'Roadkill' Recap: Episode 4

Daniel Hautzinger
Hugh Laurie as Peter Laurence in 'Roadkill.' Photo: The Forge
If Peter can continue to charge through scandals, his political career is looking bright. Photo: The Forge

Roadkill airs Sundays at 8:00 pm and is available to stream. Recap the previous episode.

Peter is finally meeting his daughter Rose. Seeing her at Shephill prison, he also finally realizes who her mother is. The pair hit it off: two people who think they are cleverer than everyone else. Peter explains that he met Rose’s mother because he bought the paper from her every day and always found her fascinating. Rose explains that she’s in prison because she knew executives at her bank were taking bonuses and she wanted to show them that she could take extra money, too. Fraud is common; they just decided to make an example of her, in part because she’s Black.

Rose also indicts the prison and the cost-saving measures that make life there hell, mentioning the death of her cellmate Steff. Peter promises to visit Rose again but bluntly tells her he has to think about whether he can go public about her.

If he doesn’t, others might. The undersecretary for Justice, Vanessa, is trying to get Peter’s secretary Joy to dish about Rose. When that doesn’t work, she flat-out asks Peter after an argument over prison reforms—she removed them from Peter’s legislation, and he demands she replace them. “How is that your business?” he responds, and leaves.

The Prime Minister also threatens to reveal the existence of Rose after her hold on power begins to slip. A private email from Dawn to the British Defense Group that flippantly exposes her public stance on weapons licenses as opportunist has been leaked. She suspects Julia, but Julia convincingly denies it.

Facing a vote of no confidence, Dawn calls Peter to her office and lays into him for not fighting for her—she promoted him, after all. How is it that he can survive enormous scandals while one lapse on her part endangers her career? Peter chalks it up to character; he’s bold, she’s cautious. In this case, however, she may be aggressive: she brings up her knowledge of Rose, blackmailing Peter into supporting her. He says he will.

At least Peter seems to be safe from attack regarding his shadowy work with the British American Development Forum. In a meeting with the head of the Conservative Party and leader of the British Defense Group, they tell him they’re shutting the think tank down, in the wake of Charmian’s providential death—it’s attracting too much attention. They’ll need Peter to close the shell company through which he was paid—a slightly complicated task, since it’s in his wife Helen’s name. He’ll need her signature.

Even though Charmian’s newspaper has her recording of a British American employee asserting that Peter lied in his libel case and is trying to privatize the National Health Service, they haven’t published it yet—and they won’t. The paper’s owner intervenes. After publishing photos of Peter’s daughter Lily doing drugs and losing the libel case to him, any further investigations against him, no matter how promising, look like a vendetta. When the editor tries to push back, the owner obliquely threatens to fire him. So he meets Rochelle, Peter’s one-time-lawyer-now-enemy, and gives her the recording back. He suggests bringing it to another paper, but she has already risked her reputation trusting him and been disappointed.

Peter makes a round of women he has disappointed. He visits Rose’s mother, telling her he likes Rose and wants to do right by her. He warns that the press will be intense if he acknowledges Rose. Her mother simply tells him not to let Rose down.

Peter then visits Madeleine and apologizes. She says it’s time to end their affair, overriding his protestations. She wants to move on. He says he loves her; she’s not surprised he only said it now that it’s over.

He treats Rose better. In a live BBC interview, he first insists he supports Dawn, and then begins talking about his prison reforms. He has personal knowledge of British prisons: his daughter is in one. Learning she existed was “one of the best things that’s ever happened,” he explains to the shocked journalist. He wants Rose to be part of his life, and admits that he has made many mistakes, but she’s not one of them. He’s proud of her.

When he meets Rose again, she’s happy—and excited to have a dad. He asks to kiss her when he leaves.

Now that the press is buzzing about Rose—not unfavorably—a story about Peter’s lies about the British American Development Forum wouldn’t gain traction, Luke complains to Rochelle. Why didn’t the paper publish Charmian’s recording? Rochelle is trying another tack: she meets Helen for lunch. Explaining that now that Charmian has died—may even have been killed—the stakes are higher, Rochelle hints that Helen might recant her testimony in the libel case. But the suggestion angers Helen. If I do betray him, she tells Rochelle, it will be when and how I decide to myself.

She clearly has doubts about Peter, asking him about Charmian, but he waves them away. We started out together and we’ll end up together, he tells her, before asking her to sign paperwork closing the shell company.

Now that Peter is in line to be Prime Minister, Duncan asks Julia about Dawn’s downfall. Julia admits to leaking the email. She has spoken with the Conservative Party leader, who has assured her that she’ll have a job in Peter’s administration.

Duncan asks Peter if he will take Duncan with him if he becomes PM. Peter demurs, saying it’s too early to think about that—despite having just assured Joy that he will bring her with him to Downing Street. He also has a conversation with Sydney, his driver, who has been leaking information about him. I’m not as stupid as I look, he warns her.  

In his regular radio interview, Peter still downplays reports that he will be PM, but does note that, if he were to be so lucky, he would enter Downing Street “unencumbered and beholden to no one.”

Except when he does enter Downing Street with Helen, she hands him the paperwork for the shell company—unsigned. As she goes upstairs to her new rooms, Julia comes in. “Prime Minister?” she addresses Peter.