Ahead of the final episode on Thursday 14th March, here is everything we know about the question at the centre of this tense ITV drama:
Did Rose kill Adam? The case against her…
Rose is clearly capable of great malice. Throughout the series she has carried out a meticulously-planned campaign against the Dale family, targeting Leah to punish her true biological father Michael and seducing Leah’s husband Adam. She (probably) also killed Leah’s cat Betsy. Surely she has it in her to kill Adam, too?
Rose and Leah and Adam were all in the house at 10pm that night. Leah left to return to her parents’ anniversary party, and at that point Adam and Rose were the only two people in the house. By 12.20am, Adam was dead. Surely Rose is the obvious culprit?
The last time we (as viewers) saw Adam alive, he and Rose were having one hell of an argument as the truth spilled out. “You’re less than nothing. You’re just a leech sucking the life out of everything and everyone,” he goaded her, while she hit back with a devastating takedown of his character and sexual prowess – and, in a final flourish, suggested Leah should abort his child. He lunged forward and grabbed her throat to strangle her. Did things escalate from there? Could Rose have stabbed Adam in self-defence to protect herself? Or was she so enraged by his taunts that she murdered him in anger?
At some point after this, Rose rang Ben (Burn Gorman), the lovestruck college porter who would do anything to help her. After a few seconds of silence, she managed to tell him: “Ben. Something bad’s happened and I need your help.” Note that she didn’t say she’d personally done something bad, but still: was she calling on Ben to help cover up a crime? Dispose of a body? Frame Leah?
Rose may have made Leah’s life a living hell for the last couple of weeks, but in a weird twisted way she does seem to genuinely admire Leah, who we now know is her half-sister. Was she trying to “save” Leah from her terrible relationship with Adam by demonstrating that he was a liar, a cheater and a coward? And has she now murdered Adam to remove him from Leah’s life entirely?
Did Leah kill Adam? The case against her…
In the police interview room at the end of episode three, Leah explained her timeline for the evening: she went back to the house around 10pm after receiving that text from “Adam” which summoned her there. She discussed the photograph with him, then left the house and arrived back at the party at 10.40pm. She then had a row with her dad and left the family home at 11.20pm. But, as she tells them, she “went for a drive” for a whole hour and didn’t return to her own home until 12.20am, when she discovered Adam dead on the floor. So… where did she go? And does she have an alibi for that missing hour?
Leah had every reason to hate Adam. He cheated on her with her 21-year-old pupil (and nemesis) Rose. He sent Rose a photo of his genitals, which the student used to humiliate Leah in front of her colleagues and jeopardise her chance at a permanent university post. He also dismissed and belittled her at every point, and clearly viewed her first and foremost as an incubator for his child. Is it plausible that her anger at Adam was a motive for his murder?
Were Leah and Rose both involved in the murder?
As screenwriter Gaby Hull’s thriller unfolds bit-by-bit, there is still a whole chunk missing from the story as we head into the final episode. What happened between the moment Adam grabbed Rose by the neck, and the moment Leah (supposedly) discovered Adam dead and dialled 999? There’s at least an hour unaccounted for… and we have to speculate that Rose and Leah may both have been involved in Adam’s murder.
If Leah actually came straight home after leaving her parents’ party, that would have placed her at the house at 11.30pm, and she didn’t call an ambulance until 12.20am. If both Rose and Leah were there with Adam for up to 50 minutes, could Adam have been killed during an almighty row between the three? And did one of them agree to take the fall, or did they each decide to frame the other…?
Cheat continues on Thursday 14th March at 9pm on ITV