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The Suspect episode 2 clears one potential killer – so is Joe guilty?

Dr O'Loughlin's "good guy" image unravelled even further in tonight's episode.

Aidan Turner as Doctor Joe O’Loughlin in ITV's The Suspect
ITV/World Productions
Published: Monday, 5th September 2022 at 10:00 pm
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So much for the "rooftop hero" – Dr Joe O'Loughlin is now firmly in the police's sights on ITV's The Suspect, after another potential killer was cleared in tonight's episode.

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The first episode of the series presented us with two credible suspects for the murder of Catherine McCain (Tara Lee), her former therapist Joe (Aidan Turner) and his patient Bobby Moran (Bobby Schofield).

Bobby has a history of violence and indulges in fantasies of harming women, while he's also obsessed with the number "21" – the same number of times that Catherine was stabbed.

But in episode 2, Moran was apparently cleared of any involvement in the killing, with Joe sharing his suspicions about Bobby with the police only to learn that the young man has a cast-iron alibi for the night Catherine went missing. This leaves us with two remaining options...

The first is that, as DI Ruiz (Shaun Parkes) and DS Devi (Anjli Mohindra) suspect, Joe did indeed kill Catherine – that she tracked O'Loughlin down in London, having made an allegation of sexual assault against him some years earlier, and that he murdered her in a fit of drunken rage, having previously been left emotionally unstable by his Parkinson's diagnosis.

Catherine had, according to her recovered mobile phone, planned to meet with someone she referred to as "J.O." on the night she was killed and had also placed a call earlier that day to Joe's office. His ongoing refusal to be straight with the police – keeping hidden that he (allegedly) spent the night with sex worker Cara (Bronagh Waugh), which would alibi him out of the murder – certainly doesn't do much to bolster their, or our, trust in Joe either.

The second possibility is far more complex – but given that we still have three of The Suspect's five episodes to go, it's the more probable.

Bobby Schofield as Bobby Moran in ITV's The Suspect
Bobby Schofield as Bobby Moran in ITV's The Suspect ITV/World Productions

Joe insists that he's somehow being framed for Catherine's murder – and that Bobby, while perhaps not a killer, is somehow involved with the fit-up job. Sure, Joe could have been lying about detecting a scent of chloroform on Bobby – the same substance found on Catherine's body – but why did Bobby lie to Joe about his past in their sessions together? And what happened to Bobby on Waterloo Bridge, where he was found anxious and badly beaten by police?

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Who is paying for Bobby's high-price lawyer, given that – as we learn this episode – he doesn't even have a job? Is it the same person with deep pockets who mysteriously outbid Joe in his daughter's school auction for her sketch of a whale?

O'Loughlin might just be a fantasist – trying to convince even himself that he's innocent, as Ruiz suggests – but there are certainly a number of clues indicating that he might indeed be caught up in a "well-planned nightmare" orchestrated by powers unknown.

Who is pulling the strings? Some shadowy figure, yet to reveal themselves? Joe's old friend Dr. Gerald 'Jack' Owens (Adam James)? DJ the plumber (Tom McKay)?! At this stage, we're ruling nothing out.

Photographer: Robert Wilson, Stylist: Kenny Ho, Groomer: Bryony Blake, Cover image: Jacket and t-shirt, both by Mr Porter, Reclining on chair image: Top by Reiss, trousers by Universal Works, sneakers by Grenson

Read more about The Suspect:

The Suspect continues on Monday nights at 9pm on ITV, with episodes also available after broadcast on ITV Hub.

Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.

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