Who was The Stranger?
Of the many mysteries in the series, the one that was probably at the centre of the series was that concerning the identity of the titular Stranger – played by Hannah John-Kamen.
Throughout the show, we see the Stranger repeatedly crop up to inform various characters of secrets that those close to them are keeping – often with disastrous consequences.
It’s not clear exactly who she is until the close of the penultimate episode – when it becomes apparent that she is named Christine Killane and is the daughter of Martin Killane (Stephen Rea). It had earlier been revealed that Martin had killed his wife when she threatened to leave him, and we now understand that the victim was the Stranger’s mother.
But the story doesn’t end there – the final episode reveals that although she had been brought up as Killane’s daughter, Christine’s actual father was none other than Ed Price (Anthony Head), who had been cheating on his wife with Martin’s wife. Therefore, we learn that the Stranger is the half-sister of the series’ main protagonist Adam (Richard Armitage) – talk about a twist!
Where was she getting her information from? And why was she spilling so many secrets?
It turns out that Christine was a professional blackmailer, digging up dirt on people and demanding money from them to prevent her from making their secrets public. She claimed that she was drawn into the world of professional blackmail as a result of discovering the secrets from her childhood (about Martin killing her mother) and says that she wanted to stamp out secrets from the world.
Her decision to reveal the information to Adam about Corinne’s faked pregnancy, however, had a slightly different motive: having discovered that Adam was her brother, she simply wished to protect him by making him aware of his wife’s dishonesty and that’s why she didn’t ask for any money from him. She’d discovered the information about Corrine while researching for a separate blackmail assignment.
How did Corrine die?
One of the other central mysteries to the series was the disappearance of Adam’s wife Corrine, shortly after he had been told by Christine of her faked pregnancy.
It turns out that the reason Corrine had not been found and was not responding to any messages is because she had been killed towards the start of the series – and was buried in the nearby woods.
Her death had come at the hands of Tripp (Shaun Dooley), the Price’s next-door neighbour and family friend. After she had gone missing, as well as being framed for Heidi’s murder, Corrine had emerged as a prime suspect in the embezzlement of funds from the sports club of which she was the treasurer.
However Adam discovers that it was actually Tripp who had been stealing the money – and that he had struck Corrine with a hammer when she had confronted him about it, before taking her body to the woods and texting Adam on her phone to say that she would be going away for a while.
When Tripp confesses the murder to Adam and shows him the spot that he had buried Corrine, Adam is understandably incensed – and ends up shooting Tripp with the gun he had stolen from en earlier bust up involving Christine and Katz.
What was going on with Katz?
In one of the early episodes of the series, we see Patrick Katz (Paul Kaye) murder Heidi (Jennifer Saunders) only for us to later discover that he is a police colleague of DS Johanna Griffin (Siobhan Finnernan). We then spend the remainder of the series hoping that Johanna will discover Katz’ guilt as his behaviour becomes increasingly erratic.
But why did Katz kill Heidi in the first place? Well, it’s all related to one of Christine’s blackmail cases. Christine had been blackmailing Heidi based on the fact that her daughter had been using an app which saw her gain money by hooking up with older, wealthy businessmen.
Now, while Heidi had agreed to pay the £10,000 Christine demanded to keep the secret quiet, one of the men who had been meeting her daughter using the app, Powers, was also being blackmailed – and was less willing to pay up.
Katz had been looking to earn some money by carrying out investigative work alongside his police job, in order to pay his daughter Olivia’s medical bills for a mystery illness, and was approached by Powers to put a stop to the blackmail.
This led Katz to Heidi, who he interviewed, before shooting her when she grew scared of his behaviour and tried to run away. Realising what he had done, it dawned on him that he needed to frame an alternate suspect, and so planted evidence to incriminate the now-disappeared Corrine as the murderer. Katz story ends as he shoots the Stranger – shortly after she had revealed her story to Adam – and is subsequently arrested by Johanna.
As it happened, it turns out that Olivia’s mystery illness was actually being caused by her mother – who was poisoning her, and so the whole nasty mess could have been avoided entirely.
What happened with Dante at the bonfire rave?
One of the other mysteries at the start of the show, is that involving the bonfire rave which Thomas, Mike and Daisy had attended – although this plotline does seem to decrease in significance as the series progresses. It’s probably not altogether that surprising that this thread turns out to be less important – as it was a total invention for the series, not appearing in the books.
In this side plot, a boy from the school, Dante, is discovered naked in a coma the morning after the rave, while Mike is discovered to have somehow beheaded an alpaca. The suspicion at the start of the series is that these incidents might be related to the other mysteries, but it transpires that not only are they not linked to the case of the Stranger or Corinne’s disappearance, they aren’t even really related to each other.
Dante had been left unconscious after he fell while being chased by someone from the sports club, and had been naked due to a practical joke played by Daisy – who thought he was inappropriately trying to hit on her.
Meanwhile Mike had little recollection of the night’s events, or of how he had beheaded an alpaca – and it turns out this is because he had had his drink spiked by Daisy, who thought that he had been responsible for leaking lewd photographs of her younger sister. It turns out that it was actually Olivia, Katz’ daughter who had leaked the photos.
What happens at the very end of the series?
The last scene of the series is set six months into the future, and sees Johanna approach Adam as he watches his son’s football match at the sports club.
It turns out that Johanna had helped Adam cover up the murder of Tripp – making it look like Katz had committed this crime in addition to killing Heidi, while she also informs Adam that the Stranger is now missing…