Definitely contains massive spoilers….
Wow. I had heard that this episode had a shock ending, but I was not prepared for that. But let’s start from the beginning.
Following from last week’s opening episode, Steve Arnott is still investigating Tony Gates (Lennie James). He comes to the squad room to look over case files and Kate (Vicky McClure) keeps on hinting that he should look into the Hit and Run case, that we as viewers know involves Gates covering up for his girlfriend, Jackie Laverty (Gina McKee). Steve doesn’t listen at first, and is more concerned about the way Gates is ‘laddering’ cases i.e. adding charges to cases so it looks like more crimes are being committed; and about the free breakfast Gates got last week for helping a mugging. Arnott goes to the cafe and finds out that Gates was there with a 40-ish woman with brown hair and eventually connects the dots to Jackie Laverty (whom Gates uses the age-old trick of having in his phone as ‘Jack’ Laverty in case his wife ever sees who is calling him all the time).
Meanwhile, in what seems like unconnected news, Gates’ squad are investigating the murder of the drug dealers from last week who had their fingers chopped off. It becomes quickly apparent that Gates was not involved in the murder as I thought at one point last week. Neil Morrissey with a limp and a walking stick, and the other guy, who I finally realised who he was – the parole officer in Misfits – are working on the case alongside Kate and the Asian dude on their squad. Gates interviews a suspect called Wesley – a young black dude who doesn’t know much. Meanwhile, the police department is on alert to investigate burglaries as priority that week. There are lots of little things going on this episode to show the realities of police life in the UK at the moment – all the paperwork they go through, the short cuts, a joke about health and safety, and cover-ups when they make a burglar confess to numerous earlier burglaries that he didn’t commit just so they can look as though they’re solved.
So we start following a young blonde officer and a different Asian police officer, who go to an estate. It’s where Wesley deals in drugs, and an elderly resident who keeps on getting his house burgled live. Someone rings up Wesley and threatens him in the same way that the drug dealers were murdered unless he gives them back his smack. There’s a mix-up with a young boy and then later on they come and kill him – cutting off his fingers and hanging him up by a lamp-post. So far, so grizzly.
Meanwhile, again, we see a bit more of Gates’ home life. One of his daughters gives a piano recital at a posh independent school. The other he comforts when she has nightmares. But, even though he has worked out that the hit and run of Jackie Laverty’s accountant was not a coincidence and that she must have deliberately murdered him, he’s still attracted to her and phone sex attempts. We see that Gates is torn between duty and cover-up, between his mistress and his family, and I flittered between empathy and no sympathy at all.
Arnott investigates Laverty further and realises that she is involved in money-laundering. He goes to see her and tells her to come in the next day at 9am for questioning. But when he returns to the office, his boss tells him that the wrongful shooting case from the opening to the series is being reopened and his colleagues are blaming him for telling them to go to the wrong flat, so he’s off the Gates case. He goes out, but Kate is calling him – Gates left work hurriedly. She tells him to go to Laverty’s house to catch him in the act. We get to Laverty’s house- Gates had tried to arrest Laverty but then realised he couldn’t let the truth out – so he’s getting drunk on whiskey when there’s a knock at the door. We think it’s Arnott who’s going to catch them, but it’s three guys in black and balaclavas. They hit Gates on the head and they slit Jackie’s throat. Just like that. She’s lying there on the floor, dead, with all this blood coming out of her neck and Gates is lying on the floor beside her too. Wow. Did not see that happening. So will the truth inevitably come out now or not? It can’t be that simple – still a few more episodes to go and the layering and detail continues to impress.