Eliza Russell of Vigil is introduced as a soldier who would do anything to accomplish what she defines as her mission, regardless of how it affects people around her. Even though Eliza wasn’t the brains behind the entire scandal, she certainly did betray her friends, comrades, mentors, and everyone who had placed their trust in her, driven by a false sense of patriotism that made her prioritize her skewed ideals over doing what’s right.
What Was Russell’s Role In The Dundair Attack?
At Dundair, British and Wudyani officials were in the process of testing a new range of state-of-the-art weaponized drones called R-Pas, or Remotely Piloted Air Systems, that would give the country of Wudyan (not a real country, a fictional one created for the story) an edge over their competitors and insurgents. The handover was part of a half-billion-dollar deal, but the test went awry when one of the drones went rogue and shot and killed seven British soldiers. Colin Dixon was arrested on the charges of murdering his peers, but he argued that he was innocent and that someone else had logged into the software and had piloted the drone. At first, the suspicion fell on Anthony Chapman, who’d applied for leave on medical grounds just two days before the weapon testing. The software log also showed that Chapman had taken control of the R-Pas on the day of the crisis. However, the discovery of Chapman’s dead body near his cottage with a bullet wound to the head suggested that there was more to the story. Chapman was innocent, as the rogue drones were being piloted from Wudyan, not Scotland, by Eliza Russell. When everyone was busy with the weapon test, Eliza snuck out and used the stolen R-Pas to take control of one of the drones, and she attacked and killed seven British soldiers, including her own colleagues, who were stationed at the Al Shawka airbase in Wudyan.
How Did Russell Hamper Silva’s Investigation?
When DCI Silva arrived at the Al Shawka airbase, she was presented with a set of written statements of all the drone pilots in the R-Pas Squadron, which were first read, assessed, and redacted by Eliza herself. On British Air Vice Marshal Marcus Grainger’s orders, she had given Silva access to the airbase but always kept tabs on her to make sure Silva didn’t get too close to the truth. Whenever Silva asked for something, Eliza always told her that she needed to run her requests through both her superiors and Wudyan officials, which often gave Eliza time to move things around. Eliza knew that Colonel Bilali would disagree with half of Silva’s demands, calling them a threat to Wudyan’s national security. For instance, Eliza told Silva that she couldn’t interrogate Sam Kader because he wasn’t a part of the British Air Force. In case you missed a few episodes, the R-Pas squadron was a joint unit comprising both British and Wudyani soldiers.
Eliza, on many occasions, tried to convince Silva that everything that had happened in Dundair was Jabhat Al Huriya’s doing and even manipulated evidence to back up her claim. Moreover, Eliza didn’t quite like the idea of Sabi returning to Wudyan because she was a direct threat to their plan, as Sabi was the one who unknowingly provided Eliza with the R-Pas console that she had stolen earlier. When Chapman found out about what she had done, he deleted the security footage of the armory and returned to Scotland on medical grounds. Chapman did this to save his daughter because if she had been discovered, Sabi certainly would have been executed, given Wudyan’s stance on treason. Before leaving, he handed down the charge to Eliza Russell, his subordinate and friend. Eliza immediately jumped on the opportunity as she knew about the deleted security footage. Eliza had ample time to kill Chapman but chose not to do it, as it would hamper their plan. Eliza told Silva that she wasn’t in contact with Chapman after he had left the base, but this was a plain lie, as Chapman had once asked her to check the armory for the stolen R-Pas console.
In the war room, Eliza refused to take out the car Abdullah Ghazali was in, as it would rob her of the chance to frame him for the stolen R-Pas. However, Eliza’s team managed to do this when they infiltrated the compound in which she and Silva were held hostage. Silva found out that Wes had a real-time recording of the Dundair accident, something he had been using as leverage over Russell and Marcus. Silva managed to get Wes on the plane and was also joined by Eliza, who was there to make sure Wes never reached Scotland. Eliza killed Wes and also shot herself to make it look like it was self-defense. However, Silva figured out that she had lied and killed Wes, fearing she would be totally exposed once he talked.
What Happened To Eliza Russell In The End?
In the end, Silva figured out that Eliza was the pilot who flew the R-Pas drone and also took out Wes to save herself. Even when Eliza got busted, she didn’t tell Silva about Marcus to protect him. Eliza’s patriotism was misplaced, and she thought it was okay to sacrifice innocents under the guise of national security. Unlike Silva, Eliza had no remorse and agreed to kill her own friends and soldiers when she was asked to do so by Marcus. Eliza believed she was serving the country, as sooner or later, Jabhat Al Huriya would wage war against both Britain and Wudyan. Maybe this was why she had no empathy for the innocent teenager who was killed when the rescue force infiltrated the compound to save them. We see Silva running into the smoking house to check on the children while Eliza just stood there, relieved that they’d died. Since the case could vilify Britain’s reputation internationally, the hearing of the Dundair case was held in a closed court. Eliza was handed a life sentence for terrorism, obstruction of justice, and high treason, with a minimum term of 30 years.