Writer Pete McTighe has suggested that cliffhangers are key to his new BBC One drama The Pact – and the first episode certainly ended with a corker.
After the four central characters – Anna, Louie, Nancy and Cat – had agreed to a pact of silence surrounding their involvement in the accidental death of their boss Jack Evans, they each received a very ominous text from a withheld number.
“I know what you did and I want money,” the text read.
It was left deliberately unclear who was behind the text, and although we don’t have too much to go on so far, there are already a number of possible suspects – we’ve looked at all the potential blackmailers based on the first episode below.
On the face of it, brewery coworker Tish (Abbie Hern) is perhaps the most obvious culprit. First, she was seen to be rather at odds with the rest of the gang at the beginning of the episode when she applied for the same supervisor role as Anna. And then, crucially, she was present in the car park shortly before Anna and co. decided to shove drunken Jack in their boot and take him to the woods – so she’s clearly aware of compromising information that her co-workers would rather the police didn’t know.
In one scene earlier in the episode, Cat takes Tish aside and tells her in no uncertain terms not to tell anyone about what happened in the car park – and the way the camera lingers on Tish afterwards suggests she could be thinking up a plan to use her knowledge to her advantage. But is she really capable of sending the blackmail text, especially given it was those women who rescued her from Jack’s unwanted advances in the car park?
Throughout the opening episode, no one is more antagonistic to the central quartet than their coworker Mandy – and it is very clear that there will be no love lost between her and the group. She was also seen to be close to Jack early in the episode and is immediately implicated in his death when her credit card is found in the woods close to where his body was found.
Of course, her credit card being there implies that she could well have followed Anna, Nancy and co. to the woods and seen exactly what happened – so there’s certainly more than enough evidence to suggest there’s at least a chance of Mandy being the blackmailer.
We didn’t see too much of former brewery boss and Jack’s dad Arwel (Eddie Marsan) in the opening episode, but there’s always an element of suspicion when a high-profile actor is cast in what seems like a more minor supporting part, and so we imagine this character will go on to have a major role in the series.
Whether that’s as a blackmailer, though, is difficult to tell. When asked by Louie where he was on the night of the incident, he responded simply that his flight was delayed – but he didn’t look particularly convincing in doing so, perhaps suggesting that he knows more than he’s letting on.
He did look genuinely grief-stricken by news of his son’s death though, so if he really is aware of more information, you would think he might go straight to the police rather than trying to extract money – especially given he is clearly a rich man.
This one is admittedly a long shot, but it was made abundantly clear in the first episode that Tamsin and her mother Anna have something of a strained relationship – so perhaps she’s keen to get back at her by any means possible?
It’s unlikely Tamsin would have been aware of the events in the car park or in the woods, of course, but she is clearly rebellious in nature and so it’s not completely impossible that she might have been somewhere she wasn’t supposed to be and seen something…
Richard (Adrian Edmondson) barely makes an appearance in the first episode, but it is nonetheless apparent that his relationship with Nancy is not in a particularly healthy place – and he was also seen to be very keen on following all the latest news updates about the case.
And as with Eddie Marsan, Edmondson seems like too big a name to be brought in for such a bit part, so it stands to reason that he will have a greater role in future episodes – could that be as the mystery blackmailer?
Of course, we only have fairly limited views of several of the characters so far, so it will be interesting to see how this mystery develops – it’s certainly too soon to rule anyone out at this stage.
The Pact continues on BBC One on Tuesday 18th May at 9pm. If you’ve already finished the series, you can read our The Pact ending explainer. If you’re looking for more to watch, take a look at the rest of our Drama coverage, or check out our TV Guide.