Desperate Measures ending explained – Do Rowan and Finn survive?

amanda abbington, desperate measures
Desperate Measures reaches nailbiting conclusionChannel 5

Desperate Measures spoilers follow.

Imagine being so desperate to save your son that you think a bank robbery is the only way to fix things… Well, welcome to the world of Rowan in Desperate Measures.

Rowan, played by Sherlock's Amanda Abbington, and her son Finn (Jesse Cescatti-McFarlane), find themselves in the worst series of unfortunate events ever after a chance encounter with Conor, one of Finn's old school friends, leads him into a criminal underworld he never wanted to be part of.

With Rowan being let go from her job at a bank on the same day, things go from bad to worse when drug dealer and gangster Kristof (Gábor Nagypál) demands Finn is responsible for getting back the money seized by police – all £25,000 of it.

From that point on, it's one problem after another – with an attempt to pawn a family ring leading her directly into the sightline of robber ex-boyfriend Patrick (Warren Brown), and Finn being kidnapped by Kristof until the "debt" they never asked for is paid.

So what to do? Well, if a bank's screwed you over, you clearly have to rob said bank to get the money you need. With Patrick in tow, off Rowan goes on her plan.

So how exactly does the story play out? Here's everything you need to know as the show reaches its gripping conclusion.

warren brown, desperate measures
Channel 5

Desperate Measures' ending explained

In a mess like this, it's clear that not everyone was going to make it out alive.

When Rowan's dad Mal (Francis Magee) gets involved, he manages to track down the missing Finn – but rather than swoop in to save him, Kristof delivers a warning shot to prove he's not messing around, immediately killing the young Conor, Finn's friend who got him into the mess in the first place.

Backed into a corner, Rowan starts staking out the bank, unwittingly looping in pal Varisha (Sunetra Sarker) into her plans. Varisha, who wanted nothing to do with it to begin with, also becomes desperate when her mother needs medical support she can't afford.

All of her efforts don't go unnoticed, with Detective Simmons (Jonathan Nyati) looking further into Patrick and the pure coincidence Rowan was in the pawn shop he had tried to rob.

amanda abbington, desperate measures
Channel 5

Worrying he's become a liability, Rowan is hesitant to keep Patrick in the plan. It's ultimately decided Patrick will help disable the CCTV, before Mal triggers the fire alarms with a smoke bomb, then Varisha helps her access the money while the bank is getting evacuated.

However, Rowan's instincts were right about Patrick – there's a reason he's your ex, lady – and he hijacks the plan with his gang of cronies in order to completely empty the vault on his own, planning to rake in millions.

In the ensuing fight, Mal is shot as Patrick's gang locks him, Rowan and Varisha in the vault. When emergency services arrive at the scene, Rowan escapes before they can get down to the vault, leaving Varisha to cover for her and say she was a "hostage" as she heads to find Kristof.

Returning to the pawn shop, Rowan goads the shop owner that got held up, knowing he was all part of the plan and was meant to get a cut from the robbery. She gets out of him that Patrick is laying low at an abandoned detention centre, and Rowan decides to get even.

warren brown, amanda abbington, desperate measures
Channel 5

Meeting up with Kristof, she tells him she can get him millions, as long as he doesn't kill Finn. Taking him to the abandoned building, they track down Patrick and his cronies celebrating their millions.

In the shootout that unfolds as Patrick refuses to hand over the cash, Patrick's men are all killed, and Patrick tries to make a run for it. It's eventually left to Rowan to take Patrick out for his betrayal. But obviously, it's not that simple, and Kristof seizes the opportunity to kill Rowan and Finn anyway, leaving him with everything.

With his final breath, Patrick picks up his gun and kills Kristof, giving Rowan and Finn their freedom.

Now knowing they need to cover their tracks, Finn and Rowan form a plan to stage her kidnap, leading Detective Simmons to the building where they find everyone's bodies – and Rowan tied up in a locked room.

Later interrogated, Detective Simmons grills Rowan on everything. She walks him through her version of events, claiming she didn't know how Mal was involved, or the fact Patrick was one of the burglars.

He doesn't believe her, instead concluding that she had participated of her own free will, with her father and Patrick in cahoots to rob the bank with her help, but it went awry.

amanda abbington, desperate measures
Channel 5

But Rowan has been clever. In her dad's car is a letter of confession, she left the security footage on Patrick's body to make it look like he took it, and even stashed the bank layout plans at his work to ensure it appeared like she wasn't involved.

The letter confirms part of Simmons's belief that Mal and Patrick worked together, but claims Rowan was coerced into giving information about the bank without her knowledge. She was targeted after being at the pawn-shop robbery, with Patrick tracking her down and discovering she worked at a bank, seizing the opportunity for a pay day.

This clears her of any involvement as, clearly, everyone who could challenge her version of events is dead. Mal was taken to hospital but it "isn't looking good" as he succumbs to his injuries. The note clearly shocks Rowan, suggesting she wasn't aware he had left her this note to help her cover up if things went wrong.

It's clear Simmons doesn't entirely believe it, but is forced to let her go.

Rowan returns home to safety with her son, and together they return to normality. Varisha is given a lump sum from the cash they'd managed to stash – the money needed to give her mother the medical care she desperately needs.

She uses her experience as a "hostage" to apply for jobs as security supervisor, and starts life afresh.

Desperate Measures is available now on Channel 5's streaming service, My5.

You Might Also Like