Top Boy is returning to Netflix, with a new season of eight action-packed episodes that see the show on spectacular form – if you want to know more, read our Top Boy season 4 review.


But with the COVID-19 pandemic delaying the production and release of the new season – plus more than a decade having passed since the show began on original broadcaster Channel 4 – it can be tricky to keep track of who's who, who betrayed who and who tried to murder who.

If you're planning to catch up ahead of watching the new episodes, we recommend reading our guide on how to watch Top Boy in order – the show's chronology / numbering of seasons is more complicated than you might think – but if you're after a quick and easy refresher, we've got you covered right here.

From Dushane and Sully's earliest antics to where we left things at the close of the 2019 season, here's everything you need to know.

Top Boy: Summerhouse - season 1

The first season of Top Boy introduced us to Dushane Hill (Ashley Walters) and Gerard 'Sully' Sullivan (Kane Robinson), two drug dealers who operate out of the Summerhouse estate in Hackney, East London.

Betrayed by an unknown party, the pair are robbed by rival drug dealer Kamale (Tayo 'Scorcher' Jarrett) and must recover their stolen stash before their supplier, Bobby Raikes (Geoff Bell), takes action. They plan to kidnap Kamale's cousin Shaun (Anthony Welsh) in an effort to force Kamale out of hiding – but their plan goes awry and Shaun is accidentally killed by Sully.

With the help of their enforcer Dris (Shone Romulus), the pair are eventually able to locate both Kamale and the stolen stash, with Dris executing the rival boss. Raikes' henchman Lee Greene (Cyrus Desir) is outed as the one who betrayed the Summerhouse crew and is also killed by Sully in a subsequent confrontation.

The Top Boy cast of characters also includes student Ra'Nell Smith (Malcolm Kamulete) – after his mother suffers a nervous breakdown and is temporarily committed to a hospital, Ra'Nell goes into the weed business with his mother's friend Heather (Kierston Wareing), against the advice of his mentor Leon (Nicholas Pinnock). His entry into the drugs world eventually brings Ra'Nell into contact with Dushane, setting off a chain of events which leads to Leon's death at the hands of Sully.

Raikes is no longer willing to deal with the unpredictable Sully and orders Dushane to give his friend up, but Dushane refuses and kills Raikes to protect his business partner.

Having originally aired on Channel 4, this season is now billed as Top Boy: Summerhouse - season 1 on Netflix.

Top Boy: Summerhouse - season 2

Dushane (Ashley Walters) and Dris (Shone Romulus) in Top Boy season 2
Dushane and Dris in Top Boy Channel 4

As the second season begins, Dushane is now "top boy" of Summerhouse but more power brings more problems – having parted ways with Sully, he must combat a new rival gang of Albanian drug dealers alone. What's more, the police uncover Kamale's body and bring Dushane in for questioning about his rival's murder.

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One of Dushane's young drug runners, Michael (Xavien Russell) is arrested for stealing trainers and is pressured by the police into giving up Dushane. Soon after, Dushane learns of Michael's betrayal but is fond of the boy and decides not to exact revenge but to house Michael in his flat while he decides what to do next.

Sully and Dushane reunite to launch an attack on the Albanian gang's warehouse, stealing their money and drugs. The Albanians, however, manage to locate Dushane's hideaway and though Dushane manages to escape, Michael is brutally murdered by the rival gang.

Elsewhere this season, Sully takes a shine to young criminal Jason (Ricky Smarts) and begins acting as a father figure to the wayward youth.

Ra'Nell in Top Boy
Gem and Ra'Nell in Top Boy Channel 4

Ra'Nell's storyline also continues, as he and best friend Gem Mustapha (Giacamo Mancini) get tangled up with the vicious drug dealer Vincent (Benedict Wong) – who had previously worked with Heather – and his weed-growing business. The two boys are terrorised and beaten by Vincent until Gem's father Babrak (Nabil Elouahabi) comes to their rescue, attacking Vincent and stabbing him in the leg.

With the danger having passed, Gem and his father relocate to Ramsgate to start a new life, while Ra'Nell decides to better himself and begins attending youth football trials.

Having originally aired on Channel 4, this season is now billed as Top Boy: Summerhouse - season 2 on Netflix.

Top Boy season 3 (Netflix season 1)

Top Boy
Sully and Dushane in Top Boy Netflix

Six years on from the events of the previous season, Dushane is living in Jamaica, but his new life falls apart following a run-in with local drug baron Sugar (Gilbert Chen) and his henchman Haze (Alessandro Babalola) and Dushane returns to London, promising to deliver big profits for the dangerous Sugar.

Back in Summerhouse, Dushane attempts to partner once again with Sully, who is still acting as a mentor / father figure to an older Jason, but he initially resists. However, following Jason's tragic death in a house fire, Dushane and a traumatised Sully strike up their old dynamic once again.

The pair go to war with a rival gang led by ambitious young crook Jamie Tovell (Micheal Ward) and his close friend Kit (Kadeem Ramsay), kidnapping Jamie's supplier Lizzie (Lisa Dwan) – with whom Jamie is also having an affair – and convincing her to work for them instead. Having established a new supplier, Dushane arranges for the deaths of both Sugar and Haze – who had previously executed Dushane's cousin Donovan as a warning.

While attending Jason's funeral, Sully is attacked by Leyton (Kola Bokinni), another old prison rival – Leyton had been tipped off as to Sully's location by his girlfriend Lauryn (Saffron Hocking), sister to Dushane's dealer Jaq (Jasmine Jobson). Sully survives and Leyton is later shot dead by Farah (Seraphina Beh), one of Jamie's soldiers. When Jaq discovers Lauryn's betrayal, she orders her sister to leave London and never return if she wants to escape Dushane and Sully's wrath.

Jamie (Micheal Ward) in Top Boy
Jamie in Top Boy Netflix

Lauryn isn't the only traitor in the midst of the Summerhouse crew, however – looking to support his daughter and feeling increasingly sidelined by Dushane after suffering a stroke, Dris gives up Dushane and Sully's location to Sully's estranged cousin Jermaine Newton (Ashley Thomas), who teams with Jamie and Sully's old prison rival Modie (Dave) in an attempted ambush on Dushane and Sully. The pair survive, while Jermaine also escapes – Modie, though, is shot and killed in a stand-off with the police.

Realising that Dris betrayed him and Dushane, Sully shoots him dead – leaving Dris's girlfriend Mandy (No Lay) to raise their daughter alone.

This season also follows Jamie's youngest brother Stefan (Araloyin Oshunremi) – who lives with Jamie and middle brother Aaron (Hope Ikpoku Jr) – and his best friend Ats (Keiyon Cook) as life in Summerhouse drives a wedge between the pair, with Ats working for Dushane against Jamie's gang. On Dushane's orders, Ats betrays Stefan, planting a bag of guns in Jamie's flat.

Jamie takes the blame for the guns to save his brothers from prison. With his foe behind bars, it appears that Dushane has won the war, but he has a proposition for Jamie – if the young dealer will agree to work for him, Dushane will secure Jamie's release from prison.

Meanwhile, Dushane grows close to Shelley (Simbiatu 'Little Simz' Ajikawo), who is caring for his ailing mother, and the pair eventually begin a relationship, with Dushane even meeting Shelley's daughter Tish. Dushane appears to be back on top, but is ignorant to the fact that the police have launched an investigation into his activities, with supposed drug addicts Lee (Josef Altin) and Sarah (Isla Jackson-Ritchie) revealed as undercover officers.

Though it's technically the third season of the show overall, this season was the first to launch on Netflix and is billed as Top Boy season 1 by the streaming service.

Top Boy returns to Netflix with new episodes on Friday (18th March) – visit our guide to the best series on Netflix, read more of our Drama coverage or find something to watch now with our TV Guide.


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