave, were filmed in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Keyhouse itself was a constructed set and shot at Cinespace Film Studios in Toronto along with other internal scenes.[32] The second season began filming on September 21, 2020, and is set to conclude on March 5, 2021.[33][34]


The score to the show was composed by Torin Borrowdale.[35] When writing the main theme for the series, Borrowdale wanted to ellicit a feeling of magic and whimsey that would come with exploring a house with magical keys for the first time. Borrowdale implemented a solo cello in a low register for Dodge's theme to capture both the beauty and the darkness of Dodge's character.[36] For Bode's theme, he created a simple tune that would be adaptable to the varying situations Bode got himself into, in which the variations on his theme would reflect the current mood of the scene.[37] The soundtrack was released on March 13, 2020.[36]


In December 2019, Netflix announced that the series would be released on February 7, 2020, in the US and Canada.[3] On January 8, 2020, Netflix released an official trailer for the series.[38] A world premiere was held on February 5, 2020, in Hollywood, California.[39]


The series received generally positive reviews from critics, with the score, set design, and visual effects being singled out as highlights of the series.[40] Critics mainly praised the series' handling of themes relating to loss and trauma, as well as its use of horror genre elements, while criticizing the use of teen drama and romance subplots to drag out the story.[41][42] The performances of Jackson Robert Scott and Laysla de Oliveira received particular praise.[43][44][45]

USA Today claimed that the series was "nearly as strong a debut as Stranger Things was in 2016, but it [needed] a few tweaks to jump the hurdle between good and great."[46] IGN credited the series for its portrayal of trauma and its visual effects, and praised the performances of Scott and de Oliveira, while criticizing it for not consistently building tension throughout.[47]

Polygon gave a more negative review, criticizing the decision to make the television adaptation emphasize the coming-of-age story and fantasy elements of the series, while glossing over the horror elements and haunting visuals of the source material. In particular, its review criticized the uninteresting subplots and inconsistent pacing.[48]

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the series has a 66% approval rating with 61 reviews, with an average rating of 6.58/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Though Locke & Key at times struggles to strike a consistent tone, it captures enough of the essence of its source material to provide a fiendishly fun and sufficiently spooky time."[49] On Metacritic the series has a score of 62 out of 100 based on 19 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[50]


  1. ^ Oliveira also portrays Ellie in episode 10.
  2. ^ An alternate form of Dodge.
  3. ^ Mallard also portrays Dodge.


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