It’s been over two years since Liar debuted on ITV, so if you need a refresher before embarking on series two, we’ve got you covered…
Series one of Liar introduced us to Laura Nielson (Joanne Froggatt), a secondary school English teacher who had just gone through an amicable breakup with boyfriend PC Tom Bailey (Warren Brown). Now free and single, she agreed to go on a date with a charming and good-looking surgeon called Andrew Earlham (Ioan Gruffudd) – who also happened to be the widowed father of a boy in her class, Luke Earlham (Jamie Flatters) and the co-worker of her sister, nurse Katy Sutcliffe (Zoë Tapper).
The date went well, starting with a lovely dinner at the restaurant at the end of the pier and ending with Andrew back at Laura’s place for a glass of wine. But that’s when things got hazy.
Laura woke up the following morning knowing that something was terribly wrong. After showering and stripping her bedding in a panic, she rushed to her sister’s place in tears and told her she couldn’t remember what had happened – but that she had somehow ended up on the bed, and she hadn’t consented. It was rape.
Meanwhile, Andrew was telling his colleague how much he liked Laura and wanted to see her again. She was amazing, and he’d already texted her, and was anxiously waiting for her to text back.
So was Laura making it up or misinterpreting what happened? Or was Andrew really a scheming rapist? Throughout the next three episodes, viewers were invited to question who was telling the truth. But for the sake of clarity, we’ll say this right now: Andrew was the liar, and he’d spiked her wine glass with a date rape drug.
Laura went to the police, where the case was investigated by DI Vanessa Harmon (Shelley Conn) and DS Rory Maxwell (Danny Webb). But it was his word against hers.
Frustrated, Laura then went public with the story on social media – and now everyone knew about the allegations, including Andrew’s colleagues and his son and all his schoolmates and all Laura’s pupils. She also took matters into her own hands, breaking into Andrew’s house (accidentally leaving her earring behind – whoops) where she discovered a clear vial of liquid in a box under his bed.
Because of the whole breaking-and-entering thing (which is quite illegal), Laura wasn’t able to ask Vanessa and Rory to investigate. But she did manage to persuade her ex-boyfriend Tom, a police officer, to obtain a warrant and search Andrew’s house for drugs. Unfortunately, the vial Tom’s team found turned out just to be insulin, so it was a total dead end.
Andrew and his lawyer blew up about the whole incident, and they later managed to get Tom suspended from the police. They also decided to go after Laura with a defamation case.
Meanwhile, Laura wasn’t giving up. She dug into Andrew’s past and found another victim, Catherine MacAulay, in Edinburgh. And while up in Scotland, she was on the hunt for answers about Andrew’s late wife and her “suicide”; Tom had managed to find out that the neighbours had heard a huge domestic row before she died. It was suspicious, but no one had been able to prove anything.
Furious at the way his name had been ‘smeared’ and arrogantly sure that was untouchable, Andrew now decided to make DI Vanessa Harmon his next victim. She’d turned down his invitation for a drink, and she’d made it clear she believed Laura.
So Andrew drugged Vanessa, crept into her house while she was unconscious on the sofa, raped her, and then left without a trace. Vanessa was heavily pregnant, and only began to realise what had happened the next day when she went to the doctor with unexplained bleeding and pain. The baby was fine, but the doctor was surprised to find abrasions around her vagina – which was extra surprising to Vanessa as her wife Jen (Jill Halfpenny) was away on active duty in the military.
Andrew was reinvestigated by the police, but again they had no actual evidence; the rapist had persuaded his son to provide an alibi, and the doctor found no sign of the date rape drug GHB in Vanessa’s blood. (It doesn’t stay in the system for long.)
With Andrew still free after two fruitless investigations, Laura came up with a plan to frame Andrew by planting a date rape drug in his work locker. Tom supplied the drug and offered to sneak into the hospital.
But before they went through with it, Laura spied her sister Katy’s umbrella in Tom’s car and started to wonder… what was going on there? She confronted Katy and discovered the horrible truth: her ex-boyfriend had an affair with her own sister. It was a double betrayal, and also shocking news for Katy’s husband Liam (Richie Campbell).
At this point, rejecting Tom’s help, Laura abandoned the locker plan and came up with something even more drastic. She invited Andrew to the pub – supposedly to tell him she would back down in the defamation case – and spiked his drink with the date rape drug; then as the effects kicked in, she bundled him into the back seat of his own car and drove him off to the boatyard, where she tied him up in the boathouse.
Unfortunately, she then made the mistake of behaving like a Bond villain and taunting him with details of her Big Plan (to frame him for raping her again), while (of course) Andrew managed to loosen the rope around his wrists and untie himself. “Don’t run,” he said, showing her his free hands – and so began the chase.
But just in time, Vanessa sped up in her car. She’d tracked Andrew’s car to this remote location in the middle of the night, worried he was attacking another victim. When she discovered what was really going on, the detective agreed to keep quiet about Laura’s actions – and she vowed that Andrew would face justice.
Then we jumped to three months later! Laura had agreed to go on a date with Ian (Kieran Bew), a lovely man she met during her trip to Edinburgh. It went very well and she talked about trying to move on from what happened. But while they were at the pub enjoying a drink, through the window she spotted Andrew on a date with a pretty blonde woman and became terrified that history was about to repeat itself.
So Laura tracked down this woman, Charlotte, and tried to warn her off. But instead of running away, Charlotte told Andrew that Laura had been interfering in his love life – and Andrew was so incensed that he went round to Laura’s house in the middle of the night, called her up and creepily taunted her down the phone.
“I play that back whenever I get the chance,” he said, recounting details of her bedspread and the paintings hung on her bedroom wall. And Laura now had the gut-churning realisation that he’d filmed the rape.
(Meanwhile, Charlotte turned out to be an undercover cop, but Andrew caught her taking a sample from her wine glass to test it for drugs; the operation was a bust.)
With the police struggling to pin Andrew down, Laura came up with a new plan! She asked her disgraced (and very sorry) sister Katy to steal Andrew’s phone from his locker at work, and Tom stripped it for data. What they found was a text from a woman called Mia Lentzovka, who asked: “When can you come over to collect your things?”
Laura went over to Mia’s, blagged her way in by calling herself a friend of Andrew’s, and said she was picking up his stuff. She was taken to the garden shed, where she discovered a bag full of memory cards – and when she looked at the contents of those cards, she found video recordings of 17 rapes. Including her own.
With that evidence, the police were ready to arrest Andrew – and DS Rory Maxwell was sure he’d be going down for a really, really long time. But when they arrived at Andrew Earlham’s house, he was gone.
After three weeks, the police were still searching for Andrew Earlham and recordings of his sexual assaults had been leaked to the press. But while the police had yet to find him, the camera panned in on a body lying in the marshes – and there was Andrew Earlham, dead, with his throat sliced open.
But who killed him? That’s the question for series two…
Liar begins on on ITV at 9pm tonight (Monday 2nd March)