‘Marcella’ Season 1 episode guide

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ITV’s Marcella is a new original, multi-stranded crime drama from the creator of The Bridge.

Written by Swedish novelist Hans Rosenfeldt, the eight-part series is described as “noir thriller told with Rosenfeldt’s unflinchingly multi layered Nordic style.”

Anna Friel leads the cast, alongside Downton Abbey star Laura Carmichael, Nicholas Pinnock (Fortitude), Ian Puleston-Davies (Being Human), Nina Sosanya (Last Tango in Halifax), Ray Panthaki (Convenience), Jamie Bamber (Battlestar Galactica), Patrick Baladi (Mistresses) and Harry Lloyd (The Theory of Everything).

Marcella (Anna Friel) gets involved in a serial murder case where the modus operandi of the killer bares a striking resemblance to an unsolved spate of killings from a decade ago.

> Buy Marcella on DVD on Amazon.


Episode 1

Monday 4 April 2016, 9pm

> Read our review.

After 11 years’ absence away from the force, DS Marcella Backland finds herself drawn back to police work following the return of the Grove Park Killer, her last case before she left to start a family. In 2005, the killer tied the victims’ hands and feet with cable ties before taping a plastic bag around their heads. The case went cold. But now, over ten years later, it seems he has returned.

Marcella is driven by the news that her previous lead suspect, Peter Cullen, is out of prison for manslaughter and now working in a bakery on a prison placement scheme. But nobody else on her team thinks it could be Peter, and Marcella’s lone wolf approach quickly alienates her new colleagues.

But Marcella’s also preoccupied with the breakdown of her 15-year marriage to Jason Backland.  It’s a huge blow to her when he tells her he no longer loves her.  She believed they were happy.

Marcella suspects Jason may be having an affair and she follows him in her car.  But what will she discover?

Marcella is next seen sitting, crying in her bath, covered in mud and blood. A nasty gash on her forehead.  But how has she come to be in this state?

Throughout the course of the episode, we’re introduced to the Gibson family and their company, DTG Construction: one of the country’s largest developers. Tension is rife within the family as CEO Sylvie Gibson clashes with her errant stepson Henry over the best way to take their development in Lambeth forward. Caught in the crossfire is DTG’s Head of Legal, Jason and Sylvie’s daughter and Head of Finance, Grace Gibson. We also meet Cara, a young, spirited woman who has devised a con to steal from people using the casual affairs app, Sinnr.


Episode 2

Monday 11 April 2016, 9pm

> Read our review.

Marcella tries to make sense of the previous evening’s events.

Meanwhile, the Gibson family are in a state of panic when Grace is discovered missing, and Marcella scours CCTV footage in an attempt to discover more about Grace’s disappearance.

Cara returns home from her latest Sinnr exploit. She’s managed to swipe a watch, some earrings and a bracelet. Cara’s unaware of their significance and the danger she’s put herself in – all of these items are recognisable as trophies taken by the Grove Park Killer.

Peter Cullen continues his prison work placement at the bakery and is delighted by his budding friendship with a young postgraduate student called Maddy. Marcella warns Maddy that Peter’s dangerous, but Maddy assumes she’s safe – Peter’s supervisor Guy is always with him. But later in the episode, we see Guy head out with Peter and leave him to his own devices.

We’re introduced to two new characters in this episode: Yann and Matthew. The couple have moved to London from Norwich but are struggling to survive in the city. Matthew turns to his best friend Henry for financial support whilst Yann reports on the murder of a member of his AA group… but could Yann’s fascination be masking something more sinister?


Episode 3

Monday 18 April 2016, 9pm

> Read our review.

Marcella is traumatised. How could she have known where Grace’s body was? Is she responsible for burying her there?

Grace’s body is discovered by the police and Marcella tries to keep her head, hiding the fact that she was one of the last people to see Grace alive. She’s a capable liar with her colleagues.

As Jason grieves the death of his girlfriend and Marcella struggles with her demons of what she might be capable of, when in fugue…. the pair unexpectedly cling to each other. Their sex isn’t a romantic revival, more the collision of two people lost in their own problems. Later, Marcella discovers the true extent of Jason’s affair and enacts her own cruel revenge.

Meanwhile, Grace’s death devastates the Gibson family. Sylvie is distraught at the loss of her daughter and her dismay is further compounded when she learns that Grace and Jason were secretly having an affair. Sylvie Gibson cannot condone being double-crossed.

Henry tries to find comfort with his friends’ Matthew and Yann, who are themselves having conflict about Matthew’s closeness to Henry and their financial dependency on him. Yann’s insecurities and jealousy are growing….

Meanwhile, Peter is released from open prison and makes a beeline for Maddy. She’s wary of his over-familiar nature but lies to him about having a boyfriend, cautious of how he may react to the truth.

We also meet new characters – Bendek and Linda. Bendek is a lodger at Linda and Stuart’s, having recently arrived from Poland. He brings with him a distinct sense of unease, illustrated by how he deals with his xenophobic foreman at work.

In the investigation: A trophy taken from a victim is discovered in a pawnshop. When the team investigate, the pawnshop owner tells them that the woman who sold him the goods was involved in a fight with a boy near the shop. Marcella interviews the boy, Evan, who has to admit that he recognised the girl, Cara, from a sex chat site.

Marcella and the team head to find Cara, knowing that she has seen the killer and is now in danger.


Episode 4

Monday 25 April 2016, 9pm

> Read our review.

Clive Bonn (Andrew Lancel) is brought in for questioning.

Meanwhile, Maddy (Laura Carmichael) can’t get hold of Adrian (Nick Hendrix) after their last fight and Peter (Ian Puleston-Davies) is still pursuing her. He surprises her on her doorstep and walks her to her university. As she’s about to leave, he gives her a gift-wrapped present, its significance will later be horrifically telling for Maddy.

Laura (Nina Sosanya) and Rav  (Ray Panthaki) question Marcella about why she was looking at CCTV from Grace’s house, but Marcella manages to conceal the truth. She’s told to look through it again for a minicab as one has been seen near two of the previous victims’ houses.

Laura pressures Marcella to give her DNA after blood is found at Grace Gibson’s house. Marcella, realising that the blood is probably hers, devises a plan to avoid the truth coming out. Marcella’s brilliant ability to deceive once again comes to the fore.

Whilst re-examining the CCTV, Marcella is horrified to find a minicab was parked outside Grace’s house on the night of the murder. She realises that there’s an eyewitness who could have seen her. Marcella rushes to the cab office to talk to the driver, Hassan El Sayed (Youssef Kerkour).

Sylvie (Sinead Cusask) tries to put her daughter’s death to one side by refocusing on the Lambeth project. But her attempts to charm the Chief Planning Officer, Andrew Barnes (George Anton), fall short. He tells her and Henry that DTG have three days to ensure that Lambeth complies with the planning permission agreement or face the construction being halted. In an about turn, Sylvie instructs Henry (Harry Lloyd) to see to it.

An elderly man comes home from a walk; the killer waits inside his house, but is scared off by his dog. When the police arrive on the scene they discover a PVC hotel card dropped in the garden and a male size 9-shoe print. Marcella remembers that Peter is a size 9 and wants to bring him in for questioning.

Jason (Nicholas Pinnock) struggles to come to terms with the death of his pregnant mistress. He heads to Grace’s house in an attempt to move on, but is shocked when he finds Stephen (Patrick Baladi) crying on Grace’s bed.


Episode 5

Monday 2 May 2016, 9pm

> Read our review.

Marcella (Anna Friel) is back to the drawing board after realising Peter Cullen (Ian Pulseton-Davies) can’t be the culprit for the current spate of murders. Cara’s sex-cam threats lead back to the IT business owned by Gibson family friend, Matthew (Ben Cura). When questioned he denies having any involvement.

Marcella plays Peter at his own psychological games in the interrogation room, taunting him as a disappointing failure. His pride pricked, Peter cracks and makes a confession.

Jason (Nicholas Pinnock) meets with DTG’s intelligence firm to get leverage on Andrew Barnes (George Anton) so he can claw his job back by getting the Lambeth project back on track. The firm’s agent, Stuart, explains that Barnes is spotless. Afterwards, in private, Jason accepts some “unofficial” help from Stuart in dealing with the man blocking the development. Their conversation is left open ended and open to much interpretation.

Hassan (Youssef Kerkour) tells Marcella he remembers seeing a woman leave Grace’s house on the night of her murder. Marcella recognises herself in his description… yet he doesn’t seem to know her.  Mo (Yasen Atour) is fearful after his brother talks to the police, and he’s proved right when later that evening he discovers Hassan shot dead in his car. Distraught by his brother’s death, he vows to take revenge.

Jason approaches Henry (Harry Lloyd) proposing that they present a reworked Lambeth project to Sylvie (Sinead Cusack). Henry agrees, providing he gets to question Marcella about Grace’s death.  He wants answers.

Rav’s (Ray Panthaki) team are onto another lead: the name last used on the keycard dropped in Walter’s garden was Bendek (Emil Hostina). Bendek sullenly insists he left his keycard at the hotel’s reception. Upon further investigation, the hotel CCTV shows someone stealing a random card from a bowl on the desk  – but his face is covered by a hoodie, much to Marcella’s frustration. Who took the card?

The following morning at DTG, Henry and Jason drop their surprise on Sylvie: a new, profitable plan for Lambeth that Barnes can’t object to.  Impressed, Sylvie allows Jason his job back. That night however, Jason is horrified when Stuart calls to say he’s ‘got rid’ of the Lambeth problem.  What does this mean?

After the police are called to Hassan’s body, Mark (Jack Doolan) does some digging: Hassan had been granted UK citizenship but had two taxi jobs – one of which was being worked by his illegal immigrant brother: Mo. Realising Mo may have seen the killer outside Grace’s, the team get on his trail. But will Mo expose Marcella’s involvement?


Episode 6

Monday 9 May 2016, 9pm

> Read our review.

The killer targets a six-year-old girl, which devastates Marcella.

A DNA match on the corpse gives the police team their strongest lead yet.

DI Tim Williamson investigates Andrew Barnes’ death – was it really suicide?


Episode 7

Monday 16 May 2016, 9pm

> Read our review.

Mo El Sayed holds Marcella hostage at home. He saw her move Grace’s body and wants a confession for killing Hassan. Did she murder him to stop him speaking up?

Marcella falls into a fugue state as Mo holds a knife to her throat, but when she comes to, she’s alone and untied. Why did Mo leave her unharmed?

DI Tim Williamson questions Sylvie about DTG’s relationship with Andrew Barnes. They’re under the spotlight, after Tim learns they had a lot to gain from Barnes’ demise. When the line of enquiry reaches Jason, things get heated.

At the police station, Marcella suspects Yann is too emotional to be the killer after he has a panic attack in his cell. His behaviour isn’t indicative of someone capable of murder. Marcella argues her case with the rest of the team, claiming the DNA evidence held against him is weak; hairs ripped from the head contain far more roots than the ones found in Beth’s hand. Could the hair have been planted on the scene?

Marcella watches her son perform in his school talent show, whilst Jason pays off Stuart who is blackmailing him with an incriminating photograph that proves his involvement in Barnes’ death. But we see Stuart’s double crossed him: he pockets Jason’s money and splits it with Bendek. Will this put the matter to bed?

At the talent show, Edward and Emma are disappointed that their Dad missed the show and blame Marcella for their divorce. Marcella cracks and tells them that their father is to blame for the end of their marriage. She arrives home, upset, only to find Jason there, making himself comfortable.  How will Marcella react?

Rav’s suspicions finally shift to a new suspect whose jumper is identified as the one worn by the man who stole the hotel keycard. The team are hot on the trail, but what will they find out and will this take the investigation on another path?

Meanwhile, Stuart and Linda are horrified to find Bendek dead in his room from autoerotic asphyxiation. The police find Bendek’s half of the money in his room and work out he was blackmailing someone with the photo on his phone. Laura recognises Jason from the photo, and takes it straight to Tim.

That evening, Tim approaches Marcella flirtatiously – but is he just using her to investigate her ex?


Episode 8

Tuesday 17 May 2016, 9pm

> Read our review.

After spending the night with Tim, Marcella challenges the team’s hunch on the killer’s identity. She’s closing in….

The pressure mounts on Jason as Tim’s investigation gets closer to connecting him with the murder of Andrew Barnes.

Finally, the killer’s identity is discovered causing shockwaves amongst the team.


> Buy Marcella on DVD on Amazon.

Watch the trailer…

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