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‘The Suspect’ Episode 1: Recap And Ending, Explained: Who Is Dr. Joe O’Loughlin? A Superhero Or A Predator?

ITV’s new psychological crime drama “The Suspect” promises to give us a tempestuous mind storm when an unidentified body is discovered, and a well-known doctor is hauled under severe suspicion. Based on Michael Robotham’s debut and worldwide best selling novel of the same name, this five-episode nail-biting psychological thriller presented its first episode recently. Directed by James Strong and Camilla Strøm Henriksen and with a screenplay by Peter Berry, this thriller is a breathtaking depiction of the protagonist, a London-based pleasant, well-known, and successful psychologist with a significant link to a young woman’s unexplained death. Is this connection merely coincidental? Or is his perfect life only a cover for a sick and evil-killing mindset? Has he been leading two different lives? Did the girl really commit suicide, or was it a murder? What is his secret? Let’s connect the dots without wasting much time.

Spoilers Ahead


How Did Dr. Joe Become A Nationwide Hero?

“The Suspect” Episode 1 begins with the pivotal character, Dr. Joe O’Loughlin (Aidan Turner), a 42-year-old renowned clinical psychologist at the City of Westminster Hospital, London. Along with being a successful doctor, he is also well-known in the media and has written several bestselling books. His loyal wife Julianne (Camilla Beeput) and lovely daughter Charlie (Uma Warner) make up his loving family. One day, Detective Sergeant Amanda Fischer interrupts his therapy session because of a horrible emergency. A young boy named Malcolm (Gabin Kongolo) is discovered perched on the edge of the hospital building’s seventh floor. He has terminal brain cancer and is preparing to commit suicide. Dr. Joe is asked to intervene and assist the police in handling this perilous issue because the police negotiator is still held up in traffic. Although he shakes and panics, he manages to move cautiously in the direction where Malcolm is standing. He learns that the bright young man who was admitted to Oxford University is fed up with chemotherapy sessions. Malcolm believes it to be a waste of time because he is aware that he will not survive. When he claims that he is not afraid to die, his anguish is obvious. Dr. Joe makes an effort to inspire Malcolm, but he is not in a position to comprehend anything. The doctor later realizes that although the unfortunate soul accepted his fate, he did not want this to happen. In an effort to divert him, Dr. Joe advises him to say farewell to his parents if he really intends to terminate his life, and the boy agrees to live again. We notice his visibly trembling hands attempt to fasten the harness around the boy, but it falls down. Dr. Joe does not think twice before removing his harness and putting it on the kid.

Their rescue mission, however, does not go as expected. After an unfortunate slip and an exhilarating session of swing, they are eventually saved. This is when we learn that Dr. Joe has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease after his friend and fellow physician, Dr. Gerald “Jack” Owens (Adam James), arrives on the scene and informs everyone. After putting his own life in danger to rescue a patient, Dr. Joe instantly gains nationwide recognition. But his wife, Julliane, is upset because she is well aware of his health issues. Dr. Joe helplessly tells her that he wants to forget that he has this deadly disease. Although Julliane fully comprehends what her husband is going through, she cautions him against his method of fighting his sickness.


Murder of the Young Girl: Was She Really A Sex-Worker?

Everything seems to be going well until one day when the cops come across a female dead body in a shallow grave at West London Cemetery. The investigation is being conducted by veteran police officer Detective Inspector Vincent Ruiz (Shaun Parkes) and his assistant Detective Sergeant Riya Devi (Anjli Mohindra).  The body was discovered by a dog-walker. According to Devi, the body was uncovered by a groundworker who began excavating after having a doubt. Ruiz carefully examines the crime scene, pointing out the sods and soil in the shallow grave, and claims that the body was not dumped hastily but rather with a cool head. To gather fingerprints and other evidence, he requested Devi to gather all the spades used for digging purposes in the whole graveyard. Ruiz notices a car driving by in the cemetery and opines that the killer would arrive in a car, hide the body until nightfall, and then dump it there.

Meanwhile, Dr. Joe is shown to be busy with his daily life with patients and their minds. He finds Bobby (Bobby Schofield), one of his patients, in his clinic. Meena ( Carys Bowkett), Joe’s receptionist, begs him to look elsewhere for a job because she wants to quit her present office. Needless to say, her daily interaction with Joe’s crazy patients does not leave a good impression on her mind. Meena is afraid when the youngster whispers to himself, so she insists that Joe see Bobby in the hospital. Joe turns a deaf ear to Meena and starts his session with Bobby, a lunatic and aggressive young boy who has been sentenced for sexually assaulting a woman. Bobby once claims his innocence, but the next second he justifies his actions because he thinks that the woman who jumped the taxi queue and seized his taxi deserves that abuse. As the talk goes on, Bobby’s agitation becomes more obvious. He silently speaks to himself while crumpling up some paper in his fist. Bobby is astonished when Dr. Joe quotes the paper accurately. The number “21” is written numerous times throughout the document. Bobby responds that it is the bus number that his father formerly drove.


A Murder Or A Suicide? 

Eventually, even though the body remains unconfirmed, the autopsy report reveals that the body was buried for three to four days and that there was no strong indication of sexual violence. Last but not the least, the body has twenty-one unique stab wounds on the chest; those are startlingly self-inflected and clearly show signs of hesitation. The last stabbing was on her carotid artery, and it is unclear if it was performed by the girl herself or the murderer. The depth of the incisions is reported as not being deeper than one inch. Inspector Ruiz doubts whether this woman was coerced into killing herself. The dog walker who contacted the police, according to Devi’s supervisor, is currently untraceable since he uses a burner phone. Ruiz is extremely disappointed to learn that even though the body hasn’t been identified, the media is reporting that it belongs to a sex worker. Devi asserts that it is likely to be  possible because sex workers are predominant in the nearby area. Another fact is that the police did not discover any identification documents with the body. She might be a sex worker, Devi continues, as they prefer to remain unidentified and live without formal identity.

Devi plans to meet a bunch of sex workers in quest of some hints and comes across Dr. Joe, who previously treated one of them. She recognizes him and asks him to assist the police in creating a psychological profile of the victim, who is yet unidentified and died in such a pitiful manner. When Dr. Joe visits the mortuary with Ruiz and Devi, he sees the body and is familiar with all the autopsy findings. The two find Dr. Joe acting strangely inside the fridge room. They guess that he might feel uncomfortable looking at a dead body and pray that he won’t vomit on the paperwork. When they unexpectedly discover Dr. Joe in the fridge room, they immediately run to him. Joe tells them he wants to see the body one more time to see if his theory is accurate and enters as the door is being opened. He continues by saying that the girl had previously inflicted self-harm and had extreme mental instability. Even though Ruiz was aware of Joe’s condition with Parkinson’s and had seen the bizarre tremors in his hands and fingers, he began to have doubts about Joe at that point. He and Devi later examine the mortuary’s CCTV footage and discover that Joe lied to them regarding the refrigerator room door because it was closed until Joe inserted the 4-digit code and opened it. Ruiz claims that he also recalls the code being entered by the worker. Joe probably memorizes well and, out of curiosity, enters the fridge. However, the reason as to why he did so is not adequately determined. They choose not to discuss the case in any detail with Joe, but the uncertainty persists.


‘The Suspect’ Episode 1: Ending, Explained: What is Dr. Joe Hiding? 

The charismatic qualities of Dr. Joe abruptly take on a new dimension as we witness him holding the corpse’s hand and professing his apologies. Though he is able to shift the subject just as the police officers enter, our mind is still troubled. At this point, we start to sense a negative feeling about him. However, because Bobby Moran is obsessed with the number 21, Dr. Joe is concerned that he might be the murderer. The police team ultimately learns about a missing report for a girl from Liverpool who closely resembles the dead one, and Devi heads there and interrogates her flat mate, who had filed the missing report at the police station. The victim has been identified as Catherine McCain (Tara Lee), a community nurse. Though her flat mate did not know much about her, he indicated that Catherine had a secret lover in London. Here, Joe goes to meet Ruiz and confesses that he was in the cemetery with his family when the police found the body. He went there to celebrate a family tradition that they celebrate every year on his late mother’s birthday. Ruiz recalls the car he saw at the cemetery that day and wonders why Joe did not mention it earlier. Joe responds that he simply wasn’t paying attention to this but that he remembered after seeing a video last night and thought to tell Ruiz. Devi explores the victim’s Liverpool apartment and discovers the shocking fact that she actually knew Dr. Joe and had registered a case of sexual assault against him. Now that their concerns are well founded, the two question Joe’s doctor friend Jack. When Dr. Joe visits his clinic in the evening, Meena gives him a few resumes of qualified applicants for the position of receptionist and urges him to make a decision. He is terribly astounded to see one of the resumes of that corpse he saw at the morgue. Panic-stricken, he destroys that resume with his trembling hands. 

Following that evening, Dr. Joe is once more surprised to see DI Ruiz and DS Devi waiting for him at his home. They directly question him about Catherine, and Joe answers positively. Catherine was one of his patients whom he really cared about. When questioned, Joe replies that at first, he didn’t recognize the corpse, but later, he was trying to avoid reality. In his extreme sorrow, he prayed that she might not be her and instead be someone else. He did not reveal her identity to the officers at the morgue as his mind was not working in those devastating circumstances. When the police inquire about the assault accusations, Joe responds that Catherine later withdrew her accusation. Joe’s wife, Julianne, emphasizes that she was nothing but a liar. It is revealed that Joe’s marriage, public reputation, and profession were all at stake in these legal scuffles. Joe tries to convince them that Catherine was just a patient who fell in love with her therapist and nothing more than that. He confesses to lying about the fridge door, but denies any involvement in this murder. When Devi requests DNA and fingerprint samples from him to compare with the spade used to bury the body, Joe argues that since he was also in the cemetery that day and used a spade close to his mother’s grave, his fingerprint may be found in any spade. After the interrogation ends, the police ask him to report for a statement with a lawyer. Devi has second thoughts later in the car about Joe tricking her and coming to meet her on purpose. It is possible that all he wants to know is what the police are considering doing in this instance. Julianne is seen as indignant as Catherine is once again back in their lives. It is clear that the girl, Catherine, has caused Joe’s family a significant amount of trauma already. Now Joe’s wife also has doubts about him. “The Suspect” Episode 1 ends with the audience completely unsure of whether Dr. Joe is  an innocent doctor or just a wicked, sinister figure wearing the mask of a false hero.


Final Words: What To Expect From Upcoming Episodes Of ‘The Suspect’?

As we can see, Dr. Joe appears to be in trouble after the media released a fabricated report on the murder of the initially unnamed young woman. We can’t help but have so many questions running through our heads. Did Dr. Joe really just happen to meet Devi? He said he was shocked to discover his former patient was dead, but was he truly shocked? What was he sorry for? Why did he lie about the door of the fridge room? Why did he trash Catherine’s resume? Last but not the least, if she is infatuated with Joe, then why did she file a complaint? And why did she even withdraw it? The list goes on. So, there is undoubtedly some aspect of his behavior that alerts us that the vibe is not right. The police believe that his actions and remarks are nothing but vague. On the other hand, we also ponder why a reputable physician with a life-threatening Parkinson’s disease would turn into a villain. What if it is just a malicious plot against the eminent doctor? The questions are still up for debate. So let’s simply wait for the next episode of “The Suspect” to unravel all the twists and stay in suspense till then.


See More: ‘The Suspect’ Episode 2: Recap And Ending, Explained – Did Dr. Joe O’Loughlin Meet Catherine That Night?


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Aratrika Roy
Aratrika Roy
Aratrika is an upcoming forensic scientist who dreams to write a bestseller someday. Though she was filling her diaries from a tender age, her interest piqued after she visited a theatre and began working there as a script writer. Along with penning poems and singing Rabindra Sangeet, she enjoys exploring the World of Cinema because one day she sees herself behind the lenses.

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