Review: The Drowning 2021 Tv Series Francesca Brill, Francesca Brill, Luke Watson
Channel 5 plants a flag squarely in ITV’s turf with this four-part missing-child drama, which on the evidence of this first episode doesn’t quite live up to its ambition or its premise. Jill Halfpenny stars as Jodie Walsh, a bereaved parent who is convinced she has found her son Tom, who vanished nine years previously on a family outing to a lake. The police said he’d drowned, although no body was ever found. The disappearance tore the family apart.
When we meet Jodie in the present day, she hasn’t recovered. Except for her brother Jason (Jonas Armstrong), her family are barely talking to her. Unpaid bills pile up on her doormat. The garden design business she runs with her friend Yasmin (Jade Anouka) is about to go under. On the way to a crucial pitch, she sees a young teenage boy, Daniel (Cody Molko, son of the Placebo lead singer Brian Molko, making his debut), on his way to school, carrying a guitar, and is convinced it’s Tom. She gets on the bus, follows him to the gates and becomes even more certain. He looks like Tom, walks like Tom and has the same scar under his left eye that Tom has.
Nobody believes her. Not the police, who think she is wasting their time. And not her now-ex husband, Ben (Dara Devaney). He has moved on with his life and has a new partner, Kate, who’s understandably suspicious of Jodie hanging around. Ben tells her he kept seeing Tom in the days after the disappearance, too, but it’s time to let go.
Frustrated, Jodie takes things in hand, precipitating a kind of psychological thriller Mrs Doubtfire. She applies to become a music tutor at Daniel’s school, using fake documents, and immediately shows a special interest in him. At a parent-teacher evening she meets his father, Mark (Rupert Penry-Jones), a tall, straight-backed and instantly suspicious posho. Hoping for an opportunity to snoop on Daniel’s home life, she tells Mark she thinks his son has real potential, but he’ll need a lot of one-on-one tuition.
What was the ending of The Drowning?
Although, a police DNA test initially showed Daniel was Jodie’s missing son Tom, it transpired that her brother Jason (Jonas Armstrong) had pulled some strings to have results faked.
Viewers found out Jason was actually the one who was responsible for the young boy’s death all those years ago.
After taking Tom to the lake to play, he received a phone call and took his eyes off the toddler. When he ended the call, he turned around to see that Tom fell in the lake and drowned.
Worried that he would be implicated in the death and that the accident would ruin his career, he never told anyone what happened.
At the end of the last episode, Jason takes Daniel off to the lake house with the clear intent to get rid of him so that no one can find out that he is not Tom.
Fortunately, Jodie and her mother catch up with Jason at the lake, and the truth finally comes out.
In a rage after confessing, Jason pursues Daniel and Jodie who fled in a rowing boat before, ironically, he drowns.
The episode concludes with Jodie organising a funeral service with Daniel laying a wreath to Tom on the lake.