Oh Doctor O’Loughlin, for a “brilliant” man you are a very silly boy. In episode two of ITV’s crime thriller The Suspect, based on the novel by Michael Robotham, the clinical psychologist with the formerly “perfect life” has learned absolutely no lessons from episode one.
To recap, a young woman is found dead, stabbed 21 times (it appears she has stabbed herself, or been forced to stab herself), buried in a shallow grave in a cemetery. Either by coincidence, or for nefarious reasons, O’Loughlin talked himself into a job consulting on the case by muscling in on a meet up between young Detective Devi (Anjli Mohindra) and some sex workers he’s pals with.
Then once he’s brought into the morgue to see the body, he claims he doesn’t recognise the woman and yet sneaks back into the room by memorizing the code, foolishly (we guess) assuming a police morgue wouldn’t have CCTV up the wazoo.
He then proceeds to NOT tell the police:
- She was a patient of his.
- Who accused him of sexual assault.
- And who had also very recently applied to work as his receptionist.
He DOES tell the police that he and his family were at the cemetery the day they found the body, which is also pretty suspicious. So obviously they think he did the murder.
Episode two sees O’Loughlin continue with his campaign of not telling the cops stuff they could easily find out for themselves thereby making himself more suspicious with every passing moment.
New ‘oops, forgot to mention that’ moments include the fact that the victim, Catherine, was a bit obsessed with him, that she would wear make-up and perfume to appointments, that she tried to kiss him and tried to take her clothes off during a session. We also discover later in the episode that O’Loughlin actually DOES have an alibi for the time Catherine was killed. Is he going to tell the cops? What do you think…?
So we find the good doctor spiraling further down the rabbit hole of paranoia, or possibly just guilt if it turns out he did the murder and is just really stupid. What a twist that would be!
In this episode more comes from the subplot involving O’Loughlin’s patient Bobby (Bobby Schofield), a strange lad with psychological problems who assaulted a woman at a taxi rank. O’Loughlin increasingly starts to think Bobby was involved in Catherine’s murder because of his obsession with the number 21, his violent tendancies, the fact that he uses the phrase “death by a thousand cuts” to describe how he’d like his mother to die (Ok, the guy does have issues) and a smell of chloroform O’Loughlin says Bobby has on him.
Is O’Loughlin trying to frame Bobby (as the cops suspect – and DI Ruiz played by the excellent Shaun Parkes, is getting increasingly exasperated)? Is Bobby trying to mess with O’Loughlin? Bobby carved a whale, O’Loughlin’s daughter drew a picture of a whale, can that really be a coincidence? (Obviously yes). And now some mysterious stranger has paid £500 for the whale picture at a school auction. Bobby? Probably not since it turns out he doesn’t actually have a job, doesn’t have a fiance and lives in a hostel.
This is not a show that goes hard on naturalism so another thing to look out for in the series going forward is a character we’ll be calling “Chekhov’s Plumber”. This is seemingly lovely chap DJ (Tom McKay) who has been working on the O’Loughlins pipes, has fitted a new boiler and has uncovered some serious damage under the floorboards. Now this could just be a small domestic detail, but we very much doubt it. DJ was sweet enough to chase away the paps who came to bother O’Loughlin’s wife after he’s finally arrested. And by the end of ep 2 we have already established DJ will be returning to the house the next day to prevent major flooding, good lad. Plumbers earn good money, did he buy the whale picture??
Anyway, our bet is on him playing a crucial part.
And finally back to that alibi. On the night in question O’Loughlin got his Parkinson’s diagnosis, went on a bender around Soho till ten-ish and then sort of disappeared off the radar finally arriving home at… well, he said 12, but his wife lied to the police and it was in fact 4am, when she heard him taking a shower. He confesses to his wife that he was with his friend Cara, who is a sex worker and a former patient with whom he had unprotected sex that very night. Or so he says (if this turns out not to be true the whole ‘didn’t use a condom’ thing is a very weird detail). So now his wife has booted him out and still he won’t tell the cops what he was doing that night. This is an incredibly annoying plot twist, unless he’s flat out lying in which case, we will accept it.
Favourite line in the episode :
“You have nothing! You have an appointment on a calendar and a call to my office. You have nothing.”
The cops found Catherine’s handbag and phone. In her phone they found a calendar appointment to meet with a “J.O.”, and the last number she called was his office. So they do have something.
To recap, they also have:
Him at the cemetery when the body was found.
His fingerprints on a spade in the cemetery.
Accusation of assault by victim.
He lies about knowing her. Lies about her job application.
He returns to the body sneakily and lies about the door being open.
Knowledge of chloroform on the body.
No alibi after about 10pm (as far as the cops know).
As circumstantial evidence goes that’s a lot.
Whoever is presumably setting him up is doing a bang up job. Unless, as mentioned, he’s guilty and stupid. Join us next week for more Adventures of the Silly Doctor and the Clever Plumber.
The Suspect airs on ITV on Mondays at 9pm. Episodes are available to stream on ITV Hub. Read our review of episode one of The Suspect.