Okay, so where were we with Traces? We’re in last December and definitely not in the middle of a global pandemic. I don’t know about you, but I could definitely use a nice, soothing murder procedural to take my mind off things. Let’s roll into Traces S1:E1.3 after the break!
So! Lots happened last time on Traces, we found out that murder victim Marie Monroe (Carly Anderson) was up to hanky panky with her ex-partner Drew Cubbin (John Gordon Sinclair) in her good friend Izzy Alessi’s (Laurie Brett) bed shortly before her death, could she have been killed by her partner at the time? Ginger Jimmy Levin (Phil McKee) has a history of bad temper and, erm, red hair, so.
I’m sure it’s not that simple, for one thing Marie’s daughter Emma (Molly Windsor) has been checking around with old friends. Izzy’s daughter Skye (Jamie Marie Leary) has gone out of her way to lie about that but it seems more ominous than that.
Anyway, Emma went shouting about this shagging shenanigans to all sorts of people, including her boss Professor Sarah Gordon (Laura Fraser whom I know from Retribution/One Of Us!), who was kind enough to connect her to D.I. Neil McKinven (Michael Nardone who has had an interesting career, hasn’t he? I last saw him in Guilt, before that in The Night Manager and long ago in Rose and Maloney with Sarah Lancashire. He’s gone from sexy bad boys to cuddly professionals, I kind of love that) who warned her to stop messing about. It wasn’t just that she found the photo, she’s also been asking everyone why her mum was dismembered, which is what Izzy said to her, but only the murderer and some select police knew that.
Emma kind of dropped it, mostly because she was distracted by handsome stranger Daniel MacAfee (Martin Compston from Line of Duty of course) whom I don’t trust whatsoever.
Also, I looked up their age gap, it’s only 13 years, pish posh.
There is where we kick in! With Emma and Daniel leaving his apartment holding hands all cozy and post coital-ish.
Emma goes home to get ready for work, that’s two nights in a row out shagging two different blokes, Skye ribs her gently. I just hope Emma used protection this time, I’ve heard taking Plan B can he hard on the system and back to back would be miserable.
Emma thinks she’s head over heels in love, awww! She makes bad choices.
Ah she wants to know about the picture. Emma only told Skye and a couple others about it, she got a nasty call the night before from Drew saying they needed to talk about it. But when Emma asks Skye how she would have known she’s seen it, Skye doesn’t have an answer. She’s a teeerrrrible liar.
I thought it was Emma’s dad Drew who called all angry, but I think Emma says “your dad” to Skye, so I may be wrong.
Although D.I. Neil McKinven is helping Emma a bit, his day job involves investigating a recent fire at the nightclub Secrets which killed three people. We’re pretty sure the manager Shuggie Brook (John Clyde) set the fire for insurance purposes, inadvertently murdering his niece and the fellow staff member she was secretly having an affair with. Shuggie subsequently committed suicide, presumably out of guilt, but there’s another dead person at the scene and nobody knows why yet. Related is the fact that Emma’s new lovah lovah Daniel said that he was somehow responsible for the death(s)/arson. We just don’t know why/how yet.
We’re with Neil and his partner Trina (Morayo Akande) workshopping the arson and murders led by DCI Catherine Attwood (Frances Grey), your basic gloryhound arrogant bastage from headquarters. There’s someone above her that she’s got to answer to, no name but I shall dub him Cueball for his clean and shiny pate. Cueball is interested in the building company’s culpability, I bet that’s where our Daniel comes in.
Wait! Cueball is Procurator Fiscal John Harvey (John Tarlton) how did I miss that? It’s literally right there.
Neil heads over check on the Marie Monroe murder with his unnamed boss, who I shall dub Vestie for his snazzy wardrobe. Vestie advises Neil to check with Emma’s dad Drew and get this party re-started. People knowing about the holdback detail of dismemberment is a big deal.
I’m not sure, but Vestie may be DS Gavin Blair (Peter Forbes) as his is the only name in credits I couldn’t identify.
Emma works at Professor Sarah Gordon’s lab, who is working on the arson, but Emma isn’t. Instead she’s analysing street drugs, when she isn’t taking them herself. Molly works closely with Louise Chiu Jones (Anna Leong Brophy).
Sarah is working on the arson with colleague Professor Kathy Torrence (Jennifer Spencer), a no-nonsense professional who is dealing with some personal matters at the same time. By personal matters, I mean one-time hookup Pia Salvador (Joana Borja) showed up at her place of work and freaked her out.
Sarah and Kathy work on the arson report, then they review the murder of Marie Monroe. There’s some complication because Sarah built an online training system called The MOOC, perhaps unconsciously modeling it after Marie’s murder. This was understandably upsetting for Emma, when she started the training program and saw all the detail.
Sarah felt bad, so she asked Neil to look into the case to see if there were similarities and that’s how he got involved and met Emma in the first place.
Emma herself is off work and visiting her dad, who looks as angry as he sounded last night. He’s a little annoyed that she went through his stuff, but mostly irritated that she didn’t ask him about it and instead went around waving it at people.
Emma only went looking through his things because some guy was banging on the door at 3 am screaming that he wanted stuff, she assumed it was drugs and looked everywhere remotely secretive.
We never did find out what happened to the guy, one minute he was pounding away then she found the photo and that was it.
Drew says the picture was just what it looks like, grown people resting after shagging. He says it was 2000, is that close to Marie’s death? Who took the picture? Izzy, of course, since it was Izzy’s bed and it was just ex-sex, happened once in a while and no biggie, I guess?
He doesn’t think any of this is Emma’s business and I sure wouldn’t want to know any of that about my parents, you know? Yuck. Drew was in jail? The brig? The rig? When Marie went missing, he has an ironclad alibi and he won’t tell her who told him she had seen the picture, so something weird is going on for sure.
She says she won’t tell Jimmy, her mother’s actual partner at the time, but has told the police. He’s not happy about that at all.
She rides her bike away, not accepting Neil’s calls but meeting Daniel for lunch instead. Wow, he’s as far gone as she is.
His dad calling interrupts this lovefest, he puts him on speakerphone so we can hear his dad swear and talk about preparing him for the construction job at Secrets nighclub, which we know is now ashes. Daniel was the foreman on that job, so he will probably bear some responsibility if there was structural issues.
Molly runs into work late after lunch, Louise is totally chill about it and confirms that the rest of team is working on the fire that Daniel’s been talking about.
Drew Cubbin comes to see Neil, they go for a coffee to discuss The Picture, which Drew is kind enough to provide. Drew’s fishing for information, but he offers a far too personal reason for the picture. Apparently is was difficult for Marie to reach orgasm, but Drew knew what to do and so they came to an “occasional” arrangement to take care of business. Neil and I are grossed out to know this about the dead woman.
Drew goes on to say that Marie would never leave Jimmy, to whom she had a physical aversion, because he supported her. Wait. It wasn’t that she wasn’t able to get off with Jimmy, it’s that she couldn’t stand to have him touch her? That’s a whole ‘nother ballgame.
Neil asks about Izzy, whether she was involved with Drew or Marie intimately, that is a very personal photograph after all. Drew laughs but Neil and I are watching him very closely.
Something is hinky…
Drew chokes through an explanation of how they three were together, they’d known each other from so young that they naturally reverted to that state whenever they hung out.
Neil asked why Drew didn’t mention the closer connection to Marie during the investigation, but Drew says it doesn’t matter. No way Jimmy had the balls to murder Marie. Neil thinks he’s all done here, pulling out an evidence bag and asking Drew about making a statement and giving DNA. Drew is visibly discomfited.
Back at the university, Kathy is working away when assistant Gregg (Ciaran Alexander Stewart) asks her if the mysterious P who sent Kathy a postcard about a visit is the Pia who popped by?
She’s a very private person who may or may not be out, but she did invite this sort of question when she asked Gregg’s opinion about whether she should respond to said postcard and indicated she had slept with the postcard sender.
Neil calling Kathy then is a welcome reprieve, she’s overly friendly and effusive and I think she’s trying to use that as a beard but then she hangs up and apologizes to Gregg. Pia is totally the postcard sender but she was extremely rude to her too and now she doesn’t know how to fix it.
The upper echelon of the arson investigation meet with Sarah to discuss a path forward. DCI Catherine Attwood has heard from the families of the dead, they’re furious but have nobody to sue except: Daniels’s building company. Procurator Fiscal John Harvey is fully on board.
Just one thing…if someone set the fire deliberately and chained the doors closed, deliberately, wouldn’t that override any construction error? Are buildings meant to have airbags, like the better motorcycle suits?
Daniel himself is preparing for his interview, his dad Phil MacAfee (Vincent Regan) has brought in Patrick (Duncan Pow) and we’re going to do a side-by-side review of what the construction company could be held liable for.
- the (locked and chained doors) were substandard and wouldn’t have lasted more than 30 minutes
- the ceiling tiles were polystyrene, which gave all kinds of fuel
- the void above the drop ceiling was not to code, not sufficient to stop the spread of the fire. That’s a design flaw
There’s something slightly hinky in the management of MacAfee Construction, Daniel is now in charge, but his dad was back then and Daniel the foreman so they’re both fully implicated. John Harvey wants to indict their company for Corporate Homicide, but he doesn’t stop there. He wants to charge both Phil and Daniel personally for Culpable Homicide to send a message to other builders.
Daniel heads to the crime scene, watching mourners leave tributes at the site (really? Shelley and Bashar were grown people), ignoring Patrick’s calls but answering Emma’s. He doesn’t want to hang out, fanks.
Neil and Trina are with Jimmy Levin, trying to find out more about the condition of Marie’s body when she was buried. There was some mixup in that she was not examined properly, I think, according to a brief conversation between Kathy and Sarah earlier. Jimmy talking about his wife’s end leads into talking about Marie’s friend Izzy, who got heavily into drugs after her death. It could be said that Marie was a stabilizing influence on Izzy, or that Izzy was a bad influence on Marie.
Neil tactfully asks about Jimmy and Marie’s sex life, which is received with all this beautiful body language meaning: why would you ask that? Why would you ask that in front of a woman?
Neil reveals the fact that Marie and Drew were sleeping together, I legit tensed because Drew asked Neil to not do that, given Jimmy’s temper. Jimmy doesn’t believe it, so Trina pulls out the photo. Jimmy definitely did not know, but he does now. I’d not like to be Drew right now.
Emma’s picking around her apartment when she gets a video call from her furious aunt Julie Hedges (Neve McIntosh). She’s heard of all the muck Emma has raked up unintentionally and she’s heard from Jimmy that the police will be talking to her next. Emma tries to apologize, then walks it back: no, screw you, if you’ve got nothing to hide it shouldn’t bother you. Otherwise, good on ya.
Daniel and Phil have made their appearance on petition, they’re released on bail and now it’s going to get dicey for Daniel. Until now, they’ve both been represented by Patrick, but with the upcoming serious charges, Patrick will need to defend only Phil, probably so he can blame everything on Daniel. That would be the best course of action for his client, natch. Daniel is left out to dry.
Neil and Trina have gotten to Julie Hedges, who adopted Emma after her mum was found. Julie’s life was turned upside down by the death of her sister as well, she went from married and pregnant to just her and Emma alone.
Julie haaaates Drew, she thinks he’s a pathetic Peter Pan who was selling drugs on the rigs so he could be The Man. Maybe that impacted Marie if they were still seeing each other then?
Back at the lab, we see Emma being brilliant, she’s sorted out something about the street drugs she and Louise are analysing, they have the same peaks.
Sarah and Kathy go over more of the failings of the investigation of Marie’s death, there were bones missing from the burial site so they’re trying to figure out next steps. They take a break to munch some baked goods, university secretary Janine Muir (Andrea Hart) mentions to Kathy that her friend Pia is at the coffee shop across the way.
A lovely back and forth follows, Kathy alternately apologetic, demanding and pleading with Pia to see her that night.
Emma’s invited Daniel round to her place, which is actually Skye and Izzy’s place and Skye is paranoia herself. She sees Daniel glancing into the room of the photo and screams that Emma’s brought Daniel to take the bed, then orders them out with a knife in hand. What.
Neil and Trina interview Izzy at the hospital, taking a DNA sample and reviewing the picture of Marie and Drew in her bed. Neil asks about telling Emma that Marie was dismembered, Izzy doesn’t remember a thing about it. She’s a terrrrrible liar.
Emma goes with Daniel, explaining about her mum’s murder but Daniel and I want to know why Skye was so freaked out about the BED. Daniel gives Emma a set of keys to his apartment, they’ll be married by the weekend if they’re not careful.
They discuss the bed, that was a big deal and now they’re wondering if Marie was murdered on that bed? Emma calls Neil and we’re out.
Until next time! Cheers