Payback episode 1 ITV

Payback lands on ITV1 with thrills, blood spills and a menacing Peter Mullan

And these are our burning questions after watching...

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Payback started on ITV this Wednesday with episode 1, and Peter Mullan was deliciously menacing as villain Cal Morris. Frankly, we could watch him ALL day, every day. We just wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of him…

Which is exactly what Morven Christie’s character Lexie Noble unwittingly did in this new thriller. The actress proved she’s just as good playing the role of the victim, two years after leaving her role as DS Lisa Armstrong in The Bay.

Viewers were introduced to Lexie, who seemed to have an idyllic family lifestyle in the suburbs of Edinburgh. However, within minutes of the show starting, her husband was dead.

Turns out Lexie’s husband Jared had been laundering Cal Morris’ illegal earnings on a vast scale… But who killed him and why? Here are all the burning questions we have after watching episode 1 of Jed Mercurio-backed thriller Payback.

***Warning: spoilers from episode 1 of The Bay on ITV ahead***

Payback promo shot for ITV
Payback kicked off with episode 1, starring Morven Christie as Lexie Noble, Peter Mullan as Cal Morris, and Prasanna Puwanarajah as DC Jibran Khan (Credit: ITV)

Payback episode 1 on ITV: Who killed Jared and why?

At first, Jared’s death looked like a random act of violence. After leaving his local newsagents, he appeared to come between two sets of rival thugs – all hooded, all impossible to identify. A fight ensued, in which accountant Jared was stabbed to death.

As wife Lexie found him bleeding out on the pavement, viewers saw so-called restauranteur Cal Morris (Peter Mullan) receive the news that Jared had been killed. So, we know Cal didn’t kill him. Or at least, we think he didn’t.

So who did? We know Jared was working for Cal, whether voluntarily or under duress. He was shifting large amounts of money of the crime lord. So was Jared’s death an attempt to get back at Cal?

With Jared dead, £2.5million of Cal’s money is in limbo. Jared’s thought to be the only one with the access to the Maltese account with Cal’s funds. So there’s no reason for Cal to want him dead.

Cal himself said: “Somebody is screwing with me. Somebody stabs my accountant, and then my deal falls through?”

Meanwhile, the cops suspect it was premeditated, by someone with a reason to want Jared dead.

Who is the most likely culprit?

Payback episode 1 on ITV left us with more questions than answers, which is exactly what a good thriller should do. Let’s make it clear, we trust no one at this point.

However, there are a few characters who seem shadier than most. Anybody else fancy Lexie’s solicitor friend as a suspect? He seemed to know an awful lot about Jared’s finances…

Cal’s employee Malky, played by the brilliant Steven Mackintosh, is also top of our ‘dodgy’ list. And don’t get us started on the new au pair Doris. If she’s not involved, then the scriptwriters really have got us questioning our every thought!

Malky and his uncle Cal in Payback
Malky and his boss Cal in Payback (Credit: ITV1)

Payback episode 1 on ITV: Does Lexie know more than we think?

At first, we believed Lexie knew nothing of her husband’s involvement in handing dirty cash. But she was the partner in his firm… Okay, so she does seem like an innocent bystander in all this.

But with a passport in her name arriving through the post, she’ll certainly look guilty to the cops!

Was Jared planning to double-cross Cal?

We know Jared liquidated the family’s savings just months before he was killed. He also remortgaged the house. He’d failed to pay the school fees for their daughter Esme’s fancy private school, too.

All of this at the same time as taking someone for fancy dinners, and hotel stays. He even bought someone some fancy sapphire earrings.

Police discovered that Jared had booked a flight to Miami for himself and a Sarah Blaine. Nope not a mistress though – the passport proved he was planning to run away with his wife Lexie. She just didn’t know it yet. Was Jared running for his life, or planning to steal from his boss Cal?

Lexie's idyllic life was turned upside down in Payback episode 1
Lexie’s idyllic life was turned upside down in Payback episode 1 (Credit: ITV1)

Payback episode 1 on ITV: Why doesn’t Lexie just give Cal what he wants?

Cal wants what Lexie (Morven Christie) is hiding – namely the accounting ledger he had hidden in the cellar of the house. He’s a thug, who has already implied a threat to her children…

So why doesn’t she just hand over everything she’s found and beg to be left alone? That’s what we’d do!

Read more: Jed Mercurio teams up with Morven Christie for Payback on ITV1 – and here’s 5 reasons to watch thriller

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Payback episode 2 airs on Wednesday, October 11, 2023 at 9pm on ITV1. It will be available to stream in full on ITVX and STV Player.

What did you think of Payback episode 1 on ITV? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix.

Helen Fear
TV Editor