Bloodlands ending explained: Goliath’s identity revealed in BBC drama finale

The jaw-dropping finale of Bloodlands aired on BBC One tonight – here's how it went down.

Bloodlands

BBC One’s Bloodlands came to a dramatic conclusion tonight, with the show’s biggest question – who is Goliath? – finally being answered and the disappearance of Emma Branning explained by Tom himself.

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If you’re still processing what exactly happened over those 60 minutes, not to worry – we’ve broken down all of the information just fired our way and explained the full episode for you, answering all the questions you had going into the finale.

Read on for everything you need to know about the ending of Bloodlands – and for all the questions we still need answers to.

Bloodlands ending explained

*Warning: contains spoilers for Bloodlands episode four**

The Bloodlands finale picks up where the last episode left off – with Jackie Twomey’s arrest. As Jackie is being swabbed, fingerprinted and handed prison overalls, in walks Heather Pentland (Susan Lynch) – an investigating officer brought in from Belfast to question Jackie.

Cut to a Line of Duty-esque scene in which Heather is interrogating Jackie, presenting him with the postcard found in his caravan which features the finger print of Adam Cory – the brother of Goliath victim David, who was killed by Tom Brannick at the end of episode two,

While Jackie insists he’s never met Adam, Heather reveals that officers who worked with Jackie at the Royal Ulster Constabulary from 1986-1999 would frequent the local pub, where Adam Cory was a regular and in the 12 months after his brother’s disappearance, he was repeatedly asked to leave for bothering officers. She says that an order was signed which stopped RUC officers from drinking there as it was seemed a security risk – an order signed by Jackie.

Bloodlands
BBC

She adds that an account from a former officer claims that Jackie kicked Cory out of the pub one night and told him to stay away from his officers – an account supported by an entry in Adam Cory’s journal in which he says Jackie told him that “his brother got what he deserved”.

With the evidence stacking up against him, Jackie admits that he did know Adam Cory but that the book in his caravan containing the Goliath postcard did not belong to him.

Jackie’s lawyer asks for a break in the interview, during which Tom receives a call and tells Niamh that he needs to pop out to chat to Izzy who is upset about something. However, he actually meets up with Tori, who presses Tom for information on Jackie’s case. She asks him about the evidence handed to her by Adam and whether the police have looked at it yet, to which he responds that these things take time. “I’ve waited 22 years,” she angrily responds before storming off.

Back at the police station, Tom pushes Heather to go for the facts that position Jackie as Goliath and asks her to go after his work with Special Branch and how he accounts for running Joe Harkin as an unofficial IRA source using his police allocated postbox.

Bloodlands
BBC

Meanwhile, Niamh answers the police station landline phone to Izzy and asks if she’s feeling better, to which Izzy appears to say she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. “My mistake, I must have misheard him,” Niamh responds, now increasingly suspicious of Tom.

Heather heads back into Jackie’s interrogation and begins asking him about his secret meetings with IRA source Joe Harkin. Jackie explains that while the meetings weren’t authorised, he couldn’t declare them as he was a Catholic officer working in the RUC and that his colleagues saw him as the enemy and didn’t think they could trust him. “The rules in those days were open to interpretation,” he adds.

Heather then confronts him about his secret calls with Siobhan Harkin – the widow of Joe Harkin – and accuses him of influencing the Goliath investigation, pointing at his reluctance to investigate the Goliath case, his removal of Superintendent McAllister from the case, his pushing for the manhunt of Keenan and the lack of forced entry to his caravan as evidence.

A visibly distressed Tom leaves the watching room as Niamh looks even more suspicious. Later on, Niamh meets Dinger, who has been searching the caravan and can’t find anything else. He tells Niamh that if Jackie was responsible for Adam Cory’s murder, they would have found something by now and that he believes someone could be framing Jackie.

Bloodlands
BBC

Niamh heads back to the station, enters Jackie’s interrogation room while no one else is around and starts speaking to him in Irish. She says she has concerns about Tom and it seems clear that someone is trying to frame him. Jackie tells her to look into when Emma Brannick disappeared and gives her a contact who owes him a favour.

Niamh meets up with Jackie’s contact, who says he’ll look into Emma Brannick’s disappearance, while Tom gets news from Dinger and presents his forensic analysis to Heather, which shows that the postcard in Jackie’s caravan is not from the same batch found in the Keenan investigation and that his caravan door was forced by someone likely to have a skeleton key.

Heather explains that they’ll have to discount the evidence they have already, and Tom says that they should now focus their attention on figuring out who tried to frame Jackie, who is then released by police.

Tom meets up with a frustrated Tori to tell her the bad news and on the way back to his car, he’s attacked by one of Pat Keenan’s henchmen. Pat wants to know who the woman that kidnapped him was and implies that he’ll harm his daughter if Tom doesn’t find out. “Eventually, someone will answer for what happened to me, with or without you,” Pat warns him.

Bloodlands
BBC

Meanwhile, at the hospital, Tori and Izzy – Tom’s medical student daughter – are chatting in the changing room and Tori tells her that she’s heading to the Mourne Mountains, where she was brought up, to get some headspace. She then sees Izzy put on the owl pendant, which was a birthday present from her dad, and asks her about it, realising that the necklace she was sent by Adam as evidence is identical. Izzy says that her father gifted it to her and that her mum had one just like it.

At the police station, Birdy gives Niamh Tom’s medical records, which state that Tom went on medical leave for a rugby injury on the 19th February – a few weeks after he reported Emma Brannick as missing. However, she gets a call from Jackie’s contact who tells her that Emma Brannick failed to report to her intelligence unit on 18th March, which would actually make her the first person to go missing in the Goliath case. She realises that Tom went on medical leave the day after his wife actually went missing.

As Tom arrives at the police station, he gets a call from Tori who asks about the necklace and accuses him of deliberately hiding it from the police along with the other evidence handed in by Adam. She reveals that Izzy revealed the significance of the necklace and that she has her in the car with her, having taken her hostage to the mountains (unbeknownst to Izzy, who thinks she’s just on a trip with Tori). She tells him to meet her at a location and not to alarm Izzy. “If you are to try something, she could always disappear,” Tori threatens.

A panicked Tom heads off to the location as Niamh tells Jackie that Emma Brannick actually went missing three weeks before Tom reported it and that “something’s not right”. They begin tracking Tom’s phone, but he switches it off on the way to Tori’s house – leading them to believe that he’s trying to cross the border.

Bloodlands
BBC

Tom arrives at Tori’s house in the Mourne Mountains and finds Izzy in the kitchen as she believes she’s set them up on a date. While Izzy continues to cook, Tom and Tori head into another room and Tori begins angrily interrogating Tom, accusing him of killing her father – IRA arms dealer Simon Quinlan – as well as Adam’s brother David Cory, a protestant paramilitary godfather.

Tom breaks down and reveals that back in 1998, he arrived home to find a baby Izzy alone and his wife missing. He received a call from David Cory, who claimed he had kidnapped Emma and that if he ever wanted to see her again, he would have to kill Simon Quinlan and Joe Harkin, who was an IRA quartermaster. They were waiting on a shipment of weapons on the Strangford Lough island and while police were told to leave the delivery alone, as Joe Harkin was “assisting the RUC elsewhere”, Tom waited for them to arrive and killed them.

He then rang David, who told him to go home and wait for Emma to return, but Tom didn’t feel comfortable letting the weapons be distributed so waited for him to turn up. When he did, Emma was with him and they were behaving “like a couple”, at which Tom knew that she had no intention of coming home so he killed David. He then told Emma to leave, knowing that she could use her intelligence skillset to disappear.

Bloodlands
BBC

When Tori asks about Adam, Tom explains that he killed Adam, who had worked out he was behind the Goliath killings. Tori tells Tom that he needs to hand himself in or else she’ll tell Izzy, and that to guarantee he will turn himself in, he’ll need to give her proof that proved beyond doubt that he’s Goliath. Tom tells her where he hid the gun that killed Adam, David, Joe and Simon and she drives off to find it.

Meanwhile, Tom wrestles over whether to tell Izzy but decides not to and makes a mysterious call. When he does so, the police are able to track him again and head off searching for him. Izzy then comes in and Tom says that Tori suddenly left, to which Izzy replies that he should pursue her romantically.

Tori arrives at the farmhouse in which Tom hid his gun, but when she looks in the hiding place, the gun isn’t there. Suddenly, Pat Keenan emerges, holding the gun and shoots her, having been told by Tom that she was the woman who kidnapped him. As Pat’s dragging her body into a boat, Tom arrives and shoots him dead, just as the police arrive. He grabs his phone and throws it into the water.

Jackie arrives and sees Pat Keenan, recognising his weapon as the same pistol used by Goliath. Izzy arrives, sees Tori’s dead body and begins screaming with grief.

Back at the police station, Heather tells Tom they detected a call from his mobile to an unknown number, which he explains was Tori’s work phone. They ask why they didn’t find the phone on her, but he says he doesn’t know, revealing that she was Simon Quinlan’s daughter, that her DNA matched that of the woman who kidnapped Pat Keenan and that she must have been convinced Keenan was Goliath. He heads home with Izzy as Jackie and Niamh watch suspiciously on.

What about Jackie Twomey and his links to Joe Harkin?

While Jackie Twomey was eventually exonerated during tonight’s episode, we still don’t know why he was secretly communicating with IRA source Joe Harkin and why he continued to meet up with Siobhan Harkin.

Tom briefly mentions to Tori that back in 1998, the police knew that Joe Harkin was “assisting the RUC elsewhere”, which could be him referring to Jackie’s meetings with him.

However, investigating officer Heather does say that Jackie’s conduct is of concern to the police, even after the evidence linked to Goliath is dismissed – could a second series see the police properly investigate Jackie over his links to IRA sources?

Will they investigate Tom over his wife?

While it looks as though the police no longer suspect Tom is involved in the Goliath case, having believed that Pat Keenan was Goliath all along and that Tori was the person who’d kidnapped him, that still doesn’t explain why Tom took medical leave the day after his wife went missing, nor does it explain why he waited three weeks to report her disappearance.

At the end of the episode, we see Niamh and Jackie looking suspiciously at Tom, who has miraculously managed to tie up all the loose ends from his various murders – maybe a second series could see Niamh and Jackie pursue the case of his wife even further, especially since her body was never found.

Is Tom telling the truth about Emma?

On the topic of Emma Brannick, do we really believe Tom when he says that he let his wife go free after discovering her affair with David Cory? While Tom confesses to Tori that he did kill Joe Harkin, Simon Quinlan, David Cory and Adam Cory, he claims that he told his wife to disappear, knowing that she could do so with her intelligence skillset.

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However, knowing what Tom is truly capable of and that his killing spree didn’t stop there – he turned Tori into Pat Keenan knowing she’d be killed and then murdered Keenan himself – maybe he did actually kill her and hid her body somewhere else? We’ll have to wait until series two to find out.

Bloodlands is available to stream on BBC iPlayer – check out our Drama hub for all the latest news.
If you’re looking for something to watch tonight, check out our TV Guide.