Just five minutes into the new series of Bancroft, and we’ve already seen Sarah Parish’s psychopathic police boss kill again. Even more dramatically, her victim is series one’s heroine: DS Katherine Stevens.
Elizabeth Bancroft (Parish) shot Katherine (Faye Marsay) in the head during the dramatic series finale two years ago, cleverly framing dead gang leader Atif Kamara for the crime. But Katherine unexpectedly survived – and the last time we saw her, she was lying in hospital in a medically-induced coma with her life hanging by a thread.
However, that thread has now been cut. A flashback in the series two premiere reveals how Bancroft gave Katherine a fatal overdose in the hospital, ensuring that her young colleague would never wake up and expose her as Laura Fraser’s murderer.
“I just felt she’d served her purpose. She’d lost,” Bancroft creator and writer Kate Brooke tells RadioTimes.com. Instead, it was time to bring in a new murder and a new antagonist…
But given the outrage when Elizabeth Bancroft got away with it all in series one, Brooke is ready for some fans to be very upset she killed off Katherine.
“I would imagine that people would be surprised and furious,” she says. Even so, the ambition is to hook them in again: “Hopefully they’ve all they’ve been brought into the new murder, and are sort of affected by her relationship with Joe, and they’re prepared to follow her, even if Katherine isn’t still there.”
Sarah Parish adds: “I think they’ll be very upset. At the end of the last series, I got a lot of – not hate tweets, but a lot of: ‘God, I can’t believe you got away with it! It’s terrible! Poor Katherine!’ So I think what they will expect is for that to resurface in this series, and of course, you know… [she’s] just snuffed out immediately.”
But the events of series one have also caused a rift between Elizabeth Bancroft and her son Joe (Adam Long), who cut all contact in the aftermath. Now a fresh murder case has brought him back into town with fiancé Annabel – but he’s determined not to reconnect with his mum.
“She’s still haunted by it, and her son is haunted by it,” Parish says. “Because of that, because of what she’s done, she gets her job. She’s the chief of police.
“But she’s lost her son, who is the love of her life, so she’s made a huge sacrifice. When we meet her this time, she’s a very lonely person. And a sad person, really.”
Not that this is the end of Katherine’s story, because Superintendent Cliff Walker (Adrian Edmondson) is still determined to bring Bancroft to justice for killing both Laura Fraser and Katherine Stevens. As Parish puts it: “Cliff knows, and I know that Cliff knows, and he knows that I know.”
Brooke explains: “She thinks she’s disposed of Katherine, but it’s never as simple as that, because it’s all linked to Joe knowing – or thinking that he knows – what his mother is.
“And actually, of course, there’s also Cliff Walker, who is not going to forgive and forget. Bancroft is one of those people who’s moved on from Katherine, and thinks that she’s got that sorted. But it’s not.”
As for Cliff himself, “He feels a massive sense of guilt and motivation to bring her down because of Katherine. So we wanted Katherine to keep going through him, really.”
Bancroft continues on 2nd and 3rd January 2020 on ITV