‘Waking The Dead’: Series 9 episode guide

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BBC One’s cold cases crime drama Waking The Dead returns for a ninth and final series next month. Boyd is back leading the Met’s Cold Case Unit and investigating more unsolved crimes with his team: Grace, Eve and Spence.

> Buy the Series 9 boxset on Amazon.

> Buy the Complete Series 1-9 boxset on Amazon.

Det Supt Peter Boyd is played by Trevor Eve, Dr Grace Foley by Sue Johnston, Eve Lockhart by Tara FitzGerald, DI Spencer Jordan by Wil Johnson, and Det Supt Sarah Cavendish by Eva Birthistle.


Episode 1: ‘Harbinger (Part 1)’
Sunday 13th March 2011, 9pm

In tonight’s opening episode, the team acquires a new member. When brilliant ex-counter-terrorism officer Sarah Cavendish is foisted on Boyd by his superiors, he is given little choice but to keep her out of “harm’s way”. Sarah matches Boyd in rank; it’s the first time he has worked with someone of an equivalent level. Sarah’s capabilities means she quickly ingratiates herself with her new colleagues; but as her symptoms of post-traumatic stress become increasingly apparent there is mounting concern for her welfare.

In the first case of the new series, the empty and abandoned car of banker Donald Rees – who went missing three years ago – is discovered. Boyd decides to take on the case to help the man’s seemingly cursed family find closure. The youngest daughter, Nicola, died of cancer shortly before the father’s disappearance, and since then his wife, Julie, has also contracted cancer.

The team go back through the files as Boyd tries to retrace the last known movements of Donald Rees. This leads them to a conspiracy theorist whom Donald sought out while trying to find someone in the medical profession to blame for his daughter’s death; and to an elderly couple, oddly dressed in funeral garb, who were watching his family.

The team finally identify who the elderly couple are – Mr and Mrs Geiger – but discover that they too disappeared, last seen on the day Donald quit his job at the bank and gave them £100,000 in cash. The couple’s corpses are discovered at an abandoned paper mill and, soon after, a WPC assigned to guard the dead couple’s house is killed when she walks in on an intruder trying to burn down the premises. Can the team discover what secrets lurk at the heart of this unfortunate family?


Episode 2: ‘Harbinger (Part 2)’
Monday 14th March 2011, 9pm

Boyd feels he has come to know the missing man and is convinced that Donald Rees is not a murderer. He pushes his team to look harder at all the possibilities.

Another person interested in Donald’s disappearance and the discovery of the Geigers’ corpses comes to light: a nurse called Una, who was in attendance the night the Geigers’ son died in the A&E ward.

Meanwhile, Grace and Spencer search through the material from Donald’s flat and find a list of oncologists with dates and times beside each name. They seek out the first person on the list, a doctor who Donald went to see the same week he had quit his job. Dr Appleyard explains that when he had initially treated Donald’s daughter, Nicola, he’d run a CT scan which showed no traces of cancer, but Julie was unconvinced and asked for further tests, which he refused. Three years later, Julie brought Nicola in again for treatment, when the child was riddled with cancer. Donald came to him, not to point the finger, but to clarify dates and the amount of treatment given to his daughter.

Eve’s forensic analysis on the Geigers reveals they were both struck down by a car, most likely at the paper mill where their bodies were found. When Boyd goes back to the site to investigate, they come across the property’s security man, Glenn – the A&E nurse’s husband. Boyd suspects Glenn may have been the arsonist who killed the WPC but can’t prove it and has to let him go.

With so many different fragments to piece together, Boyd and his team have to use their wits to expose the evil lurking within the heart of this ill-fated family. And it becomes evident that Sarah is not going to see eye to eye with Boyd’s somewhat unorthodox methods in obtaining results…


Episode 3: ‘Care (Part 1)’
Sunday 20th March 2011, 9pm

A woman is found stabbed in the eyes and incinerated in her car. The woman is identified as Claire Somers, a neglected child who was taken into care, then abducted from her care home in 1986, aged seven, and missing ever since. The same night as her abduction, the care home manager, Robert Fenchurch, also had his eyes stabbed out as the abductor fled the scene. The cold case squad must discover if the same killer has struck some 25 years later.

The team discover that, prior to her murder, Claire had abducted 15-year-old Abigail Harding, who was found locked in a hotel room. When pressed on whether Claire had any accomplices, Abigail recounts a nightmare vision from a fairytale – a masked and eyeless child-stealer, the Bag Man. Her family can’t shed any light on why Claire targeted Abigail, and insist the Bag Man was just a scary story they used to tell each other…

Piecing together Claire’s recent life, the team track down a doctor who had been treating her, and are shocked to discover it is Teresa Harding, the elder sister of the kidnapped Abigail.

Finally, the team get a break. Trish Somers, Claire’s mother, attacked a man called Terry Reid in a pub, but came off worst. Terry was ruled out of the initial investigation, but he was a known pimp who ran seaside trips for the young residents of Endsleigh Lodge. Terry admits the care home was a den of iniquity, and that he and the murdered manager, Fenchurch, profited from prostituting the children.

As the focus of the investigation turns to the care home, Spencer suspects its manager, Peter Broading. As he goes out for the night, Teresa Harding returns to her lonely flat. There, utterly terrified, she is stalked by phone calls. A ghoul from childhood nightmares … or has the Bag Man himself come to get her?


Episode 4: ‘Care (Part 2)’
Monday 21st March 2011, 9pm

The team deduce that Teresa was fleeing from someone or something in her room – and was willing to take her own life rather than face them. Meanwhile, Peter Broading’s psych report throws up a vital detail. He had been branded by cigarettes as a child and became convinced the burn-holes were eyes looking at him.

Boyd breaks Broading. He admits he was part of Fenchurch’s corrupt regime, but Fenchurch was far from the worst thing Endsleigh Lodge had to offer. David Drew – a boy of no more than nine years old – spearheaded the violence and torment. He punished Broading with cigarette burns for being Fenchurch’s lackey. He even defied Fenchurch; he was as fearless as he was terrifying.

Recovering from her attack in hospital, Trish Somers offers Sarah a line of enquiry. She admits that young Claire had sent her a letter a couple of years after her disappearance, telling her mother how happy she was. Trish insists her daughter was better off without her. Tracking down the letter, then working on its degraded and charred remains, the team learn where Claire Somers was taken.

Boyd and Sarah break into the abandoned cottage that housed this girl’s family. In the children’s bedroom they find nightmarish child’s drawings on the wall. These children knew the Bag Man too.

As the team race to find the answers, they force the killer – this horrifying tormentor, the Bag Man – to act against them. Can they solve the riddle of a darkly secret family, and its damaged youth, before more blood is spilt?


Episode 5: ‘Solidarity (Part 1)’
Sunday 27th March 2011, 9pm

The Cold Case team are called to a chamber of a little-known subterranean river. The corpse of notorious Falklands’ veteran-turned-peace activist Piers Kennedy – missing since 1983 and rumoured by conspiracy theorists to have been killed by the state – has been found … directly under the Ministry of Defence.

Piers, formerly a leading light of the Young Conservatives, changed fundamentally after a bullet wound he received in battle became infected. Disgusted with the army, he joined the peace movement. In doing so, he gave the Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons an incalculable boon – a right-wing war hero speaking up against nukes. Boyd investigates this most political of conversions and Piers’s mysterious disappearance.

Boyd focuses on the founder of the CANW, Ralph Palmer. The co-founder of CANW, his partner Bonnie Yorke, was having an affair with Piers, the movement’s new poster boy. Meanwhile, the woman who Bonnie replaced, Piers’s jilted fiancée, Lucy Christie – daughter of the junior Minister for Defence at the time and now a Tory MP herself – has substantial motive too.

Grace has a personal interest in the case – she was an anti-nukes demonstrator in the Eighties and had a passionate but fleeting relationship with one of Piers’s fellow veterans, Murray Stuart, a wired and apparently dangerous individual who is sitting on a giant secret.

As the team burrow deep into the paranoid, polarised world of early Eighties British national security, they uncover camcorder footage of masked CANW activists performing a guerrilla attack on a nuclear convoy. The masked men were involved in a clash with the police and an MoD policeman was killed. The team realise they have just watched the very thing MI5 wanted to stay hushed up…


Episode 6: ‘Solidarity (Part 2)’
Monday 28th March 2011, 9pm

Grace admits to the team the full extent of her relationship with Murray. However, she insists Murray was actually relieved that the PR stunt by CANW didn’t make the news. The team surmise that MI5 deliberately hushed up this embarrassing incident.

Grace puts it to the team that this militant action would never have been beneficial to the peace movement. Looking again at the footage, they see Piers purposefully touching the warhead – he wanted to be identified and caught. They interview Bonnie, but she denies being the female activist and has no idea what Piers had been planning.

Boyd insists that Grace bait Murray to get information, despite Sarah and Spence warning of the danger this man could pose. Boyd puts one of his own in peril, signalling danger for Grace and triggering Sarah to act in haste. The ramifications of Sarah’s actions impact on Boyd and ultimately shake the Cold Case squad to their core.


Episode 7: ‘Conviction (Part 1)’
Sunday 3rd April 2011, 9pm

Karl Barclay, a medical student missing for six years, comes to the attention of the Cold Case team when his DNA matches that of a corpse also found six years ago in Hales reservoir. As Eve discovers signs of torture on the corpse, Boyd wants to know why the case hadn’t rung alarm bells earlier, and becomes increasingly suspicious that there has been a cover up.

Boyd learns of the family tension that erupted when Karl’s evangelical Christian mother, Lisbetta, discovered his conversion to Islam. Meanwhile, Karl’s secret stash of Islamic material seems to point to a terror plot. Via her all-knowing ex-colleagues in counter-terrorism, Sarah confirms that Karl was on a watch list.

An increasingly unhinged Lisbetta attacks a member of the public, insisting he killed her son. After Boyd tells Gideon and Jakob that Karl was on the police’s watch list – suspected of terrorist activity – Lisbetta admits to Gideon that she “had to stop” Karl…


Episode 7: ‘Conviction (Part 2)’
Monday 4th 2011, 9pm

The Cold Case Squad consider Karl as a would-be bomber who, backing out of a planned atrocity, was killed by his fellow extremists. However, key forensics indicates that Karl fell to his death from an airplane, pointing to an unpalatable possibility – state murder and cover up.

Aware that Sarah has recently made an official recommendation for Boyd’s removal, MI5 manipulate the crippling self-doubt that has dominated Sarah since the operation that left her colleague dead. Meanwhile, she feels a profound guilt for misjudging Boyd – the one person who may be able to redeem her.

As the Cold Case team crack the real identities of the players, they find themselves pitted against an uncompromising and powerful set of adversaries.


Episode 9: ‘Waterloo (Part 1)’
Sunday 10th April 2011, 9pm

Boyd is informed he will be moved out of the Cold Case Unit. As his last case, he chooses to re-investigate the first case he worked on: the disappearance of 16 homeless teenage boys between 1979 and 1982.

The boys were taken at precise three-month intervals, suggesting their disappearance was the work of a sociopath. However, the team have no new leads. Grace puts it to Boyd that his choice to take this as his last case, so close to his heart yet almost certainly unsolvable, is some desperate form of displacement: he still hasn’t properly grieved for his dead son, Luke.

When the team learn of the road death of a teenage boy in 1982 on the M11, they close in on the abductor’s horrific lair – an underground torture chamber. Eve sets to work and discovers the dismembered corpses of all the missing boys and the team’s first lead: the gun used to execute them was also used in the killing of Stanley Heath, a police officer, in 1959.

Boyd interrogates the officer’s son, Jason, and learns that his father carried a terrible secret – the murder of a man in custody. Of particular interest to the team, the man in question was father to the current Assistant Chief Commissioner, Tony Nicholson. And Nicholson, as a young PC many years ago, collared a man attempting to abduct a homeless boy in Soho … but let him go.

A guilt-ridden Sarah decides to follow Nicholson to learn more of his interest in the case, in a desperate attempt to atone for her role in Boyd’s sacking. With Boyd more isolated and reckless than ever, the team uncovers a staggering secret from the past, which finds them playing a chess game for their lives…


Episode 10: ‘Waterloo (Part 2)
Monday 11th April 2011, 9pm

In the final ever episode of Waking The Dead, Boyd returns to the torture chamber to find Nicholson is already there – grimly accepting that he indeed let the killer go all those years ago. Nicholson thinks Jason Heath is the culprit, but Grace is not convinced.

As the investigation continues, Sarah has gone astray and the team are forced to report her missing. When Sarah’s abandoned car is discovered her disappearance causes increasing concern for her welfare.

Nicholson tells Boyd to stay focused on the M11 murders – he’ll deal with Sarah’s disappearance. The team grow ever more suspicious of him, and Grace joins Spencer and Boyd at Boyd’s house to discuss Nicholson’s involvement, while Eve starts processing Sarah’s car. They know Nicholson’s protecting the killer, but can’t understand why.

Eve contacts Boyd about a blood sample in Sarah’s car, but Nicholson seems to be constantly one step ahead of them as the sample disappears before Eve can test it. Nicholson tells Boyd his investigation has failed. He offers Boyd his job back if he frames Jason Heath for the murder of his father. Boyd plays along; but just as the team is making headway a murdered body is found at Boyd’s home and he is arrested. Does Boyd have any more moves available against this deadliest of foes? And who is the new victim in this devastating final case?