The episode opens with a shot of everyone’s favourite pathologist Dr. Llewellyn standing over assembled bits and pieces of a murder victim. This show airs Monday nights at nine. I hope you didn’t opt for a late dinner.
After a week of searching the Thames riverbank they found two legs, a left foot and the right arm of the second victim.
This is all they have to work with as the tide will have taken the other parts of the body out to sea.
The cuts to the second victim were made with the same blade and the same toxin was found in the limbs as in the first victim.
… I’m not a toxicologist, but does it not take quite a bit of time for an ingested poison to reach the extremities? Never mind. As I said, I’m not a toxicologist.
Llewellyn also identified the poison. She’s on fire today.
Cantharidin, or Spanish Fly, was thought to be an aphrodisiac but it is in fact a really nasty poison.
Buchan, holder of an honorary doctorate in sex and death studies from the university of basement dwelling swots, impresses the assembled force with stories of the Marquis de Sade’s use of Cantharidin.
Miles does like a kindergartener and uses story time for a crafty nap.
After the meeting Mansell pulls Riley aside for a quick confession. Not realising it was a poison, he bought some Spanish Fly in a shop in Whitechapel to give to his wife to “spice things up”. They’ve been married half a year!
The wording leaves the question open whether or not his wife knew what she was taking, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. Mostly because I’d rather not contemplate the other option.
“It didn’t kill her.” Mansell says. Well, that changes everything.
Riley urges him to tell Chandler. Mansell is reticent as he fears Chandler would look at him like he was a perv. It’d be an apt assessment. He asks Riley to tell him, but she doesn’t want to either.
Chandler looks up from his paperwork to see a stammering Kent make Mansell’s confession in his place.
I’d have loved to see how Riley and Mansell pulled that one.
Chandler and Miles pay the shop a visit, but not before Miles necked a whole can of red bull (other energy drinks are available.)
Llewellyn analysed what purports to be Spanish Fly and it is nothing but Cayenne pepper. None of the commercial preparations contain any actual cantharidin.
There’s a bit of consumer advice you don’t hear every day.
Chandler asks Buchan where the Marquis de Sade obtained his cantharidin from, because Chandler does not know who to use the internet or something.
Buchan’s crime archive is growing at an exponential rate. There’s hardly room to walk between the ceiling high stacks of reports.
Kent brings the modern day research to Chandler and Norroy, who is still hanging around for reasons best known to herself and Chandler. All one would need to make cantharidin are some blister beetles. A company called Latour import medicinal herbs and spices and blister beetles are among the stock they supply to pharmaceutical firms.
Latour is run by a Mr. Underwood and his employee Heather Green, who wrote her thesis on the use of aphrodisiacs in tribal medicine.
This could be the couple.
Chandler and Miles visit the Latour warehouse which looks like the place at the end of Raiders Of The Lost Arc.
But Green and Underwood are not the murdering couple. They are neither murderers, nor indeed a couple. All their sales are documented and they make sure all their clients have the necessary permits.
They do offer up a lead, so it wasn’t a wasted trip.
Latour was contacted a few months ago first by a woman called Celeste. After she was denied her request to purchase some blister beetles, her husband send them threats.
They take the two letters back to the station.
No fingerprints on either of the letters and the address is fake, a bit house where all the mail is dumped in the hallway.
Chandler and Norroy bring their handwriting analysis skills to bear and find out that both letters, although superficially they look very different, were actually written by the same person.
Norroy with the quote of the day: “Ignore the differences and focus on the similarities.”
That is a beautiful approach. Applying this maxim, I have discovered that I am Catherine, empress of all the Russias.
Bless you, my loyal subjects.
Getting back to the episode, Miles wants to know whether the one person pretending to be both Celeste and Max is a burly woman or a girly bloke. He’s got such a way with words.
Another torso washes up on the riverbank. She is the third victim.
Llewellyn finds a black light stamp on her arm that looks like it’s from a nightclub. It is still vivid, making it likely she was at the club the night she died.
Riley and Mansell go on a club crawl to find the nightclub that uses a stamp like the one found on the girl.
Dear Ben Court and Caroline Ip: Any chance of a Riley and Mansell spin off show? You know it’d be amazing.
Norroy brought a sushi dinner for herself and Chandler. Those two have the weirdest viewing sexual tension I have ever seen on telly. I love it. They are like two sexy librarians who talk about dismembered girls instead of the Dewey Decimal System.
The body parts belong to three very similar girls. Same hair colour, same stature, same age and all of them were killed and dismembered in the same way.
Our killer is not one to switch horses in the middle of an apocalypse.
The nightclub one of the girls went to is The Hooded Crow, an underground fetish type deal and maybe the killer was there to pick his victims. The team will go to the club to have a look around and find out if anyone noticed anything.
Everyone of the team have to go and dress up to blend in, for logical reasons I don’t care to examine too closely.
I just want to see the outfits.
I guess a department full of history buff police were never going to be hip to the newest developments in fetish couture.
Chandler hilariously opted for a black sweater with a white button down underneath. Oh, tie me up, daddy!
Not going to lie, Riley can get it in that low cut black number she’s got on.
Sam Stockman, the actor playing Kent, uses the opportunity to advertise his band Colour Of Bone on Kent’s t-shirt.
Norroy went all out with a short pink silk dress and black wig. Chandler goes cross eyed for a moment.
Miles has been sent home to catch up on sleep. He walks in his house, hears screaming children, sees the place is in chaos and goes back to the office to sleep there. Where’s his World’s Best Dad mug?
The others are not in the nightclub. Chadler is his usual lady-repellent self. Mansell takes a look at the girls in the crowd and takes off his wedding ring.
Riley sees him and has a right go at Mansell, comparing him to Ted Bundy in the way he scans the crowd for lonely, drunk girls that’d make easy prey.
It’s been said that Riley is motherly towards the guys, but I don’t see it quite that way. She does not indulge them, doesn’t let them get away with anything. She holds them by the standards of the better men they could be.
May I also take this opportunity to once again plead with the writers for The Riley And Mansell Hour? Half hour? Webisodes? Series of commemorative tapestries? Just give me something. Those two are the perfect buddy cop team.
Mansell takes Riley’s words to heart and then does the exact opposite.
He chats up a girl whose boyfriend naturally objects. With fists. Chandler breaks up the punch up, pulls Mansell aside and asks what the hell is going on? We learn Eva, Mansell’s wife, has left him after she found out he cheated.
The first rule of rebound club is: Don’t rebound while you’re on an undercover police operation.
In the kerfuffle they’ve lost sight of Norroy. They turn the place upside down looking for her and the man she was seen talking to. Both of them are gone without trace.
Chandler tracks Norroy’s mobile to the house of the a blond dandy who exhibits questionable taste in both morals and interior design.
Norroy is on the bed upstairs. She is unconscious, but alive.
While the medics take Norroy away, the team are already busy searching the house. The find rohypnol in a bottle marked aspirin and a hidden camera by the bed.
The dandy, Damon, has videos of himself looming over passed out girls and biting their necks. Never again say Twilight never hurt anyone.
One of the videos shows him with a girl matching the first victim, the girl with the star tattoo on her shoulder.
Damon claims the girls were all willing, but he is clearly lying through his guyliner.
I have nothing but love for the art and costume departments of this show, but what passes for “edgy” on ITV is hilarious.
Norroy has recovered enough to go back to work. Chandler apologises to her for Mansell’s behaviour, but she blames Miles. She thinks had he been there as he should have been, it could have been different.
I like her, but she better not fuck with DS Miles. She just better not.
One of the girls in the vampire fetish videos has been identified as Lucy Hooper. She’s at the station to answer Miles’s questions.
Damon, while not being the serial killer they are looking for, will still spend some years in prison for drugging, kidnapping and assault. Good.
A fourth victim’s torso has been found on the river.
Llewellyn tested the levels of cantharidin in the victims and the decrease with every murder. The levels were highest in the first victims and the last had a comparatively small dose.
The poisoner is lowering the amount of poison, possibly to prolong his victim’s suffering.
Miles brings up Ella Bowe, the runaway groupie who has not been heard of for six months. He suspects she could have been the first victim, since she fits the profile to perfectly.
Norroy disagrees, she does not want to waste time looking for a girl who might be just fine. She wants to make a public appeal for information.
Now Miles does not want to do that because it’s a huge amount of work that will probably not be much help.
Both turn to Chandler to settle this argument and…
He sides with Miles! Well done, sir.
Norroy packs her things and leaves. She’s too good for this shit. So much for romance in the workplace.
Buchan meanwhile is taking a break form expanding his archive to look through poisoners cases for a possible new lead.
He finds the case of Arthur Ford, who in 1954 was so desperate to seduce the girl he loved that he bought her some coconut ice candy and laced it with cantharidin. He wanted her to love him back, but she died regardless.
That’s why the doses in the victims are getting smaller. The poisoner wants the girls to fall in love with him.
I guess he considered roses a bit cliché.
If the theory is correct then Ella Bowe could have been the girl he loved and lost and is not trying to replace.
It would also mean that Buchan really messed up, because while he was busy bringing in new files, this one was lying about gathering dust.
Riley has tracked down Doug Brenton, the guitarist of Devil’s Architects, the now defunct band that Ella Bowe adored so much she left home to be nearer to them.
Miles, Riley and Kent go to the practice room of Doug’s new band.
Miles asks Doug about Ella’s last movements. Doug answers she was making tea five minutes ago.
Ella Bowe is alive, so she is not the first victim. Chandler thinks she might be the trigger.
They bring her in and ask her about admirers who went overboard, got a bit creepy.
When she first moved to Whitechapel, Ella worked in a chocolate shop. Nathan, her boss, asked her to dinner. She went to tell him she was not interested, but when she got there, he had roses, champagne and candlelight.
She told him she was not interested and he changed, like he became someone else.
Chandler is back on the split personality theory. Nathan is in love with a girl, when she rejects him another personality takes over to poison the girls and dispose of the bodies.
Miles, Chandler and Riley go to Nathan’s shop.
He is upstairs having champagne and oysters with a very uncomfortable looking girl.
Riley grabs the girl and gets her to a doctor in case she ingested any poison.
Chandler and Miles go upstairs to confront Nathan.
There is a terrarium full of beetles in the room, together with a very confused and frightened looking Nathan.
Nathan says he’s got blackouts. He does not know where the beetles came from. He has no idea why girls keep disappearing from his life. He suspects he’s done something, but was too scared to go to the police.
My feelings about this guy are yo-yoing all over the place. I feel so sorry for him, but at the same time he is such a creep.
Miles isn’t buying it. He thinks Nathan is lying. Nathan knows exactly what he’s done and tries to use Multiple Personalities as a get out of jail free card.
Chandler says they are investigating the deaths of four girls. When Nathan hears this he just about blacks out.
He leads Chandler and Miles into the kitchen. The table is heaped with chocolates and injection needles. Nathan pulls a butcher’s knife out of one of the cupboards.
He is falling apart. He does not know where the knife came from. He loved those girls. (In his own, special way.) He is crying and hysterical.
Paul Chequer, break my heart, why don’t you?
The alter Max appears. Max grabs a needle full of cantharidin from the table and injects himself with the poison and dies.
Outside Nathan’s chocolate shop stand four lilac trees. The heads of the four victims are hidden under them.
The girls finally get their identities back.