Liar fans, there’s more to DS Maxwell’s son than meets the eye

Liar season 2, episode 2 recap: why everyone’s talking about DS Maxwell’s son

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Why did Carl burn his boat? Did Greg have something to do with Andrew Earlham’s murder? And why does EVERYONE have their top-secret conversations at the pub? Fair warning: this article contains Liar season two spoilers, so do not read on unless you are fully up to date with the crime show…     

The second episode of ITV’s Liar, starring Downton Abbey’s Joanne Froggatt and Criminal’s Katherine Kelly, aired on 9 March at 9pm. And, much like the ominous season two premiere – which saw Laura Nielson (Froggatt) arrested for the murder of Ioan Gruffudd’s Andrew Earlham – it left us with a lot of questions.

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

Does Ian Davis’ story really hold up?

Ian Davis (Kieran Bew) has, as mentioned last week, form when it comes to teaching Very Bad Men a lesson.

Nine years ago, Ian was arrested for grievous bodily harm (GBH) when he put a man named Alexander Slater in hospital.

“I got into a fight with some prick who was taking the piss out of my sister who’s in a wheelchair,” he tells Laura, during a clandestine meeting on the seafront. “I’m not proud of it, but it was an accident.”

Laura, quite rightly, points out that Ian should probably have told her about his time in prison before this point.

“What’s the rule?” he argues. “You wait three months to tell someone about your previous convictions?”

Laura dismisses his complaints, because she wants to know a) how his fingerprints ended up on Andrew’s bloody key, and b) how it wound up in her flat?

Ian, though, has all the answers. His phone had run out of juice while he was staying at hers, and so he went rummaging through her drawers on the hunt for a charger. His fingers brushed over the cable and voila! Throw in the fact that police have been able to place his whereabouts through tracking a courier’s champagne delivery and… well, it seems as if Ian really had nothing to do with Andrew’s murder. This part of the case is solved. 

Or is it? Some have suggested that Ian’s reaction to Laura’s suspicions – aka dumping her and walking away from her as she tearfully begs for a second chance – is reflective of his guilty conscience. Plus, does a champagne delivery really an alibi make?

Only time will tell, we guess.

Liar recap: does Ian Davis’ story really hold up?
Liar recap: does Ian Davis’ story really hold up?

Did Andrew arrange his own murder?

At the end of last week’s episode, this writer suggested that Andrew could have had a hand in Laura being framed for murder. Particularly when you consider his mysterious relationship with Oliver Graham (Sam Spruell).

And this week’s episode hammered that idea home once again. We saw Andrew break into Laura’s flat and rummage through her belongings. Likewise, when the serial rapist learned that Luke (Jamie Flatters) had tried to kill himself, he donned a brilliant baseball cap-based disguise and rushed to his son’s hospital bed.

“Sorry mate,” Andrew told the unconscious teen. “I’m still your dad. Do you hear me? Everything they’re saying? It’s not me. It’s not who I am. You know that, right? You and me, that was real. That was what it was all about. I don’t want this to be the last thing that happens in your life. I could never forgive myself.”

Then, worryingly, Andrew continued: “It’s her fault. Laura’s. All of this. She put you here. If it wasn’t for her, I’d…”

He’s angry at Laura, there’s no doubt about it. But all of this makes me LESS convinced Andrew framed Laura for his murder. Because… well, because he loves his son and would do anything for him. Because he wouldn’t want to put Luke through the pain of losing another parent. And because, as Andrew tells Oliver, he promised his son he would always be there.

With all this in mind, this writer is putting it out there: Andrew did not arrange his own murder. 

So who did kill Andrew Earlham, then?

Well, we have a few key suspects for your consideration.

Suspect one: Carl Peterson (Howard Charles)

Carl is suspicious AF  and he has a clear motive: as we learned last week, Andrew raped Carl’s wife, Winnie (Amy Nuttall). And, as tonight’s episode has shown, Carl was one of the last people to see Andrew alive: he broke onto his boat and threatened him. Then, three weeks later, he doused that same boat – the Hopeless Romantic – in petrol and set it on fire. Ditto his beachside shack.

ITV previously announced that, after Laura uncovered Andrew’s recordings, Carl – a troubled army veteran – began “retreating into himself and spiralling out of control to potentially dangerous effect.”

But did he kill him? This writer votes nay. It’s too obvious, at this point: we’re calling “red herring”. Although we have a feeling that Carl may have beaten Andrew to a bloody pulp and left him for dead, hence him feeling the urge to light a fire all of a sudden.

Liar recap: did Carl Peterson play a role in Andrew Earlham’s murder?
Liar recap: did Carl Peterson play a role in Andrew Earlham’s murder?

Suspect two: Katy Sutcliffe (Zoë Tapper)

Katy, much like Carl, is behaving suspiciously. She’s told to “go home” when her colleague, Nick (Oliver Maltman), realises she’s been drinking heavily. 

“I’m pretty sure I don’t need a breathalyser to tell me you’re still over the limit,” he says, preventing her from scrubbing up and going into surgery. “Go home. I’ll tell them you didn’t feel well, but you need to sort this out.”

Later, Katy calls her husband Liam (Richie Campbell) and informs him that she has an alcohol problem. 

“I need to drink to get me through the day, every day, all the time,” she tells him. “I don’t know what to do.”

“That’s good,” he replies. “And you know what, I’m here. So I’ll help – however I can. We can find somebody you can talk to about all of this.”

This, however, is clearly not what Katy wants to hear.

“Stop being so bloody understanding,” she replies, before begging him not to tell Laura about the state she’s in: “I saw the news – she’s got enough shit to deal with.

It’s clear Laura is working through some past traumas, but we doubt it’s anything to do with Andrew’s murder, to be honest. Anyone else thinking that something entirely unrelated happened to Katy – who looked so happy and together just three weeks ago? 

Suspect three: Branch Commander Greg Maxwell (Jack Colgrave Hirst)

As in, yes, DS Maxwell (Danny Webb)’s son. 

Shortly after the season two premiere, one fan tweeted: “So I think Rory the cop did it. Because Andrew raped his mate (the copper woman who grassed Laura up) he also planted the key during the warrant search.”

Now, though, it seems Maxwell could have been trying to protect someone else: Greg. Aka his son, his pride and joy, and the apple of his eye. 

We’re introduced to Greg (along with Kelly’s DI Renton) early on in the episode, in what seems to be a throwaway moment. However, Greg later approaches his dad and asks him to speak with him privately – which, in Liar world, means over a pint at the local pub.

It’s clear Greg has a lot on his mind. Could it be that the “rising star of the NCA” (National Crime Agency) played a part in Andrew Earlham’s murder? 

Suspect four: Laura Nielson 

Last week, everyone on Twitter was convinced that Laura did it. This week, it’s the fictional press and paparazzi of the Liar world that are insisting she played a role in Andrew Earlham’s death. 

But… if Laura had killed Andrew, then surely she wouldn’t have turned on Ian so quickly? Surely? Unless, y’know, she’s a cold-blooded psychopath and knows exactly what she needs to do to paint herself as innocent.


Suspect five: Oliver Graham (Sam Spruell)

ITV previously said this of Oliver: “His connection with Andrew’s past will become clear as the series progresses, and we’ll uncover the strange turn of events that brought him and Andrew together years ago in Edinburgh. Year later, he again becomes deeply entangled with Andrew’s web of lies.”

So what do we know about Oliver so far? Well, he was definitely one of the last people to see Andrew alive, as he was busy helping him plot his escape three weeks prior to this episode’s events. We know that he was growing frustrated with Andrew over his friend’s poor decision-making. And we know he lost Andrew’s car keys – or that he said he lost Andrew’s car keys, at least.

Maybe he… maybe he didn’t. And maybe, after Andrew died, Oliver slipped into Laura’s apartment (he knows how, he saw his friend do the same) and planted the evidence in her home. Maybe.

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So, what do we know for sure?

We haven’t a scooby about anything, quite frankly. At this point, all bets are off and everything’s to play for. One thing’s for sure, though: we will absolutely be tuning in next week to find out more.

The next episode of Liar will air Monday 16 March, 9pm on ITV.

You can read our recap of the season two premiere of Liar here.

Image: ITV

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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