Eric: release date, cast, plot, trailer, interviews, episode guide, recaps and all about the 1980s-set series starring Benedict Cumberbatch

Eric on Netflix sees Benedict Cumberbatch plays a father and much-loved TV puppeteer in the 1980s.
Eric on Netflix sees Benedict Cumberbatch plays a father and much-loved TV puppeteer in the 1980s. (Image credit: Netflix)

Eric is a new Netflix series set in 1980s New York with a cast led by British Hollywood star Benedict Cumberbatch. From playing codebreaker Alan Turing to spin doctor Dominic Cummings and mystic neurosurgeon Doctor Strange, Benedict is well versed in portraying complex characters. Now, in six-part Netflix series Eric, the star is taking on the fictional role of an American national treasure and puppeteer Vincent who begins to unravel after his nine-year-old son Edgar disappears on his way to school. As his mental health spirals out of control, Vincent becomes obsessed with Eric, a character Edgar has drawn, and is convinced that if he can get Eric on television then Edgar will come home. 

“This show is set in 1985 in New York, a city that is alive, thriving, evolving but riddled with crises whether it’s mental health crises, the AIDS pandemic, corruption and prejudice. It’s a very busy, challenging time to be in this very busy, challenging but inspiring city,” says Eric star Benedict Cumberbatch.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Netflix series Eric

The Netflix poster for Eric.

The Netflix poster for Eric. (Image credit: Netflix)

Eric release date

Eric is a six-part series that launches worldwide on Netflix on Thursday May 30 2024. 

Eric cast: who's who in the Netflix thriller

Is there a trailer for Eric?

Yes there's an official trailer released for Eric by Netflix. You can take a look at both below. It does seem to be an intense thriller. Great soundtrack too!

Eric | Official Trailer | Netflix - YouTube Eric | Official Trailer | Netflix - YouTube
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What is the plot of Netflix series Eric?

Eric is set in New York in 1985, against a backdrop of police corruption, crime and the AIDS pandemic. The six-part series follows Vincent (Benedict Cumberbatch), the city’s leading puppeteer and creator of the hugely popular children’s television show Good Day Sunshine. One morning Vincent’s son Edgar (van Howe) vanishes on his way to school and Vincent struggles to cope with his loss. As he becomes increasingly distressed and volatile, guilt-ridden Vincent discovers Edgar’s drawings of a blue monster puppet called Eric and becomes convinced that if he can get Eric on TV, then Edgar will come home. Soon Vincent’s behaviour alienates his family, colleagues and the police and Eric becomes his only weapon in his attempt to bring his son back home. 

Vincent and his team working on the puppet show Good Day Sunshine.

Vincent (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his team working on the puppet show Good Day Sunshine. (Image credit: Netflix)

Eric on Netflix sees Benedict Cumberbatch (above in first look with Gaby Hoffmann) play a much-loved puppeteer struggling to cope with his son’s disappearance.

Eric on Netflix sees Benedict Cumberbatch play puppeteer whose son Edgar (Ivan Howe) vanishes. (Image credit: Netflix)

Episode guide and recaps for Eric

Please click on the links below to get a closer look at each of the six episodes of Eric...

Eric episode 1 recap: where did Edgar go?

Eric episode 2 recap: Vincent's secrets start to stack up

Eric episode 3 recap: Ledroit interrogates Vincent

Eric episode 4 recap: Vincent is given an ultimatum

Eric episode 5 recap: a breakthrough in both cases

Eric episode 6 recap: does Vincent bring Edgar home?


Vincent's son Edgar (Ivan Howe). (Image credit: Netflix)

Eric on Netflix sees Benedict Cumberbatch play a much-loved puppeteer struggling to cope with his son’s disappearance.

A press conference begging for new about their missing son in Eric on Netflix. (Image credit: Netflix)

Eric cast — Benedict Cumberbatch on playing Vincent Anderson 

In Eric, Benedict Cumberbatch plays grieving TV puppeteer Vincent Anderson. Benedict says: “My character Vincent is an inspirational, troubled, extraordinarily funny, aggressive and complex human being and this show is a six-part odyssey into his psyche as he becomes unravelled due to the disappearance of his son.” 

"He's already teetering on many a crisis: his work world, which is very much built on a kind of sacred space, which is a reimagining of a less than perfect childhood, is under threat. There's a ratings issue. They're trying to jam in new hip stuff, which is not what the show's about. So it’s turning toxic at work, and he brings that aggravation home to a marriage that's 10 years in. And there's a lot of history to that marriage, which is sort of rupturing. And in the middle of all of this is a beautiful but overlooked child who is seen as something to sort of scurry through the city with and just tick off a list of parenting and not really seen or really engaged with, not really heard or understood. And he's quite a child, quite a boy. And so everything's teetering on that kind of knife edge anyway, before the boy then goes missing. So it then kind of falls off a cliff for Vincent.

"Working alongside a 7ft-tall fluffy monster was great. In a way easier, but in a way not, I mean, you know, this is a guy who's suffering a sort of psychic split. So his creation becomes something real, it kind of becomes a necessity to him. It's the only prop he has in a world that doesn't make sense logically anymore to him. And it becomes manifest, this creature that he's trying to put on TV to deliver his son back into being. And on the day we had this fantastic operator, Olly and his team, creating this incredible, very lived in life size (for a monster) thing that was beside me in shot, out of shot. Sometimes it's just the voice, but as you see, it's very, very present in other moments. I haven't seen it all by the way, so I don't know how it plays through the whole, we featured him as much as we could on the day, and then it's all about the edit, deciding then how much he drives through, how much he's just a shadow or a presence, and sort of in the periphery, but it was fantastic. And those guys really know what they're doing and there was so much humour in what he was doing, which might not work through the whole piece, but at times it's gonna be great. And he was very inventive and I mean, I literally cried the day I realised what he was doing, which was, I can't remember when, it must have been about four months in. He showed me the headgear and I put it on. So he has this thing across his eyes, which relays four different camera points that are static camera shots, to show him the acting space that he's in. So he's seeing himself move through space. He's not seeing where he's going himself. He's seeing the image that you are seeing as a viewer, but from static points and having to deliver a performance, not fall over, not bump into things. And it’s a miraculous skill. So we formed a very close bond doing it.

"I ruined it all by doing the voice of the pupper, after Olly’s brilliant work. Which was kind of an incredible thing because it is of him, it has come out of him and his son's creation. So we felt it was right for it to be embodied with Vincent."

* Benedict Cumberbatch is best known for playing Sherlock Holmes in the BBC1 series Sherlock and Dr Stephen Strange in the Marvel movies. In 2021 he starred in The Power of the Dog and he played codebreaker Alan Turing in The Imitation Game. He took on the role of political strategist Dominic Cummings in Brexit: The Uncivil War and has also starred in The Mauritanian, 1917, Sherlock, The Current War, The Child in Time and 12 Years a Slave. He’s lent his voice to The Grinch, The Tiger Who Came to Tea, Good Omens and Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle. He is soon to star in Netflix series The Wonderful World of Henry Sugar.

Eric on Netflix sees Benedict Cumberbatch as puppeteer VIncent working on his all-important new show.

Benedict Cumberbatch as puppeteer  Vincent working on his all-important new show called Eric. (Image credit: Netflix)

Sherlock promotional shot with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman

Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes with Martin Freeman as Watson in he BBC1 series. (Image credit: BBC)

Who else is starring in Netflix series Eric? 

Eric also stars Gaby Hoffmann (Wild) as Vincent's wife Cassie and Ivan Howe plays Vincent's son Edgar Anderson, while McKinley Belcher III (Marriage Story) plays Detective Michael Ledroit and Dan Fogler (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) is playing Lennie Wilson. Clarke Peters (The Wire) is also starring as janitor George Lovett who works in the apartment block where Vincent and his family live..

Jeff Hephner plays Richard Castillo, Phoebe Nicholls is Anne Anderson, Amy Lou Pemberton is Dana Noakes, Donald Sage Mackay is Jerry, Erika Soto is Tina McCloud, John Doman is Robert Anderson, Orlando Norman is Ricardo and William Hope is Commissioner Nelson.

Gaby Hoffman in Eric.

Gaby Hoffman as Cassie in Eric. (Image credit: Netflix)

Detective Michael Ledroit.

McKinley Belcher III as Detective Michael Ledroit in Eric. (Image credit: Netflix)

Clarke Peters as George Lovett.

Clarke Peters as George Lovett. (Image credit: Netflix)

McKinley Belcher III on playing Detective Ledroit

McKinley Belcher III gives the lowdown on playing Detective Ledroit... He says: "The detective I play is a Black man in New York, in the ‘80s, who is queer but who understands that he lives in a world that is not ready to receive him as such. If he were to live openly and out loud there would be serious consequences for that kind of transparency. He started in Vice and several things happened while he was there which aren't in the show, but which we get windows into through his interactions with other characters. It was not a pleasant experience for the man that he is and how people perceive him. Being in Missing Persons is a better fit, but he's constantly managing how to present himself, being the "other" and people having expectations of what the limitations on him are. There are so many characters from so many different walks of life we get to see him interact with; people that he grew up with, people who are at a higher status workwise, but as a Black officer, he's interacting with a lot of White people and there are various things at play in many of those interactions. Also entering a club or an atmosphere where he can exist in a freer way, you get to see how comfortable or uncomfortable he is with that. Walking through all those dynamics is revelatory about who this man is and how he sees himself."

McKinley Belcher in Eric

McKinley Belcher III as Detective Ledroit in Eric (Image credit: Ludovic Robert/Netflix)

Behind the scenes and more on Netflix series Eric

Eric is written by Abi Morgan, who's best known for her Margaret Thatcher movie The Iron Lady, other films such as Suffragette BBC series The Hour and Channel 4's Sex Traffic

Eric is directed by Lucy Forbes and created by the SISTER production company. Executive Producers are Abi Morgan, Jane Featherstone, Lucy Dyke, Lucy Forbes and Benedict Cumberbatch.

Abi Morgan revealed at a Netflix event in March 2024: "Okay. So Eric is set in mid Eighties New York. And it's an emotional thriller that follows the journey of Vincent Anderson, a puppeteer and creator of Good Day Sunshine, which is one of America's leading puppet shows. It traces his journey as he tries to find what's happened to his son Edgar, who disappears. It's really about Vincent's journey, not only into the heart of New York and everything that it offers in the mid eighties, but also into himself. And it's about his relationship with his wife, Cassie, but it's also his journey to really find where Edgar is. And what's key to that is he finds some drawings of Eric, which is a puppet, that Edgar has created, and he convinces himself if he can get Eric on TV, then maybe his son will come back. So it's about this man who, through this creation, starts to understand more about himself and then goes onto a deeper and darker journey through New York."

Nicholas Cannon
TV Content Director on TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week

I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.