Fans of ITV’s Liar haven’t exactly mourned the death of Andrew Earlham – but we have been wondering who killed him, ever since that cliffhanger ending to series one when the serial rapist was shown lying dead with his throat slit open.
So who murdered this man? How did they do it? Will they get away with it? Here’s all the evidence against each of our suspects.
What do we know about Andrew’s getaway?
Through a series of flashbacks, ITV drama Liar has started to piece together the puzzle of what happened to Andrew Earlham (Ioan Gruffudd) between the moment he disappeared – and the moment three weeks later when he turned up dead in the marshes.
We now know that Andrew received a call from Mia Lentzovka (Ivana Basic) while his ‘friend’ Laura was ‘collecting his things’ (i.e. discovering the video recordings of his crimes). Andrew realised the game was up, so he legged it.
He then called his oblivious golfing pal Larry to double check that he was still in America, before letting himself into Larry’s boat. This was a clever move as the police immediately searched Andrew’s boat – but obviously found nothing, even though Andrew was hiding just meters away.
The next step was calling on another friend, Oliver Graham (Sam Spruell). He agreed to come down to London and collect Andrew’s things from his work locker, including a pile of cash, although crucially Oliver dropped Andrew’s car keys (and Katy picked them up).
Oliver also found out at the hospital that Andrew’s teenage son Luke had tried to kill himself and was in intensive care. After returning to the boat, he told Andrew – who then took the risky decision to break cover and visit his (unconscious) son in hospital. But he didn’t realise that Carl (below) had spotted him striding back up the jetty.
Andrew got in and out of the hospital unscathed, but then – fuelled by anger – he snuck into Laura’s house and lurked in her bedroom clutching a scalpel. Luckily she didn’t see him before she left the house, and he didn’t hurt her. But it looks like he may have stolen one of her necklaces.
For now, the rest of Andrew’s movements are a mystery until the moment he is seen lying dead. Early indications are that he died at 6am on the day he was found, and was killed with a non-serrated blade across the larynx; it is also declared “incredibly unlikely” to be suicide.
So who did it…?
Laura Nielson (Joanne Froggatt)
One obvious suspect is Laura Nielson, and that’s who DI Karen Renton (Katherine Kelly) immediately zeroes in on. After all, she spent the whole of the first series doggedly pursuing her rapist Andrew Earlham – both legally (via the police) and illegally (breaking into his house, kidnapping him, stealing his phone).
And things do start to look really bad for her! In a surprise search after finding out about the incident with Andrew and DI Vanessa Harmon at the boatyard, the police discover Andrew’s car keys in her bedroom drawer. Testing confirms that Andrew’s blood is on the keys. Laura also has no alibi for the time of the murder, and she’s very familiar with the marshlands thanks to years of kayaking.
There’s also one other suspicious thing: Laura tells the police she last saw Andrew Earlham a couple of days after he went missing, which she had already dutifully reported at the time. But her conversation with her sister Katy is full of hints that this may not be the full truth.
However! It’s highly plausible that someone is setting her up. Andrew was determined to destroy Laura and win at any cost, and somehow he’s still tormenting her from beyond the grave – perhaps with the help of a friend. Laura is absolutely convinced she’s never seen the car keys before, and that “someone must have put it there” – and we believe her.
We’re also wondering if sister Katy might have (accidentally) left them there after picking them up in the locker room?
Oliver Graham (Sam Spruell)
A mysterious new character! As ITV puts it, “His connection with Andrew’s past will become clear as the series progresses, and we’ll uncover the strange turn of events that brought him and Andrew together years ago in Edinburgh. Year later, he again becomes deeply entangled with Andrew’s web of lies.”
In episode one, we find out that it’s been a while since he was in touch with Andrew and that he’s not keen to hear from him. However, he does agree to help him by sneaking into the hospital to retrieve Andrew’s getaway bag.
Why does he agree to step in? There are a few tantalising clues. “I’ve helped you out before haven’t I?” Andrew asks, to which Oliver replies: “Don’t. That’s not fair.” Then Andrew adds: “There’s no one else who I trust. There’s no one else who understands.”
Ian Davis (Kieran Bew)
Aside from arresting Laura, DI Karen Renton (Katherine Kelly) immediately sets her sights on Laura’s new boyfriend Ian Davis – who has a criminal record and a past prison sentence he decided not to tell his girlfriend about just yet.
The incident involves a man named Alexander Slater, who Ian put in hospital. “That was nine years ago,” Ian protests to DI Renton. “You do know what he did, don’t you?”
And in episode two, when Laura finds out and throws that name at him, he does fill her in on a few more details: Alexander was apparently taunting and mocking Ian’s sister, who is in a wheelchair. “It was an accident, I didn’t mean to put him in hospital,” he says. But is Ian an impulsive and potentially violent man who might lash out to protect someone he loves?
The police’s suspicions seem to be confirmed when Ian’s fingerprints are found on Andrew’s car keys. But Ian claims – plausibly – that he touched the keys while rummaging in Laura’s bedroom drawer for a phone charger.
Also, while Ian initially seemed to have no alibi as he told police he was home alone at the time of the murder, he has now backed this up. A courier came to his door with a work delivery and can vouch for his presence.
Carl Peterson (Howard Charles)
Another new character! Carl is the husband of Winnie, who has recently been revealed as one of Andrew’s victims – and he’s taken the news hard.
“I blamed you when I should have been protecting you. How is that not my fault?” he asks Winnie, who replies: “He made me think it was a drunken mistake, he made me believe that I’d –”
Carl seems flustered by the news report when Andrew’s body is found, and we know that he’s been sleeping on the sofa (which means Winnie probably can’t give him a good alibi).
Most crucially, he works at the boatyard – and in episode one we see him hurriedly cleaning blood off a hook on the boat where Andrew was previously hiding (the “Hopeless Romantic”).
In episode two, we then realise that he saw Andrew leaving the boat with Oliver (to visit the hospital), broke in, and waited for Andrew to get back so he could confront him. We don’t yet know what happened next, but we do know that – back in the present day, after Andrew’s body is discovered – Carl douses both the boat and his boathouse in oil and sets them alight. What evidence is he trying to destroy?
Tom Bailey (Warren Brown)
Tom seemed like a prime suspect at the end of series one. However, he has apparently now been removed from the equation as actor Warren Brown wasn’t free to film series two. Laura simply tells police: “He moved to Manchester a few weeks back, we don’t really talk anymore.”
We’re not prepared to rule Tom out entirely yet though. In the first series he lost his police job because of Andrew, and he saw his ex-girlfriend Laura seriously hurt by this man. He also obtained a date rape drug, offered to plant it on a suspect, and hacked into a phone; this is a man with motive and means.
Luke Earlham (Jamie Flatters)
Luke is devastated to hear that his father is a serial rapist. The poor boy is only a teenager, and he’s already lost his mother to suicide; now his father is on the run, and there’s no question anymore about whether he’s guilty. In episode one Luke tries to kill himself too, throwing himself off the pier and slamming into the pillars.
It’s hard to tell at this point whether Luke could be a suspect, and whether he could have killed Andrew three weeks after such a devastating injury. But he has plenty of reasons to feel betrayed by his father.
Jennifer (Jill Halfpenny)
Jen has been utterly furious ever since her wife Vanessa Harmon (Shelley Conn) told her about the rape. Andrew Earlham threatened her wife and her unborn child! He broke into her home! And the police seemed helpless to stop him! “I feel like it’s my job to protect you and I wasn’t there,” she said, adding: “How many more until somebody stops him?”
So Jennifer certainly has motive to take this man out of the picture for good. And she clearly has a habit of going out early in the morning at the moment without waking her wife (“early bird and all that”).
She also is delighted to hear that Andrew is dead, but seeks reassurance that Vanessa is happy about it too. Does she want validation for a murder?
Someone else entirely?
Look, a lot of people want Andrew Earlham dead. As DI Karen Renton points out, he has at least 19 victims – each with friends and family. On top of that, various other characters from the ITV drama could be potential suspects.
What if DS Rory Maxwell (Danny Webb) was so sickened by watching the video footage that he wanted Andrew dead? We do know there’s something funny going on with his son BC Greg Maxwell (Jack Colgrave Hirst), who works for the National Crime Agency; Greg collars his dad on the way home from work and takes him off to the pub for a private chat.
Or what if it’s Laura’s sister Katy Sutcliffe (Zoë Tapper)? She previously said: “I’d do anything for you, you know that. Even when you’re angry at me.”
What about DI Vanessa Harmon (Shelley Conn) herself? Or Andrew’s colleague and victim, Winnie Peterson (Amy Nuttall)?
Then there’s Laura’s brother-in-law Liam Sutcliffe (Richie Campbell), who tells her: “If you ask me they should be giving out awards to whoever did that.” Liam also seems utterly convinced that someone is framing Laura, which could be a wonderful gesture of love and trust – or perhaps he knows she’s not guilty because he is?
There’s still so much more to be revealed…
Read more on Liar
- Where was Liar filmed? Location guide
- Everything that happened in Liar and where we left all the characters
- Full Liar cast list – who’s who in the ITV thriller
- What we know about Liar series 2
Liar continues on ITV at 9pm on Monday 9th March