Acorn TV’s original crime drama London Kills returned Monday, 15 July 2019 with its second series. With the first series having premiered earlier this year, with a fast pace and the dark edges typical of British productions, its success was immediately apparent. Consequently, a second series did is not a huge surprise.
Created by Paul Marquess, the first series of Acorn TV’s original crime drama left viewers with a cliffhanger which raised more questions than that which were answered. Five months have passed since the first series, the story which began in ‘Connected’ continues in the second series premiere ‘The Dark.’ Will Marquees’ crime drama continue to thrill and excite audience members in the second series?
SPOILERS ALERT: If you have yet to watch London Kills, stop reading now. There are spoilers ahead pertaining to the first episode.
Playing DI David Bradford, DS Vivienne Cole, DC Rob Brady, TDC Billie Fitzgerald, and Carly Bradford, respectively, are series regulars Hugo Speer, Sharon Small, Bailey Patrick, Tori Allen-Martin, and Adrianna Bertola.
Supportive Characters: ‘Series Two’ The Dark
The first instalment in the five-episode series stars Sophie McShera, Shane Zaza, Maimie McCoy, Nicholas Nunn, Alaïs Lawson, and Toheeb Jimoh as the supportive characters Karen Harrison, Nazeeb Khabi, Grace Harper, Mark Miller, Justine Miller, and Leshae Hobbs, respectively.
London Kills: ‘Series Two’ The Dark
The body of Freddie Harrison is found in the backyard of a Camden Town residence. A torch was found buried with the body. Based on the decomposition of the body, Freddie must have been in the ground for at least a year. Inclusive of Freddie, the house was rented by four students in their early 20s.
As the investigation progresses, the detectives soon discover the roommates almost all have something they want kept secret. While both Mark and Nazeeb wanted Freddie gone from the house, Justine was pregnant with his child.
Freddie was not sure he was ready to become a father. His mental condition was rapidly deteriorating. Because Freddie had no real friends he could trust, he spoke with his sister, Karen.
Leshae got in trouble with his university professor because he apparently plagiarised a paper. Instead of writing the paper himself, Leshae paid Freddie to write it for him. When Leshae handed his paper in for a grade, he was unaware that Freddie did not write the paper but merely copied it from content he found online.
Freddie and Nazeeb were constructing a deck in the backyard of the Camden residence. Nazeeb was annoyed he was doing most of the work. He consequently took a weekend for himself. When Nazeeb returned from a weekend in Plymouth, work on the deck had been completed and Freddie had seemingly left.
Because both Mark and Nazeeb wanted Freddie gone, Nazeeb was planning to speak with Freddie about him moving out. Consequently, because Freddie was no longer there, there was no need for Nazeeb to have that conversation with Freddie. Freddie was not as much gone from the property as he was buried in the backyard.
Which one of them killed Freddie? Was it one of the roommates or was it someone else?
Supportive Characters: ‘Series Two’ The Ultimate Prize
The second instalment in the five-episode stars Tommy Finnegan, Nicola Stapleton, Laura Aikman, Leo Gregory, and Jojo Macari as the supportive characters Troy Fisher, Amy Fisher, Leanne Ponting, Damon Rissbrook, and Alfie Dubbs, respectively.
London Kills: ‘Series Two’ The Ultimate Prize
The second episode of the series opens with what the British would call a ‘hen party.’ A group of ladies are celebrating the coming wedding for one of their number. Americans would call this a bachelorette party. The scene transitions to a child making a telephone call to the emergency services. The number dialled in the British Isles is 999, not 911.
Leanne, the pub manager, can be seen leaving a voicemail for someone yet unidentified. Who is this she is calling? Why does she sound concerned that “the place is crawling with police”? In the message, she clearly says, “Terry’s dead.” Shortly after hanging up from leaving that voicemail, the pub manager can be seen concealing a passport into her jacket pocket.
Why take the CCTV disc from the recording device but leave the murder weapon behind? Why go to the trouble of wiping the baseball bat clean of fingerprints? What was the reason the killer take the murder weapon with him when he left the pub? This does not make any sense.
Why didn’t Leanne say that she was married to the pub landlord? What is Leanne trying to hide?
With productions like London Kills, there are always twists and turns in the narrative we don’t immediately understand. The second time Rob speaks with Troy, the boy runs away. When the DC catches up with him, Troy seems to think Rob is going to hit him. The DC is immediately curious as to why the child would think he would harm him. Consequently, Rob asks Troy to lift his shirt. When the child lifts his shirt, we find Troy has experienced physical abuse. Rob worked child protection for nearly three years. He consequently recognises child abuse when he sees it.
Did you see this coming?
Vivienne initially thinks it was Troy’s grandfather that abused the boy. Since Leanne was Terry’s wife, the DC speaks with her about the pub landlord disciplining Troy. Did Terry ever hit Troy? Because Terry was away in France for a few days, he could not have seen his grandson. Consequently, it was not him that has been abusing Troy.
If Troy was spending the night at his grandfather’s home, he would have had with him his pyjamas. Where are the boy’s pyjamas? When I see a child with a blanket, I automatically think of the Peanuts character Linus Van Pelt. London Kills is a crime drama, not a comedy. Is it just me or does the presence of a blanket signify something sinister?
When Billie and Rob search the Fisher residence, the TDC discovers a set of pyjamas stained with blood. The blood spray on Troy’s pyjamas clearly shows he was the one that killed his grandfather. It is consistent with Troy having hit Terry over the head with the baseball bat. Amy must have thought simply washing them would remove any trace of blood from the garments.
Terry wanted to report the abuse Troy suffered at Amy’s hands; consequently, any reports the grandfather made would have threatened the relationship the child had with his mother. Therefore, Troy hit his grandfather with the baseball bat.
Because Troy is under the age of criminal responsibility, under British law, he cannot be arrested or charged with a crime.
Amy was willing to go down for murder rather than admit to hitting her son.
In the closing seconds of the episode, Rob wants to know why David is lying to him. “Let’s find out,” Vivienne said to the DC. “We’re investigators. Let’s investigate. Let’s find out where the detective inspector really was the night his wife went missing.”
Nearby, in his own office, the DI is talking on his second cell phone with someone familiar with his police unit. “Rob Brady has been asking difficult questions,” David said. “I’ll tell you what the problem is. He didn’t believe a word I said to him.”
Supportive Characters: ‘Series Two’ Family Affairs
The third instalment in the five-episode stars Manuel Pacific, Kelly Adams, Marc Baylis, Ethan Kai, Stuart Campbell, and Maimie McCoy as the supportive characters Gabrielo Bestos, Michelle Charr, Andrew Charr, Deniz Kurtar, Craig Fleetwood, and Grace Harper, respectively.
London Kills: ‘Series Two’ Family Affairs
The episode opens with a security guard discovering two dead bodies in a compromising position in the loading bar at King’s Cross. When Vivienne and Billie pay a visit to Gabrielo, he seems surprised that the police would want to speak with him about anything. He is an au pair with a British family. One of the bodies found in King’s Cross was that of Anna Bestos. Gabrielo was listed as her next-of-kin.
Gabrielo tells the detectives that Anna was an au pair like him, but Michelle Charr sacked her from her position. According to Gabrielo, Michelle hated Anna from the start, but there is something about the way he is framing his story that seems inky. If Michelle did not like Anna, she would not have had her in the house taking care of her children’s needs. She would have hired a different au pair. There is something Gabrielo is not telling the detectives.
When Vivienne asks Gabrielo if Anna was in a relationship, his facial expression and what he said did not match. “Anna was a good Catholic girl,” Gabrielo said to the DS. “No boyfriends before marriage.” The glances Vivienne and Billie give each other indicate that they either do not believe him or that they think of these religious beliefs as being somewhat arcane.
After meeting with Gabrielo, Vivienne and Billie speak with Michelle because they want to get her side of the story. When Billie asks Michelle about the reasoning for terminating Anna’s employment, she says that the au pair could not be trusted. Anna apparently stayed out late and did not return home until the early hours of the morning. Consequently, she was not able to get out of bed the following morning at a decent hour.
Whom was Andrew having an Affair with?
Was Andrew having an affair with Anna? Even though Michelle seems to think her husband was having an affair with Anna, it was not with her husband the au pair was sleeping with. Anna was sleeping with Deniz, a fellow language school student.
“There is a very good reason Deniz Kurtar had for killing her,” Billie said to the team. “Anna was pregnant.” Deniz omitted from his conversation with the police detectives that his boss is also his father-in-law. The DI correctly observes the news that he got Anna pregnant would not have gone down too well.
Deniz tells the detectives how Anna could not understand how Michelle knew where she was all the time. She must have placed a tracker on Anna’s cell phone.
Deniz was right. Michelle did place a tracker on Anna’s cell phone. Why was Michelle stalking Anna? Michelle finally admitted she wanted to know if Anna was sleeping with her husband. Michelle need not have worried about Anna because it was Gabrielo that had an interest in Andrew.
Did you see this coming?
When Rob and Billie question Deniz a second time, he suggests Anna could have obtained the money she needed for an abortion from Andrew Charr because he was seeing Gabrielo.
Andrew wrote a card to Gabrielo telling him that he loved him. When Anna took the card and threatened to give it to his wife, it totally freaked him out. Consequently, Andrew told Gabrielo that they should stop seeing each other.
When Gabrielo’s family discovered he was gay, they throw him out. Gabrielo adamantly believes abortion is wrong. “She did not even care that she was going to kill a baby,” Gabrielo tells the detectives. “She was a whore and the family love her.”
The only reason the family does not speak to Gabrielo is that he’s gay. He could not tell the family what Anna had done because they would not believe him. Gabrielo made Anna look like a prostitute to get his revenge on the family. “Perfect little Anna,” Gabrielo said. “No more!”
When David discovers Rob in his office, the DC tells his boss that he thought he might want to crime scene photographs from the King’s Cross case. Does the DI believe Rob? Based on David’s facial expression, the DI seems suspicious of the DC. What was the DC doing in his office? When the DI left the office, the door was open wider than it was when he returned.
Later that day, David is observed by Vivienne meeting with a woman and her child. Unbeknownst to the DS, immediately after posing as an official from the local electric company, the woman snaps a picture of her and sends it to David’s second cell phone.
This episode concludes with a confrontation between David, Vivienne, and Rob. Because David has been lying about his whereabouts the night his wife disappeared, Rob feels the DI cannot be trusted. Vivienne does not entirely trust the DI, either. It does not go well for either Vivienne or Rob.
Supportive Characters: ‘Series Two’ Turf Wars
The penultimate instalment in the five-episode series stars Klariza Clayton, Steve John Shepherd, Neal Barry, Claire Cooper, Luke White, and Samuel Gomes Da Silva as the supportive characters Alice Maguire, Adrian Cook, Dean Casey, Gloria Tanner, Calum Maguire, and Afrim Tanner, respectively.
London Kills: ‘Series Two’ Turf Wars
The penultimate episode opens with a scooter rider following a vehicle down a driveway to the casino and shooting a man seconds after he steps from his car. Before taking aim at the man, the rider calls out the name, “Maguire.” The rider then rides off as if nothing has happened. In another part of town, the same scooter rider shoots Calum Maguire seconds after exiting his residence.
The DI is surprised to learn from Vivienne that the victim at the first shooting is Marcus Maguire. “Marcus Maguire was a gangster,” David tells Vivienne. “Drugs. Extortion. Vice.”
“It’s got gangland hit written all over it,” David said to the DS.
Vivienne suspects a possible insider responsible for both hits because it required someone familiar with their routine to successfully take both Maguires out.
When Adrian Cook arrives at the first crime scene, because he walks into the areas as if he owns the place, Vivienne wants him to leave. The reason Adrian walked in as if he owns the place, as David tells the DS, he does own the place.
When speaking with Alice Maguire, Billie and Rob learn that she had only been married to Calum for seven months. While Marcus and Calum were responsible for making Adrian’s failing casino a success, Alice believes the casino owner responsible for the deaths.
Did you notice Adrian’s facial expression when he offered to aid David with his inquiries? For a second, it looked as if Adrian knew something which could either assist the DI or hinder him in other matters.
Adrian has a Superpower…
While Adrian does not have a criminal record, the DI says that the casino owner’s “superpower is getting other people to do his dirty work.” David has tried but failed to put Adrian away.
When Billie tells Gloria that her boyfriend, Marcus, was shot and killed earlier that morning, she laughs. This could be a nervous reaction because she just lost her baby. While it could have been the shock, Billie seems to think that there is a lot Gloria is not telling her.
Dean Casey, a former police officer, was at Gloria’s when Billie arrived. Did you see Dean’s facial expression when Gloria indicated that she thought her son might have done something seriously stupid? Afrim Tanner, Gloria’s son, is a registered owner of a red scooter. It was the rider of a red scooter that shot both Marcus and Calum. Dean knows more than he is letting on.
Afrim arrives home at the same time Vivienne and Rob arrive in the driveway. Close by, sitting in a parked vehicle, is Dean. The former police officer sees Afrim escape the detectives, but not before dropping his backpack. When Rob examined the content of the bag, he found a significant quantity of cannabis.
“Intelligence suggests Marcus Maguire was supplying half the ‘spice’ in West London,” Rob tells the team. “He was using kids on scooters.” Contextually speaking, ‘spice’ is synthetic cannabis because some of the chemicals in it are like the ones found in the real thing.
There is no need to continue the search for Afrim because he walks into the police station of his own accord. He has with him a prepared statement. Could Dean have talked Afrim into turning himself in?
Is Afrim the Killer?
Afrim is at the police station because of what went down with the drugs. He is not there to answer questions pertaining to Marcus or Calum. At this, Rob plays a recording of Afrim’s voice.
When the Dean asks Afrim if he has been selling drugs for Marcus Maguire, Rob says, “We’ll ask the questions.” The person that killed Marcus and Calum was riding a red scooter, Billie tells Afrim. Was it Afrim that killed the Maguires?
Elsewhere, off-screen, Adrian is driven off the road by someone in a white four-by-four. Later, Rob tells the team that Alice has been arrested. She was the driver of the white vehicle that drove Adrian off that deliberately collided with his car.
Alice’s last words to her husband before he was shot were said in anger. She told him to not come back.
When Gloria told Marcus she was pregnant, he knew that it could not have been his because he had a vasectomy ten years ago. He punched her in the belly, causing Gloria to have a miscarriage. While the baby was not Marcus’, it was still a Maguire because Calum was the biological father.
Alice believes Marcus and Calum were shot with their own gun. The only other person that knew about the gun being at the casino was the casino owner.
Did you see that coming?
A few nights prior to Marcus and his son being shot, Dean was thrown out of the casino. Further Dean also lied to Billie about his whereabouts the time of the killings. Across town, Vivienne has found hidden in a garage a scooter the same model and colour as the one Afrim owns.
Dean is a former detective constable. It was suggested that he take early retirement because it was discovered Dean was supplying Adrian with actionable intelligence from the police database.
One look at the way Dean smiles in Gloria’s presence and you can tell he loves her, but from the way she looks at him, it’s clear she is completely oblivious to his interest in her.
Dean confesses that he killed Marcus and Calum for Gloria. He apparently grabbed the first scooter he saw. Dean didn’t even notice it was like the one Afrim owns. When Billie asks Gloria if she can enter the apartment, the TDC realises Dean must have her at gunpoint.
With heavily armed police outside the building, the detectives are waiting on a trained negotiator to arrive on the scene.
When Dean opens the window and shouts that he’s going to kill Gloria, one of the SWAT team shoots the former detective constable.
Would David do harm to either Sarah or his stepdaughter? Neither Rob nor Vivienne believe the DI capable of killing his wife or deliberately hurting Carly.
At the police station, David tells Vivienne the team investigating his wife’s disappearance is winding down the inquiry. The DI is on the roof, not because he had any intent to jump, but because it is the perfect place to gather his thoughts.
Across town, Rob finds Adrian holding the gun used to kill Marcus and Calum. Instead of using it to kill the DC, Adrian hands the weapon to Rob. He promptly bags it as evidence in the murder inquiry. When Rob goes to arrest Adrian, he tells the DC that he will not be arresting him for anything. Rob is curious as to the reason why he will not be arresting him.
“If you do, I will not tell you where she is,” Adrian tells Rob. “You’re detective inspector’s wife. Now I have your attention. Sarah Bradford is very much alive.”
Supportive Characters: ‘Series Two’ Captive
The final instalment in the five-episode series stars Steve John Shepherd, Lorna Fitzgerald, Owain Arthur, Zoe Telford, and Maimie McCoy as the supportive characters Adrian Cook, Petra Roscoe, Philip Ingram, Sarah Bradford, Grace Harper, respectively.
London Kills: ‘Series Two’ Captive
The final episode in the second series opens with two runners doing their morning run. As their run takes them past Greenwich’s O2 Arena (previously known as the Millennium Dome), they happen upon a dead body. While Rob and Vivienne are across town looking for Danny Roscoe, the DI accompanies Billie to Greenwich. Interestingly, the body found in Greenwich and the person Rob and Vivienne were looking for is one and the same. Is this a coincidence?
While Vivienne returns to the Roscoe residence, via the DC’s neighbour’s backyard, the DI and Rob pay a visit to Adrian. Vivienne did not find evidence of Sarah having ever been at Roscoe’s home.
David is right. Vivienne is a by-the-book cop. If she discovers what Rob has been doing since coming face-to-face with Adrian with the gun that was used to shoot the Maguires, it is not likely that she would turn a blind eye. She is not David.
Petra tells Billie that, when her husband did not return home the previous night, she just assumed he was working late. He’s a black cab driver.
If you know anything about black cab drivers, you will understand that they work exceedingly long hours with little to no gratitude for their efforts. An interesting point of fact, when it comes to becoming a black cab driver in London, one must pass a test which is known as “The knowledge.” To pass this test, one must literally memorise a detailed map of London. Every road and shortcut must be part of your knowledge.
When Billie shows Petra a picture of Sarah Bradford, she doesn’t recognise her. She is certain she has never seen her husband in her company.
Do the Ends justify the Means?
Why does David want the CCTV for Adrian’s casino? As the casino owner detaches the hard drive from the computer supporting the CCTV system, David can be seen texting the DC. With CCTV being down, Rob is free to plant the gun on Adrian’s property without fear of surveillance.
When Billie returns to the Roscoe residence, as per David’s orders, she takes the DS with her. Even though they had the authority to carry out the search, Petra was not pleased with the detectives for searching the house.
“Whatever her husband was doing,” Vivienne told Billie, “I guarantee she was up to her neck in it.”
It does not take long for the detectives to figure out Petra is every bit as much bent as her late husband.
What is it with prepared statements? They always seem fake. Afrim had with him a prepared statement that he read to detectives the previous day. Now, Petra has one.
In Petra’s statement, she details a conversation which she had with her husband pertaining to a woman that he thought was being held captive. The woman, Sarah Bradford, is the wife of Detective Inspector David Bradford. Danny had apparently seen her disappearance reported on the news. How plausible is this statement?
Shortly after, somewhere across town, David and the team find a young child left on his own. The child, accord to Vivienne, is Phoebe Ingram’s baby. Where is Phoebe?
The body in the Freezer…
When Vivienne finds a dead body in a chest freezer, she immediately tells Rob to not let the detective inspector into the room because she is not sure whether the body is his wife. After Rob shows the DI an image of the dead woman’s hand, he confirms it is not his wife. The rings the woman is wearing do not match ones Sarah owns. It is more likely because none of the neighbours has seen Phoebe Ingram in months, that the body in the freezer is Phoebe.
In a completely unrelated investigation, David tells the team that Adrian has been arrested in connection with the Maguire shootings from the previous day. Billie is surprised that Adrian would do something as stupid as to hide the murder weapon on his own property. Vivienne is every bit as surprised as Billie. If that is Rob’s surprised look, he seriously needs to work at it because he doesn’t look remotely surprised. From Vivienne’s expression, she can tell Rob and David aren’t telling her the entire story.
Philip Ingram has Sarah Bradford…
With it being Phoebe Ingram in the freezer, Rob correctly assumes it must be her brother, Philip, driving the car. When Philip arrives back at the house, having seen the police tap, he immediately drives away. With lights flashing and sirens blaring, David gives chase after Philip.
When David catches up with Philip, he wants to know where his wife is. Because of Philip’s mental health issues, he has never been able to hold down a job. Philip said that he was taking Sarah back to where he found her. That’s the cemetery where Sarah’s parents are buried.
The cemetery where Sarah’s parents are buried is one of the largest in London. Billie and Vivienne find Sarah. She’s alive.
Did you see that coming?
You should have seen this coming. Vivienne likes rules and regulations. Would Rob do something as stupid as to turn a blind eye to someone that supplied a killer with a gun in a double murder? This is the question Vivienne puts to the DC. Adrian is apparently threatening to make a complaint. Did David take the casino’s CCTV hard drive so that Rob could plant a gun on his property? The DC tells Vivienne that Adrian must desperate, but judging from the DS’s expression, it doesn’t look like she believes him.
In the closing minutes of the episode, the DI tells Rob about Grace and his connection with a highly sensitive undercover inquiry he is working on. David is Grace’s handler. Because he cannot leave the hospital, the DI wants Rob to go to her in his place. Where one case finally closes, another one is about to begin….
This series finds the detectives digging up more than just skeletons. Even though the second series begins with the skeletal remains of a student found in the backyard of a Camden Town residence, the following episodes see the DI and his team investigating a pub landlord’s murder, the death of a teenage couple discovered in a compromising position, and a father and son double-shooting.
Even though the detectives have cases to solve, there is also the mystery revolving around the disappearance of Sarah Bradford (Zoe Telford). Is the DI lying about what he knows of his wife’s disappearance?
Were you thinking Amber Saunders (Jennie Jacques) was responsible for killing Sarah? Sarah has been missing since before the beginning of the first series. Amber did stab Billie at the end of the first series’ fourth episode. If she was capable of stabbing Billie, Amber could have murdered Sarah. Despite having Sarah’s handbag in her possession, the first series finale conclusively established Amber did not kill Sarah.
Even though there is much to keep viewers occupied, especially considering the number of bodies uncovered, we still want to know what is happening with Sarah’s mysterious disappearance. Consequently, regardless of how shocking the main narrative of each episode is, nothing will distract the audience from focusing our attention on Sarah until the mystery sees a resolution.