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'Annika' Recap: Episode 1

Daniel Hautzinger
Tyrone and Annika in Annika
Annika is the head of a new Marine Homicide Unit in Glasgow. Photo: UKTV

Annika airs Sundays at 9:00 pm on WTTW and is available to stream. Recap the following episode.
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Captain Ahab’s journey in Moby Dick turned out to be a “terrible voyage,” as Annika Strandhed points out, and the first victim whose death she investigates as the head of a new Marine Homicide Unit also had a pretty awful maritime excursion: his corpse is found tangled in a fishing net in the waters of Scotland, a whaling harpoon through his head.

Arthur Hendry was the owner of a company that offered sightseeing tours. His wife Isla reported him missing after he didn’t show up for his own birthday dinner with her and their children Danny and Trish at a restaurant the previous day. Isla and Arthur were fishermen before they bought the tourist boat, hoping to build a business they could pass on to their children when they retired.

Arthur was dead before he went in the water. He was most likely killed and dumped at the dock where the Hendrys keep their boat, Annika’s subordinate Tyrone Clarke, just returned from vacation, surmises. There’s a trace of blood in the cabin of the boat and a hole in a wall that matches the harpoon. Finlay Morris, a nephew of Arthur’s who worked for him, was at the docks the previous day. Tyrone thinks he got into an argument with Arthur, there was a struggle, and he killed his uncle.

Tyrone has transferred to Annika’s new team from another unit because he had heard about and admired her and her high conviction rate. She was meant to take a leadership course before starting this unit, but enjoyed a vacation in Madrid instead, a decision she now regrets. She has moved into a new house with her daughter Morgan, who resents having to go to a new school and taking a police boat to get there. Annika struggles to balance her career with being a single mother: she has dumped Morgan in drama club in the hope that she’ll make friends.

When the police try to approach Finlay at the boatyard, he flees. After being caught in a warehouse, all he’ll tell Annika’s team is that he loved Arthur, who took him in.

Soon after that questioning, he’s dead—hit by a car that looks like his in a hit and run. He was seen arguing with the driver beforehand, and had also been trying to get tranquilizers to calm his nerves—he was freaked out by something.

He has left a lead, however. He passed out at a pub the night Arthur’s body was found, and used the pub manager’s phone in the morning to call a woman named Mandy Howson.

Now that there are two deaths, Annika is pressured by her boss to give a press conference, which she does alongside her team member Michael McAndrews. She and Michael have worked together before, but now he takes over from her in the press conference. He tells her afterward that he wanted her job.

Annika rushes off to see Morgan in a production of The Tempest, watching from backstage because she was too late to get a seat. No matter: Morgan ruins the play by grouching onstage about her life instead of saying her lines. Annika pulls the fire alarm as they both leave—she doesn’t want Morgan to be the only dramatic event the audience remembers that evening.

Annika has something more dramatic to deal with: Tyrone is being held hostage. When he tried to question Mandy Howson during an archery class, she pointed a crossbow at him. A riot team descends, and Annika switches places with Tyrone. Mandy insists the murders had nothing to do with her, and eventually stands down to Annika. She doesn’t want to be blamed for another death she had nothing to do with.

She explains that she worked for Arthur’s company several years ago. Finlay and Arthur took illegal hunting trips on the boat—hence the harpoon. But that’s not why Mandy hates the company: she was blamed for the death of a young girl who drowned when she went overboard during a boat trip in stormy weather. Arthur’s son Danny was driving—erratically. Mandy was fired and lost everything, even though it wasn’t her fault. Finlay started calling her all the time, saying he trusted only her, but she wouldn’t answer.  But she has an alibi for both Arthur’s and Finlay’s deaths.

Danny is an odd bird—who collects injured birds. He asks Annika for help with one, a pigeon, because he doesn’t drive. She takes it with her, and Morgan takes an interest. When Annika returns home to an empty house after questioning Mandy, she learns that Morgan brought the pigeon to a veterinarian.

After the girl’s drowning, the Hendrys rebranded their company, but it never fully recovered. Annika learns that Trish, the daughter, was often frustrated by the family, and that she didn’t go to her dad’s birthday dinner, even though Isla told the police she did. Trish was trying to sell the company. She tells Annika that there’s only the one tourist boat, but that Danny has a sailboat—although she hasn’t seen it in a few days. When Annika tells Trish that her mother can stop by the morgue to pick up her father’s belongings and wedding ring, Trish is confused.

Why? Because Arthur, as a former fisherman, didn’t wear a ring. The body is not Arthur Hendry but the father of the girl who drowned all those years ago, as DNA tests at the crime scene confirm. Tyrone had visited his home and found the door open and his wife collapsed due to dehydration. The dead man was his wife’s caretaker, but he has been missing since the night of the murder. He had gone to see the Hendrys, then got drunk and went out in a rage.

He went to the Hendry boat, where he found Danny and confronted him. Danny grabbed the spear gun in defense, and in the ensuing struggle accidentally fired it. Isla tried to once again protect Danny by sending Arthur away on Danny’s sailboat, reporting him missing, and then identifying the body as his. Unfortunately, Finlay saw her putting Arthur’s ID on the body and became nervous—so she ran him over in his own car.

Isla and Danny try to flee on their tourist boat, while Arthur is found and picked up halfway to Norway. When the police catch Isla and Danny, Danny jumps off the boat holding the anchor. Michael jumps in and pulls him to safety.

Annika understands Isla’s urge to protect her children. At least Morgan has finally made a friend, in gymnastics class.

Captain Ahab had a child that he left his wife to raise alone. Moby Dick doesn’t say anything about how Mrs. Ahab fared as a single mother.