Mind-bending is the word that springs to mind after watching Rellik, the new thriller from BBC1 that tells the story of a serial killer in reverse.
Our heads are already aching after the first episode – but the fact that writers Harry and Jack Williams have managed to keep up the suspense and intrigue in a drama that starts at the end is an impressive feat.
Tonight’s action began with the death of a man named Steven Mills, the suspected culprit of seven murders and acid attacks. The story then spooled back through all of the events that led up to that point. But the more we discovered, the more questions we had.
We’ve pieced together all of the clues in episode one and written a recap – in chronological order. Let’s start at the beginning…
Steven Mills (Michael Shaeffer) tied a man to a chair, wrapped a bag around his head and slit his throat. While he did literally kill someone, Steven seemed pretty reluctant about it, was clearly under duress and someone was filming him. “You’re not going to let me live, are you?” he whimpered, addressing a hooded figure who was holding a gun. “I’m sorry,” he sobbed, before slashing a knife across the victim’s throat. He then made a run for it, but whoever was recording chased after him, shooting him in the stomach. We then saw someone – possibly Steven? – run back and retrieve the memory card from the video camera.
After the body was found, DCI Gabriel Markham (Richard Dormer) – who has himself been the victim of an acid attack – paid a visit to Christine Levison (Rosalind Eleazar) in hospital, the woman he suspects might be the culprit. She told him that she’d been in hospital the whole time (also being treated for her acid burns, we presume?) so it can’t have been her. Gabriel hit back, saying he knew that Christine had signed out for a couple of hours that morning. But Christine denied it, claiming she’d gone to see her mother who never showed up. Unconvinced, Gabriel decided to put an officer outside her ward to watch her every move.
Side note: Gabriel is having an affair with his colleague DI Elaine Shepard (Jodi Balfour), and his wife knows.
The police found Steven’s fingerprints on the acid compound used on the latest victim. As they began their investigation into him, the police discovered that Steven, who is schizophrenic, is a patient of Isaac Taylor (Paterson Joseph), a psychiatrist who suffers from extreme OCD. When Gabriel learned this he seemed angry with himself for missing the connection beforehand. It sounded a lot like he’d met Isaac before – our guess is that this is because Isaac was also Christine’s psychiatrist?
Patrick Barber (Paul Rhys) was very keen to get out of the country – but we’re not sure why. While Patrick was frantically packing his things, a young woman came to visit him in his hotel room. She wanted to leave with him but he insisted that she would join him later, and that they couldn’t go together. We know they’re involved with the case somehow, because Patrick seemed distraught at seeing the news coverage on the hunt for Steven Mills.
The police couldn’t find Steven because he’d gone awol – so they called his wife Beth (Georgina Rich) and young daughter into the station to help. While they were there, Steven rang Beth and was audibly distressed, and randomly started talking about Beth’s late mother Edith and how if they went and visited her everything would “be okay”. Beth then told the police that Steven must be confused, because her mother died 13 years ago.
Steven was shot by police snipers in the park. Gabriel had tracked Steven down and wanted to speak with him, but because the cops thought he was a threat they had guns trained on him the entire time. Steven was pleading with Gabriel to trust him and let him go, saying “It’s not me” and “They need to know I had to”. He went to take something out of his pocket and, assuming it was a weapon, the snipers shot him dead. After Gabriel pulled Steven’s body out of the water, he realised he had only been reaching for his phone.
Gabriel went to Edith’s grave. After Steven was shot, the detective was clearly worried that the police had killed an innocent man, and something still didn’t sit right with him about Christine. Once there, he found an empty pill bottle containing a memory card. The very same memory card that was in that video camera.
This leaves a lot of questions to answer in the coming episodes: How did Gabriel and Christine meet? Why have they both been scarred by acid attacks? Who on earth is Patrick? And who is trying to set up Steven? We’ll have to go back in time to find out…
This article was originally published in September 2017