Investigating what happened in episode one of Place of Execution? Watch this catch-up video and read the full episode synopsis below.
Modern-day London: Journalist Catherine Heathcote is making a documentary about Alison Carter, a schoolgirl who vanished from the English village of Scardale in 1963, sparking a major police hunt and making a hero of investigating officer George Bennett.
When George hastily withdraws his cooperation, Catherine is devastated and sets off for Scardale to demand an explanation, accompanied by her rebellious teenage daughter Sasha. As she tries to salvage her documentary, Catherine uncovers new information — but the truth may indict George, the man she so highly admires. A tragic turn of events threatens to silence Catherine's inquiry entirely.
1963: In his first missing person investigation, George Bennett carefully pieces together a case against one of Alison's family members. Incriminating evidence offers a strong link to the apparent murder scene. But under intense questioning, the suspect is unnervingly calm and unwavering — repeatedly claiming innocence.
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Warning: Contains significant plot spoilers
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Warning: Contains significant plot spoilers
In 1963, schoolgirl Alison Carter disappeared from her home in the village of Scardale, England, never to be seen again. The unresolved case devastated her close-knit community and captivated the nation.
In modern-day London, successful journalist Catherine Heathcote is finishing a documentary about the case, focusing on investigating officer George Bennett. Now in his 70s, George phones Catherine and curtly withdraws from the film. A shocked Catherine hides the news from her producer Keith and assistant Nicola, and decides to again attempt to gain access to the Manor House where Alison lived.
Flashing back to the 1963 investigation, George starts his search at the Manor House, meeting Alison's distraught mother Ruth and her stepfather Philip Hawkin. Hawkin, a keen amateur photographer, has many images of his beautiful stepdaughter in his collection.
George fears Alison's friend Charlie Lomas might be obsessed with her, but the investigation takes a sharp turn when Ruth's brother Simon, a sexual offender, is suspected of being involved. Simon claims he hasn't been in Scardale for twenty years.
As George makes further inquiries in the village, disdain for Hawkin is high, as is suspicion of his involvement. Ma Lomas claims Hawkin was in the same field as Alison when she vanished, although Hawkin denies it, using Ruth as an alibi. Tensions mount when Simon is released from custody, and is soon found dead on the moors.
The villagers soon offer up an important and previously undisclosed clue — there are abandoned lead mines that run under the village. Deep in the mines, George and his sergeant Tommy Clough find Alison's clothes in a pool of blood as well as a bullet from a gun belonging to Hawkin's friend. Ruth is convinced that Alison is dead.
Returning to the present day, Catherine is suspicious about a recent police warehouse fire that destroyed evidence from the Carter case. She needs to see George and get some answers. But she must take her teenage daughter Sasha, who is being rebellious and distant after her parent's divorce and years of being overlooked by her career-driven mother.
Back to 1963, George faces increased pressure to resolve the case, and brings Hawkin in for questioning. The unflappable Hawkin offers no help. Just as he is about to be released, Ruth calls with a grisly discovery — a stolen gun and a blood-stained shirt found in her home. A search of the Manor House reveals a map of the lead mines and a hidden safe containing shocking photographs of Alison with her stepfather.
George confronts Hawkin with the photos and accuses him of rape. Hawkin claims the images are fakes, but appears shaken by news of the gun and shirt. George tells his bosses Hawkin must be prosecuted for murder, even without a body. But Hawkin's profile in the community his high, and his previous record clean.
Shifting to the modern day, Catherine arrives in Scardale with her daughter Sasha, desperate to see George and salvage the documentary. But her professional image starts to crack as memories of a childhood spent there with her workaholic mother come flooding back.
Catherine meets George at a café but when he refuses to explain his desire to stop the film, she airs her suspicions that he may have manipulated the images of Hawkin and his stepdaughter to implicate him. George storms out and Catherine returns to her hotel to find Sasha drunk.
Catherine tells Sasha she made the film because she admired George after meeting him in Bosnia. She tries to talk to George again, only to discover that he has suffered a massive heart attack.