7 unanswered questions about Marcella’s series finale – explained by the show’s writer

Anna Friel's detective underwent a shocking transformation in the last moments of series two – will Marcella be back for series three? Hans Rosenfeldt answers our questions...

Anna Friel, Marcella (ITV screenshot, EH)

“It’s nice to go out with a boom,” Marcella writer Hans Rosenfeldt told RadioTimes.com when reflecting on the savage series two finale. And go out with a boom, it did.

Advertisement

The final episode of the chilling ITV drama saw the life of Anna Friel’s tortured detective unravel to devastating effect.

Scroll down to read Rosenfeldt’s answers to our biggest questions – but first, recap what exactly happened:

What happened in the finale?

Marcella discovered that Samantha’s mother, Jane Colletti, was in fact the serial killer murdering children in order to “keep the evil in” and stop them from growing up to become abusers.

The detective then realised that her son Edward had been kidnapped by Jane, and was going to be her next victim. She went off in pursuit of Jane and the pair had an almighty face-off, which included Marcella actually cutting Samantha’s neck with a blade to force her deranged mother Jane to release Edward.

If that wasn’t dramatic enough, Marcella then worked out after hypnotic therapy that she had accidentally killed her baby Juliette by shaking her too hard all those years ago. Racked with the guilt of it all, Marcella signed over sole custody of her children to her ex-husband Jason.

She went to throw herself off a building, but colleague Rav came to the rescue and coaxed her away from the edge. Marcella told him about Juliette and then, out of nowhere, attacked him with the cistern lid of a toilet and handcuffed him to the edge of a cubicle.

Anna Friel, Marcella (ITV, EH)

Marcella took Rav’s phone and grabbed a pair of scissors. She cut off all her hair, sliced the edge of her mouth and left her M necklace in the sink, before staggering out into the street.

Then it was nine days later, and Marcella was clad in that green parka, but apparently sleeping rough under a bridge, and with a scar on her face not unlike that of the Joker.


Hans Rosenfeldt answers all your questions…

1. Why did Marcella attack and handcuff Rav? Was it because she was afraid he’d report her after what she told him about Juliette?

Hans Rosenfeldt: Yes. And I also think she just wanted him out of the way. He just talked her off the roof and she has really no idea what to do next. When she goes back into the incident room and sees the pair of scissors and all of that, that’s when she subconsciously knew that she was going to try to erase herself.

Ray Panthaki as Rav, Marcella (ITV, EH)
Ray Panthaki as Rav, Marcella (ITV)

2. So when she cuts off her hair, slices her mouth and abandons her necklace, that’s her trying to form a new identity?

HR: She was thinking, ‘I can’t be Marcella anymore. I don’t want to be Marcella anymore. That’s too hard for me to be, so I’m going to erase myself. Distort my face and erase myself.’

She cut her face up in order to destroy herself physically as well as being mentally broken down. Being somebody else, not being Marcella, is the main thing. She doesn’t want to be Marcella anymore.

3. Was she in a dissociative state when that was happening?

HR: That’s a tricky one. No, she wasn’t really. I think she’s in a very emotional state at that moment, I don’t think she’s in one of her fugues, though. She’s not really thinking things through, I mean, she’s devastated at that point.

4. Who is the man, played by Hugo Speer, who wants her to do work for him at the end?

HR: He works for Laura, Marcella’s former boss from series one. Marcella swapped DNA with a homeless woman in series one, who is now dead. But since her DNA was recorded as Marcella’s, officially Marcella is dead. It was swapped because they found blood in Grace’s apartment from a struggle and every police officer had to give their DNA in order to rule them out.

They didn’t have Marcella’s DNA at the time because she wasn’t in the force for a couple of years. It was her blood so she had to fake a DNA sample – so she swapped it with a homeless woman. We were really reaching back [to events in the first series].

And now, since she is officially dead, that’s what the police officer is asking her: ‘Do you want to work undercover for us, because officially you don’t exist anymore?’

Anna Friel, Marcella (ITV screenshot, EH)
Anna Friel, Marcella (ITV)

5. How did he know she was under the bridge?

HR: I think that Laura, when she found out about this woman being killed in the fire, I think she just went back and thought, ‘That is not Marcella. She was very reluctant to give her DNA over, something is not right here.’

They just did good police work finding her, actually. So Laura said to Hugo Speer’s character, ‘Find her, please. She’s out there somewhere.’

6. When you wrote the DNA swap storyline in the first series, were you thinking it could come in handy later on?

HR: It was luck, really. I wish we’d had such foresight to say, ‘Yeah, we can use this later.’ But it was pure luck.

7. Are you hoping for a third series?

HR: Yes, this was all a bit of a set up for series three, when Marcella actually goes undercover. That is about [all the information] we have, what we know about series three, if we ever get it. I have no idea when [ITV] are going to confirm if they want [it]. It’s basically up to them and, of course, to see if we can get people back.

Marcella cast (ITV, EH)
Marcella cast (ITV)

Some more unanswered questions from earlier in the series…

Why was Edward acting so strangely, crushing a mouse to death in his hand?

HR: Bringing Leo back was a big thing. As long as he didn’t know what had happened to him he was kind of coping with it, but then in episode one, when [Edward] found out [Leo] actually died after leaving him on the street, I think he was just so burdened with guilt that he couldn’t cope with it.

In the back of his head is also the fact that he saw his mother with his dead sister. Even though I think he was a little bit too young and it would be a little bit mature of him to put those two together in the bedroom, he saw it.

Asher Flowers as Edward, Marcella (ITV screenshot, EH)
Asher Flowers as Edward, Marcella (ITV)

What is going on with Becky’s past? The drugs and prostitution? Is there more to that story?

HR: There isn’t actually anything more on that story. We just needed something for Mark to find, but there are so many bad people in our show anyway, so we didn’t want to make Becky one of the bad ones as well. She was involved in circumstances that were a bit dubious, but she was genuinely one of the good girls.

Yolanda Kettle, Marcella (ITV, EH)
Yolanda Kettle as Becky, Marcella (ITV)

Why did you need something for Mark to find?

HR: It was to get the kids back with Marcella so we could get a little bit more of her and Edward, and them going to the hypnotist. It works really well for us when Marcella is stepping a little bit over the line, like she did with Becky: having Mark finding out dirt on her, confronting her with that and then not really being able to cope with the consequences which, in this case, was the kids having to move home with her.

Jack Doolan as Mark, Marcella (ITV, EH)
Jack Doolan as Mark, Marcella (ITV)

Why was Mark watching Marcella in her home and why did she let him get away with it?

HR: She thought, which was the right reason, that he was a bit infatuated with her. He was a little bit in love with her. He had a weird way of showing it or being close to her – which was watching her through her computer. And I think she realised that was the case.

Advertisement

We had a few scenes in the early episodes where you could see that Mark fancied her – him asking her out – but they didn’t make the cut. Also she had one up on him there. He was very useful to blackmail now and then. So that’s why she didn’t say anything.