Trigger Point Ending Explained: 1912, Crusaders, Operation Dynamo

The Trigger Point finale gave us answers, but did they all make sense? With major spoilers, we delve into the ending.

Trigger Point finale ITV Vicky McClure
Photo: HTM Television

Warning: contains spoilers for the Trigger Point finale.

Trigger Point concluded with a tense, pacey and well-directed episode that revealed the bomber’s identity and closed the case. Wash’s nightmare month ended, finally giving her little ponytail a chance to rest. Along the way, she’d lost her colleague, her brother and her bit on the side, and had only managed to stop about fifty percent of the bombs from going off, but at least she could draw a line under it. The Crusaders were no more, their puppet master had been unmasked, and his mystery revenge mission was laid bare. Time for everybody to get down The King’s Head for a pint and a game of pool. Or perhaps not pool. Too soon.

Let’s dig in to the finale’s revelations. Prepare for dynamic entry! Trojan One, ready to engage…

Sonya’s mug was the key all along

Keen-eyed viewers will have spotted that Sonya from Bomb Data (Kerry Godliman – one of the best things in any cast and no different here) drinks her work brews out of a mug featuring the Periodic Table of Elements. Cute character detail for a chemist, you might think, but also: a clue! It was probably thanks to that mug that Sonya broke Karl’s code and realised that 66 11 42 (the numbers texted to Wash from John’s phone and on the redacted Portland Down file) were the respective atomic numbers of Dysprosium (Dy), Sodium (Na) and Molybdenum (Mo), which spell out Dynamo, the codename of the classified operation in which Karl’s seven colleagues were killed, and which was covered up by the Ministry of Defence, prompting his terrorist bombing campaign.

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Once the code was broken, Wash realised that the numbers 19 12 – found scratched onto the wall at the Whitehaven Estate and inserted into one of The Crusaders’ devices – were the atomic numbers of Potassium (K) and Magnesium (Mg), making them the signature of Karl McGuire – Wash’s new squeeze who happened to also be the mastermind behind the bomb attacks.

Operation Dynamo

Dynamo was the codename of a (fictional) classified mission that took place in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan in July 2009. A convoy of eight allied soldiers were sent to supply a Special Forces operations base with explosive HMX-319 when they hit a roadside IED and were ambushed. An RPG hit the explosives they were carrying, which took out a nearby school. Local villagers attacked them in revenge, Karl ran, and his seven colleagues were killed in combat. The MoD covered up the incident to maintain public faith in the overseas mission, and recorded the deaths as non-combat and down to a road traffic accident.

Karl McGuire was the sole survivor of Dynamo and when he planned to go public about the cover-up, he was court-martialled for deserting his post and threatened with life imprisonment under the Official Secrets Act. He and the other soldiers’ families petitioned for over 10 years for the government to release the files but the request was denied by the Defence select committee in a closed-door hearing chaired by…

Ayesha Campbell-Khan (aka the real target)

Karl’s ultimate target was the newly elected Labour candidate from the Progressive Alliance who was contesting a seat against Agatha Jack’s far right English Flag party. As the head of the Defence select committee on the Operation Dynamo cover-up, Karl blamed her and conducted the bombing campaign to get revenge.  

Karl McGuire wasn’t a far right activist

He was a murderous bastard responsible for multiple deaths including that of former comrade Nut, but Karl’s motives weren’t racist. His justification for the bombing campaign was to draw attention to the MoD cover-up (hence the little coded references leading the Expos to him and Dynamo) and as he saw it, to get revenge for the deaths of his seven colleagues in 2009.

However, Karl did exploit the far right racism of Nick Roberts and Frank Welsh for his own end. He met both in a South London rehabilitation group he was running, and formed The Crusaders with them so that they could do the leg work while he remained behind the scenes. Nick and Frank carried out the Whitehaven, Amburiq Mosque and Five Oaks bombings and sniper attack, while Karl presumably sourced the explosive and masterminded the operation. It must have been a masked Karl who set the series of gas meter bombs, unless that all before Welsh was killed. Roberts was shot dead while wearing a suicide vest at the Five Oaks attack, while Welsh was shot dead at the South London University attack. Karl called them “racist fucking idiots who deserved to die.”

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And John Hudson was innocent ?

Not of being a racist Islamophobe who made his colleague Hass’ life worse with bigoted “banter”, but of the bombings, yes. The annotated London A to Z that first made Wash suspect John was simply homework designed to prove that he should have been made Senior Expo after Nut’s death. (It’s not stated, but presumably Karl marked the Progressive Alliance HQ on the A to Z as part of his framing attempt?) Karl told Wash that John was drinking with Billy after Nut’s funeral, making her suspect John of having groomed Billy into far right terrorist group The Crusaders. Karl was also the one who texted John to make him call the number on the trigger phone at the university auditorium.

Karl used John to leave a series of messages for Wash that would lead her to the story of Operation Dynamo. Using John’s phone, he texted Wash the 66 11 42 code from outside MoD Steepholm (the dark site military facility from where the EMX-319 that killed Karl’s colleagues was sourced), knowing that the location would be triangulated. Then he texted ‘Endgame’ from the Soldier’s Chapel where the memorial service for his dead colleagues was held. He did that in an effort to draw Wash away from Deptford Assembly Halls, to keep her away from his planned blast. But if that was his plan then…

Why did Karl keep trying to get Wash to go out with him if he was planning to blow himself up?

No idea. Literally hours before he pulled his suicide belt stunt, Karl had bought Wash a brew and pulled his ‘I really think we’d be good together’ routine. Why do that if he already knew he was going to kill himself? If Wash’s answer had been different, might he have called the whole thing off?

If Karl was just using Wash to get info on the investigation and his speech was simply a cover for why he was hanging around the Assembly Halls (where he’d stashed the explosive belt before security was in place), that would make sense, but the guy really seemed to want a future with Wash. On which point – why pursue that while simultaneously trying to explode her multiple times? Yes, he’d set up John’s fake suicide in the chapel in an attempt to distance Wash from the latest bomb, but what about the others? She barely escaped the auditorium blast that Karl manipulated John into triggering. All in all, it’s not the firmest foundation for a life together, not to mention the small matter of Karl having cruelly engineered the death of Lana’s little brother Billy.

Where did Karl source the explosives?

As far as we can tell, it’s not confirmed (either from a connection at Steepholm or on the dark web. It’s hard to believe he was able to bring it back from Afghanistan as a souvenir). What’s important is that his choice of specific explosive was another message pointing to Operation Dynamo. HMX-319 was used in all of Karl’s London bombings, the same explosive that his convoy was carrying in 2009.

Will there be a series 2?

UPDATE: Series two was announced over the finale’s end credits. Let’s hope Wash does a bit more digging on her next Tinder date, just to be safe.

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Trigger Point is available to stream now on ITV Hub and Britbox.