Too Close episode 1 recap: questions and theories explained

Emily Watson's forensic psychiatrist attempts to uncover the truth – but is her dangerous patient manipulating her? Here's our recap of Too Close episode one.

Too Close

*Warning: contains spoilers for Too Close episode one*

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ITV’s three-part thriller Too Close began on Monday night, introducing us to our two female lead characters.

Chernobyl star Emily Watson plays forensic psychiatrist Dr Emma Robertson in the Too Close cast, while Olivier Award-winner Denise Gough is her high-profile patient and would-be murderer Connie Mortensen.

In episode one, the pair establish an antagonistic but intimate relationship during their one-on-one interviews, leaving viewers with plenty of questions.

We’ve unpacked tonight’s instalment and broken down some of the key questions and theories that have come up after the events of Too Close episode one.

Too Close episode 1 recap

In Too Close episode one, the action starts with a flashback to Connie driving her car with two small children in the back seat (they turn out to be her own daughter Annie, and the daughter of Connie’s friend, Ness).

As we watch, Connie appears to be in a manic, frightened state – and drives into a river.

In the present day, we meet Dr Emma Robertson, a forensic psychiatrist who seems to have had a recent, traumatising experience – both her husband and her colleagues wonder if she’s up to the task of taking on the ‘Mortensen case’, i.e. Connie Mortensen, who has been dubbed the ‘yummy mummy monster’ by the press.

Connie claims she can’t remember the crime that has put her in a psychiatric hospital, and it’s Emma’s job to work out whether she’s faking her amnesia.

Too Close
Connie in Too Close
ITV

The pair soon establish a prickly, cat-and-mouse relationship during their interviews as Connie gets under Emma’s skin, exhibiting a searing insight into her home and sex life – and unnerving Emma.

However, Emma soon establishes that Connie’s relationship with her beautiful friend and fellow school mum, Ness, is key to the case, and that Ness’ strange behaviour (copying Connie’s perfume and even her tattoos) may have caused Connie to snap.

In turn, Connie’s brutal insights into Emma’s personal life impacts the latter more and more throughout the episode. She also suffers an injury when Connie, confronted with a photo of her young daughter in hospital, violently lashes out.

Deeply affected, Emma goes home and gets drunk – and when she arrives for another interview with Connie the next day, she’s violently ill.

While she vomits, Connie coolly tries on Emma’s jacket and steals both her cigarette lighter, and a unicorn sticker that Emma keeps in her purse.

We learn that the sticker originally belonged Emma’s young daughter, and it’s hinted at that she died before the events of the episode (although it’s not yet known exactly how she died).

Did Connie mean to drive into the river?

Connie is charged with attempted murder – both the girls in the car with her apparently survived, although it seems that Connie’s daughter has suffered serious injuries and is in a coma.

When Connie is presented with the prosecution’s photograph of her daughter, her first reaction is to laugh, thinking that the child is playing a game – but when Emma explains the injuries are real, Connie becomes hysterical and violent.

Her initial reaction is in keeping with the theory she can’t remember driving into the river. We also learn in a flashback that Connie was on medication – perhaps she had come off it by the time of the car crash?

Did Connie have an affair with Ness?

There was clearly some kind of sexual tension between Connie and Ness (who’s in a seemingly loving lesbian relationship in episode one), but it’s somehow resulted in destruction.

Too Close
Connie and Ness in a flashback scene in Too Close
ITV

In her interviews with Emma, Connie reveals her friendship with Ness made her feel alive, and we see the pair enjoying each other’s company in flashbacks.

Emma asks Connie if she was ever in love with Ness, which Connie seems to deny by citing her preference for men, but it’s clear she had feelings for her.

Are Ness and Connie’s husband Karl a couple? 

Near the end of the episode, Connie’s husband Karl drops by the hospital, hoping to schedule an visitor’s appointment to see her.

When he’s turned away (he forgot to book in advance), he returns to the hospital car park – where Ness is waiting for him.

He gets into the car, and they hold hands. Are they supportive friends and neighbours, or a romantic couple?

Earlier in the episode during a flashback, Ness had quizzed Connie about her married sex life, noting the outfits that Connie occasionally wears in bed (French maid, a Catholic nun). Could Ness have been planning how best to seduce Karl?

Why did Connie steal Emma’s lighter?

At the end of the episode, Connie steals Emma’s lighter – we see her playing with it and watching the flames after Emma has left.

Did she steal the lighter because it belonged to Emma (and represented Emma’s more secretive, rebellious side), or because she was looking for a means of self-destruction?

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Too Close will continue tomorrow on ITV. Check out what else is on with our TV Guide or our dedicated Drama hub.