Bloodlands episode 3 recap: questions and theories explained

Belfast police have finally made an arrest in the Goliath case, but do they have the right person? Here's our explainer of Bloodlands episode 3 and the questions we still need answers to.


Detective drama Bloodlands continued tonight and we’re finally getting somewhere with Goliath’s case – or are we?


Episode three picked up from last Sunday’s shocking ending, which saw Tom Brannick kill Adam Cory – the brother of one of Goliath’s victims – in a surprising move. We now know that Pat Keenan’s kidnapper was not Goliath, but actually someone looking for the serial killer with the intention of making the police reopen their case – but who is the kidnapper and who is Goliath?

If you’ve still confused after that hour-long episode, we’ve written an explainer for tonight’s instalment and broken down some of the questions and theories that have come up after the events of episode three.

For more detail on who we think Goliath is, check out our Goliath theories page, our theories for Bloodlands episode one and Bloodlands episode two, and our Bloodlands review.

**Spoilers ahead so proceed with caution!**

Bloodlands episode 3 explainer

The episode opens with Tom covering up his tracks after shooting Adam Cory at the end of episode two. We watch as he hides the murder weapon, before he joins DS Niamh McGovern as she looks for Adam at his house. Fearing he’s fallen over inside, Niamh breaks into the house but of course can’t find the pensioner and begins to suspect someone has taken him.

After officially declaring his house a crime scene, forensics begin swabbing his house for fingerprints and find Adam’s diary – the diary which Tom handled before killing him. Niamh notices that several pages have been ripped out, but otherwise the diary details all of Adam’s activities over the last few months.

When a dark-haired woman arrives at the police station claiming she was thrown into a van whilst leaving the hospital and shown to a man, who then said she wasn’t the person they were looking for, Tom and Niamh realise that the man mentioned is Pat Keenan and that he’s been looking for the woman who kidnapped him. Concluding that Pat thought his kidnapper had links to the hospital, Tom heads over there to ask whether reception staff had seen a woman fitting the description they have.

While the receptionist didn’t recognise the suspect, she did reveal that Tori Matthews – the doctor we know (but Tom doesn’t) to be the daughter of Goliath victim Father Simon Quinlan – had asked to be notified when police inquired by Pat Keenan’s hospital appointment.


Now suspicious of Tori, Tom invites her out for dinner and casually mentions that a man fitting Adam Cory’s description was missing, at which point Tori drops her glass in shock and excuses herself to the toilet. Whilst walking Tori home, Tom confronts her about Adam Cory, asking her how he knows him and threatens to arrest her, at which point Tori reveals she is Father Simon Quinlan’s secret daughter and that she’d been helping Adam in his search for Goliath.

Tori tells Tom that she suggested that Adam have someone kidnapped that would fit into the Goliath story so that police would reopen the case and start looking for the bodies of her father and Adam’s brother. She settled on Pat Keenan as a target as his “promiscuity” made him an easy target. Tom warns her to stop searching for Goliath by manipulating a police investigation, telling her to “leave it alone”.

The next day, police find Adam’s oxygen canister near the island he was killed on and soon discover his body on the shore. Discovering he’d been shot in the head, Jackie Twomey declares this is now a murder investigation and that they are certainly looking for Goliath.


Meanwhile, Niamh finds the medals of Frankie MacFeale among Adam’s belongings and realises that it was Adam who inquired about the Goliath case four months prior under that name. She comes to the conclusion that it must have been an active officer who killed Adam who’d made the connection between him and the alias, as they’d flagged Frankie MacFeale on the police system. Jackie narrows it down further by suggesting it had to be an officer with knowledge about the Goliath case as well, which meant the killer was an officer within their district.

Over at Tori’s house, she receives a letter taken from Adam’s belongings addressed to her, which contains all of his major tips, clues and evidence about the Goliath case, including the owl pendant given to his brother by a married women he was having an affair with (who Adam told Tom in the last episode was his wife Emma). Unaware of Tom’s links to the evidence, Tori rings Tom and asks him to come over to check it all out in the evening.

At the police station, Birdy reveals that there are only three police officers within their district who’ve been active since 1998: forensic investigator Dinger (Michael Smiley), Jackie Twomey and Tom Brannick. Jackie suspiciously rules himself out straight away, causing Tom to ask his team to pull all the information they have on him. They find most of his police file has been redacted, potentially by intelligence, but have no idea why.


Niamh learns that an unidentified officer had been accused of unofficially running Joe Harkin – one of Goliath’s victims – as an IRA source and was suspected of passing highly sensitive information using insecure means via his allocated police post office box – No. 2421. Tom manages to identify that box as Jackie’s box and orders Niamh to find out where Jackie has been over the last 24 hours.

Tom then heads to Tori’s house, where she shows him Adam’s evidence and tells Tom that she needs to find the man who killed her father. Tom says he thinks Goliath is Jackie Twomey and Tori agrees, having read Adam’s diary in which he suspects Jackie of concealing Goliath’s identity. They decide to work together, and while Jackie is at work, Tori heads to his caravan and plants a book – The History of the 36th Ulster Division under Tom’s instructions.

When Birdy reveals to Jackie that the focus of their investigation is him and the his unofficial identification of Joe Harkin as an IRA source, Jackie meets up with Siobhan Harkin, Joe’s widow, and tells her she’s in danger as the police found out that he was running Joe and that they’ll soon find out she helped him.

The next day, the police receive an anonymously posted note (most probably from Tori) telling them to search Jackie’s caravan and they determine that it must be from whoever is hunting Goliath, as the prints on it match those in Pat Keenan’s car and those on Adam Cory’s teacups. When police search Jackie’s caravan, they find a postcard of Harland & Wolff (identical to Goliath’s calling card) inside the book planted by Tori. On the postcard, they identify Adam Cory’s finger print and Tom arrests Jackie for the murder of Cory.

Why did Tom shoot Adam?


It’s still unclear why Tom shot Adam at the end of the last episode, but there are a number of potential theories.

Tom may have killed Adam out of anger, as he’d just revealed that his brother David had been having an affair with Tom’s wife Emma and that she’d gifted him her owl pendant – a necklace very special to Tom. Similarly, he could have been frustrated as Adam had just revealed that he’d been involved in Pat Keenan’s kidnapping and made it look as though Goliath was the culprit so the police would reopen his brother’s case.

However, Adam’s death appeared to be such a reckless, unnecessary and cold-blooded killing on Tom’s behalf that there could be more to Tom’s story. While he becomes visibly nervous when his colleagues begin looking into Adam’s death, he appears unshaken when disposing of the murder weapon and covering up his tracks. Tom is also very quick to pin the blame on Jackie Twomey – although it’s worth noting that he was already suspecting Jackie of being Goliath.

Could Adam have been correct in accusing Tom of being Goliath? Did Tom know about his wife’s infidelity and subsequently began a killing spree? I guess we’ll have to tune in to episode four to find out.

Was Tori Matthews involved in Pat Keenan’s kidnapping?


We now know that Tori Matthews was definitely involved in Pat Keenan’s kidnapping alongside Adam Cory.

She reveals in tonight’s episode that Adam Cory approached her mother about Goliath, as his brother David and Tori’s father were victims of the serial killer. While her mother was too ill to speak to Adam, Tori began working with Adam to find Goliath and came up with the idea of kidnapping Pat, using her job at the hospital as a way of tracking his movements. Towards the end of the episode, we find out that the finger prints found on the note, anonymously posted (most probably by Tori) to police telling them to search Jackie’s caravan, matches the finger prints in Pat Keenan’s car and on Adam Cory’s teacups – which suggests that Tori was the person who kidnapped Pat Keenan and that she wore a wig to do so.

However, we don’t know for sure and with one more episode to go, completely new information could come to light.

Why was Jackie Twomey’s police file redacted?


When Niamh, Tom and Birdy are comparing the police files of Jackie, Tom and Dinger – all of whom knew about Goliath and were in the police which makes them suspects in Adam Cory’s murder – the team find that most of Jackie’s file has been redacted.

While Birdy explains that this could have been done by “special branch, intelligence or some monkey further up the tree”, it still doesn’t explain why most of the file is blacked out. Could Jackie have somehow done this himself to cover up his tracks? We know that he was the one who ran Joe Harkin’s name as an IRA source with the help of his widow Siobhan Harkin – could this have been an intelligence mission that Jackie was involved in? We’ll have to tune in next week to find out.


Bloodlands continues on Sundays at 9pm on BBC One. If you’re looking for something to watch tonight, check out our TV Guide or check out our Drama hub for all the latest news.