From the moment we spied Janet Scott and Rachel Bailey making the long, somber walk to a gloomily lit house we knew episode two of Scott & Bailey’s fifth series was going to be a dark one.
“What’s happened?” asked the anxious woman who emerged from the building. “Where’s Ian?”
As the camera cut away to a crime scene set 29 hours earlier, we knew we’d be waiting to find out how traumatic the answer to that question would be.
Played by David Prosho since the very first series, DC Ian ‘Mitch’ Mitchell was a long serving member of Oldham Street’s Syndicate 9, a familiar face we’d come to associate with our weekly dose of Scott & Bailey.
So when gentle giant ‘Mitch’ messed up and lost his day book, it certainly seemed out of character.
The ex- Army and police firearms office with a decade of service on the Major Incident Team under his belt was not the man you’d expect to make such a grave mistake.
And perhaps that’s why Rachel Bailey pulled no punches when it came to dealing with her colleague after the team failed to save the life of a young man who’d been targeted by the cyber serial killers of Taking Out The Trash.
With his job on the line and three young kids to think about, Mitch’s desperation mounted throughout the episode. From his almost absent minded failure to note the schoolgirls gathering at a crime scene, to his visible distress after visiting the parents of the murdered teen, it was clear that DC Mitchell felt responsible for the investigation’s failings.
Perhaps that’s why Rachel’s extreme dressing down of her colleague post-house visit made for such difficult viewing. Sure, he made a massive error, but didn’t Mitch deserve mercy?
Sadly the Scott & Bailey writers didn’t seem to think so, opting rather to have Mitch attempt to redeem himself by doing his job. From the moment he headed into the house of suspect Kenny Medford alone, the urge to hide behind a cushion was overwhelming.
Who’d have thought, just four series ago, that we’d one day be watching poor old Mitch bleed to death on the floor – having apparently being stabbed in the throat by Medford – as Janet negotiated the release of a little girl while attempting to stop the flow of blood.
It was a harrowing and heartbreaking scene that wouldn’t have looked out of place in an episode of Game of Thrones, but it was a death that could be described as worthy of the magnificent Mitch.
He was, after all, as vital a member of Syndicate 9 as Rachel, Janet or Amelia Bullmore’s DCI Gill Murray, having appeared in more episodes than any other supporting character except his best bud, Pete Readyough.
And to think, he was just ONE episode away from retirement.
DC Mitchell’s death is sure to send shockwaves through an already wobbly Syndicate 9. Pal Pete has previously been struggling to respect Rachel’s authority, and the acting DI is having trouble dealing with an investigation, a leak, and personal matters as is.
And that’s before we even mention Janet’s ongoing family troubles, with troubled teen Taisie facing serious charges.
Oh, and that big white chalk star that’s suddenly appeared outside Rachel’s door.
We’ve only got 60 minutes left in the company of Scott & Bailey, and the stage is set for one hell of a dramatic hour.
Scott & Bailey’s last ever episode airs on ITV on Wednesday April 20th at 9pm