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OLD The Bay recap: Everything that happened in series one of ITV’s hit crime drama

The Independent logo The Independent 18/01/2021 Louis Chilton
a person standing next to a body of water © Provided by The Independent

It’s been nearly two years since The Bay last graced TV screens, but ITV’s tense Morecombe-set crime drama is finally back.

Earning comparisons to Broadchurch  for its icy depiction of a missing person investigation, the series proved a fast hit with viewers when it debuted in March 2019. Now, The Bay is back with another six episodes, filmed before the pandemic. 

For those who might need a reminder of what exactly went down during in the show’s first outing, here is our short catch-up guide to the series one…

The series began with hardened Morecambe detective Lisa Armstrong (Morven Christie) being assigned to work with the Meredith family as a Family Liaison Officer after two 15-year-old twins, Holly and Dylan, mysteriously disappear. By Lisa’s side was inexperienced DC Ahmed “Med” Kharim (played by newcomer Taheen Modak).

We quickly learn that Lisa enjoyed a back-alley romantic altercation with the Meredith family patriarch, Sean (Jonas Armstrong), on the night his children went missing. As Lisa naviates the shame of this, she meddles with the investigation to cover their tracks, even going so for as to tamper with CCTV footage. 

Lisa also has a pair of kids of her own: Rob (Art Parkinson) and Abbie (Imogen King), who go to the same school as the missing Meredith children.

When Dylan shows up dead, Sean Meredith is taken in by the police – and is unable to use his tryst with Lisa as an alibi. For lack of evidence, though, Sean is soon released, and attention turns to another suspect, Nick, a local man with a learning disability. Lisa learns that Sean had a second sexual encounter with another woman on the same night his children disappeared.

Nick is interrogated and beaten up by Sean, though Lisa rules him out as a suspect in the twins’ disappearance, and focuses instead on family friend Ryan (Philip Hill-Pearson).

Meanwhile, Lisa’s own kids wade into trouble, as Abbie is ensnared into the drug trade by rugged older boy Vincent, and Rob begins enacting a series of increasingly risky dares for an internet acquaintance, which culminates in the robbery of a food bank.

Holly’s rucksack washes up on the shore containing £8,000 in cash and a burner phone and her blood is discovered under her deceased brother’s fingernails – making her a key suspect in his murder.

Anne Hathaway taking a selfie in a room: Morven Christie as DS Lisa Armstrong in The BayITV © Provided by The Independent Morven Christie as DS Lisa Armstrong in The BayITV

Tipped off by Nick, Lisa eventually finds Holly locked up in an abandoned holiday pool - still alive, and pregnant. Facing a barrage of questions, Holly admits to killing Dylan, by accident while the pair were fighting.

Abbie finds herself in danger when a drug deal goes awry, and requires the help of Sam (Louis Greatorex), her violence-adept former flame. Her brother Rob is meanwhile blackmailed by his online dare pal and gets arrested while attempted to fence his grandmother’s rings.

But Lisa is understanding, as her own crimes come to a boil; Med digs into the tampered CCTV recording and learns of her night with Sean Meredith. Lisa is then suspended from her duties after a confrontation which is overheard by Jess Meredith (Sean’s wife). 

In The Bay’s dramatic first season finale, it was revealed that Dylan’s real killer was Sam. After Lisa finds Holly’s ultrasound picture in Sam’s wallet, he reveals the full story: how he and Holly were dating, and Dylan had tried to stop them fleeing to Manchester after learning she was pregnant. Dylan’s death was an accident, caused by striking his head as he fell down.


Sam ends the series facing four years in jail for the accidental killing, while sleazy drug-pusher Vincent is caught and stares down a far longer sentence. Also sent down is Sean Meredith, whom it is revealed had a substantial role in the local drug trade.

Lisa ended the series in limbo, with her suspension from the police still pending review.

The Bay returns to ITV on Wednesday, 20 January at 9pm.

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