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Dublin Murders: the big questions we have after watching episode one

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Kayleigh Dray
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Dublin Murders, BBC One - episode 1 recap

Warning: this article contains spoilers for episode one of Dublin Murders. Read on at your own peril…

Dublin Murders, starring Ripper Street’s Killian Scott and Penny Dreadful’s Sarah Greene, premiered on 14 October at 9pm. As expected, though, the first episode – which opened with the mysterious murder of a young ballerina on an ancient stone altar, and detectives Rob Reilly (Scott) and Cassie Maddox (Greene)’s efforts to solve it – left us with a lot of questions. 

Here, Stylist’s digital editor Kayleigh Dray does her best to unravel them all.

How did Katie die?

Horrifically, by the sounds of things. The 13-year-old struggled with her attacker and tried to escape (hence the blow to the back of her head, and the abrasions on her knees), but was eventually overpowered and suffocated with a plastic bag. Her body was stored somewhere cool and dry for several hours before it was dumped on an altar in the forest.

Why the altar?

If we knew the answer to this, we’d probably be able to solve the entire case. This is our motive. But the use of an altar is clearly significant, and it’s been placed in the exact same spot from which two other young teens disappeared back in the 80s. Remember: three children went into the forest back in 1985, but only one came out. That surely isn’t a coincidence (more on this later).

What is wrong with Katie’s family?

“She was such a good girl,” Katie’s mam tells Cassie, when she learns of her daughter’s death. “She never gave us a moment’s trouble.”

Katie’s dad, likewise, seems oddly calm at first.

“We all went to bed,” he says. “I looked in on her and she was asleep… I thought she had gone training [when she wasn’t there in the morning]. She did that.”

Cue Katie’s sister - the younger one, not the one dressed like she just escaped from the bunker in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - vomiting all over herself. Within moments, it’s pandemonium: Katie’s mam is screaming, the vomity sister is mimicking the cry with cold intensity (“Katie’s dead,” she reminds us), and the bunker sister is traipsing around Katie’s room and dropping loaded hints about the time of her murdered sibling’s disappearance.

All in all? A recipe for suspicion, as the good folks of Twitter made abundantly clear.

Maybe the religious garb is a red herring, though. After all, they made a big point about Katie’s body being used in some sort of ritual, so it makes sense that there’s be religious connotations of some kind. And, in the real world, a murder is far more likely to be committed by someone the victim knows rather than a total stranger - which is why so many on Twitter have suggested that Katie’s abusive and “creepy” father did it.

But…

Well, but there’s the 1985 case that this ballerina’s death seems to be linked to: how likely is it that the killer would have laid low for over 20 years, only to return and recreate the scene on a member of their own family? Katie’s father may have committed a despicable crime, but we highly doubt he would go to such elaborate lengths to cover his tracks.

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Is Robert actually Adam, the boy who was found in the forest back in the 80s?

Well, yeah: that’s why he has an English accent, that’s why Cassie was so reluctant to get involved in the murder case, that’s why he was sniffing that missing boy’s yellow top (thank Christ), and that’s why he was dreaming of terrifying wolves. (The bloodless claw marks on his back, remember?)

Naturally, Twitter knew that Robert was actually Adam right from the very beginning.

Adam wanted to avoid being hounded by the parents of his missing friends, all of whom were (understandably) desperate to find out what happened to their children. We saw him informing his headteacher that he wanted to be known by his middle name, Robert, going forward… and it seems that his request was well and truly met.

Is there more to Rob and Cassie’s relationship than meets the eye?

In a word, yes. The chemistry between this pair was through the roof in the first episode. But, as the lead actors have already explained, Rob and Cassie’s friendship is not exactly the healthiest it could be.

“Rob is someone who’s really disturbed but has been managing to keep a facade on it to this position alongside Cassie as a hotshot detective,” Scott tells Independent.ie.

“It’s a performance that’s been very effective thus far, but it seems to be coming to a point now where that mask is beginning to crumble. It’s about keeping things together but there’s a breaking point.”

Greene adds: “The whole show is about their secrets. They’re thick as thieves and they’re really good partners who finish each other’s sentences. But I think they have a shared guilt of surviving.”

She continues: “They both survived traumas in their pasts and that binds them together.

“They’re each other’s keeper of secrets and it might not be the healthiest of relationships between the two of them.”

Who was the strange man lurking in Cassie’s house?

We wish we knew. Cassie seemed all too aware of his presence, and the bottle she found on her coffee table seemed to trigger a memory of some kind: she knew, just from the fact he had neatened up her home, who he was. And, as mentioned just above, Cassie has survived traumas in her past. 

We have a feeling that this unsavoury gentleman may have something to do with those traumas. A toxic ex? A long lost relative? An obsessive criminal, out of jail and keen to meet the woman who put him there? Only time will tell…

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Why does that forest look so familiar?

Remember the opening episode of the very first episode of Game of Thrones? With those ice-cold bodies all laid out in a forest clearing, forming a strange spiral pattern? That scene was filmed in the very same part of Tollymore Forest as Katie’s body was dumped in Dublin Murders, which explains why it feels so unsettlingly familiar.

Why is everyone tweeting about that petrol station?

Dublin locals know their city like the back of their hand, so you can bet that they noticed when Belfast’s Clifton Street petrol station appeared in the opening scenes of Dublin Murders. And, naturally, they weren’t best pleased about it.

Is it worth tuning in to episode two?

Of course it bloody is: we need to know more about Katie, about her creepy family, about Rob’s shadowy past. We need to find out how Katie’s death is linked to the mysteries of 1985. We want to find out who’s stalking Cassie. And we definitely want to find out who did it: was it Katie’s dad, her sister, her mam, or someone completely different? Some people on Twitter are even suggesting that Rob, tormented by his demons, may have been involved somehow… or, indeed, one of his missing friends (not quite as dead as he thought, perhaps).

Only time will, tell, we guess. Until tomorrow night, then!

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The next episode of Dublin Murders will air Tuesday 15 October, 9pm on BBC One. 

Image: BBC One

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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