The Bay review: Deadly barbecues, pink teddy bears and tattoos – 5 burning questions after episode one

Morven Christie is back in The Bay and there’s more murky behaviour and murder in Morecambe – we root through the clues and red herrings.

By Alex Fletcher Published: 25 January 2021 - 5.56pm
ITV Morven Christie as Lisa Armstrong in The Bay

It’s been nearly two years since the first series of ITV’s The Bay, but the police drama wasted no time in thrusting us back into the action.

Breaking the traditional rule of TV whodunnits where the most recognisable guest star is typically the killer, the most famous face joining the cast for The Bay season 2 was killed off before the opening credits even began.

A delightful family barbecue was halted in its tracks, with a 10-year-old boy the only witness to the murder.

Making very little attempt to mask their identity, the shooter was clearly a gun for hire, with small details such as the cutting wireless cables to disconnect the CCTV all planned out.

So who was behind the killing? What secrets are lurking behind the middle-class family life of the Marshbrooks and why is DS Med carrying that giant pink teddy bear everywhere?

Here are all the burning questions we have after series two, episode one of The Bay…

1. Who killed Stephen Marshbrook?

Stephen Tomkinson as Stephen Marshbrook in The Bay ITV

Well, we definitely didn’t see that coming. Stephen Tompkinson, one of the most recognisable stars of this second series, is shot and killed in the opening minutes of the first episode.

We’re sure he’ll pop up again in flashback sequences, but it was a bold and cunning move to cast such a familiar face as the victim, and one which only added to the shock value of the show’s opening scenes.

Stephen’s son, 10-year-old Oliver, was the only witness, but so far he’s been too traumatised to reveal much about the killer.

Oliver did managed to communicate that the killer had a recognisable two-headed bird tattoo - which he handily left fully visible for anyone nearby to see. But the question isn’t really the identity of the shooter, but rather who hired them to pull the trigger.

Early suspects from within the family are Stephen’s bolshy father-in-law Bill Bradwell, played by James Cosmo, was has been forced out of the family solicitors business he set up and into retirement.

Similarly shifty is brother-in-law Mark (Steven Robertson), who has reasons to hold a grudge after being looked over as a partner in the business. Along with his wife Stella (Sunetra Sarker), Marks looks keen to start pulling the strings now that Stephen has gone.

2. Who was driving the Vauxhall Corsa?

Taheen Modak playing DS Med Kharim ITV

The murder was cleverly planned meaning that no alarms or CCTV footage could be found. But the one potential shot of someone driving a stolen Vauxhall Corsa nearby could be a vital clue.

Was the killer behind the wheel? Or possibly even the person pulling the strings behind the scenes.

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3.  What really went on with Grace?

Stephen had three children, 10-year-old Oliver, gap-year backpacker Jamie (Jack Archer) and tearaway teen Grace (Amy James-Kelly).

Grace appears to be the most important to the central storyline and is an early suspect for the police as she refuses to even approach her family about the death.

The black sheep of the family after she was caught stealing a car from her grandad, the family are reluctant to shed any light on what really went on with Grace.

Although Grace cuts an unlikely criminal figure, her employed Frank Mercer (Owen McDonnell) was positioned high on our early list of suspects. Keen to give Grace an alibi, his fatherly instincts towards Grace raised some red flags over what his role in the series may end up being.

4. What was burnt on the barbecue?

Sharon Small as Rose Marshbrook in The Bay ITV

While DS Med spent most of the episode bungling mistakes and carrying a giant teddy bear around the police station – what was that all about? – Lisa was busy finding clues that nobody else had spotted.

Lisa may have been demoted after her antics in the last series, but she’s the only person in this team of detectives who looks capable of piecing together the evidence.

A significant spot was the paperwork found in the barbecue. It could have been paper laying around the house used to start the fire. Or it might have been a more significant legal contract – perhaps one recently signed by Stephen – handily burnt to a crisp.

Everything you need to know about The Bay

5. What is Joe Absolom up to?

Joe Absolom as Andy Warren in The Bay ITV

Life at home for Lisa is still a struggle, especially now that she’s on a reduced income. Her kids Abbie (Imogen King) and Rob (Art Parkinson) are still sulky squabbling teenagers and in the closing moment of their episode, their dad Andy Warren (Joe Absolom) rocked up.

Absolom spent much of the episode lurking behind his steering wheel and watching Lisa and the kids from afar. So we suspect that his arrival isn’t going to be the beginning of a joyous family reunion.

Will his appearance tie into the central storyline? It would be a bit far-fetched, so we hope not, but perhaps he will provide some extra obstacles for Lisa as she tries to focus on the case.

Watch The Bay on Wednesdays at 9pm.

Watch The Bay season 1 and series 2 box set now on BritBox.

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