ITV police drama The Tower ending explained

·6-min read
Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

The Tower spoilers follow – including the ending to the three part series.

Over three tense episodes of ITV's The Tower, officer DS Sarah Collins investigated the deaths of veteran PC Hadley Matthews and teenager Farah Mehenni, who both plummeted from the roof of a tower block.

Two other people were also up there – young PC Lizzie Adama (with her body cam conveniently switched off) and the little boy, Ben, who Farah had taken up to the roof of Portland Tower with her.

However, as questions were raised about previous dealings PC Matthews had had with Farah and her Libyan refugee family and whether he'd used racist slurs when visiting their home, his police partner Lizzie didn't stick around to be questioned about what had led up to the tragedy.

The final episode opened with Lizzie, who finally wanted to turn herself in to be questioned, meeting up with DI Kieran Shaw – her boss and the married man she had been having an affair with.

Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

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He showed her that he had Farah's phone – on which Farah had secretly recorded Matthews' racist comments – which Matthews had then snatched from Farah and hidden inside his police station locker.

It turned out that Matthews had called Shaw on the way to Portland Tower on the fateful day he died, asking Shaw to retrieve the phone and hide it because he knew the recording on it was enough to get him dismissed from the police.

Lizzie realised that Matthews' words would have frightened Farah and that she herself had betrayed the girl by writing a report saying her partner had not used racist language, even though Lizzie had not been within earshot at the crucial time.

Shaw told Lizzie that she would end up in prison if she told the truth, and she saw he was protecting himself as much as her, since he was her superior and had hidden vital evidence. He walked away with the incriminating phone.

While Shaw was walking his dog and meeting his mistress, Sarah arrived at his home with a search warrant, hoping to find Farah's phone after Farah's father had told Sarah of its existence.

While she was there, Shaw returned home in his car with a coffee for his wife and told her that he had forgotten to ask the café to leave space for her to add milk, a comment that left his wife looking puzzled. Gosh, could something else be in her disposable cup instead of just a double shot espresso?

Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

A full search of Shaw's house, his car and his London flat came to nothing but – of course! – the clever copper had hidden the phone in his wife's takeaway coffee.

While rifling through his bedroom drawers looking for evidence, Sarah revealed to Shaw that she knew he and Lizzie were having an affair. Unfortunately for him, his wife was on the stairs below and heard everything.

That evening, Sarah's partner Steve Bradshaw received a silent call from Lizzie but traced her to – you guessed it – the top of Portland Tower. He talked her down from the ledge and brought her in to be questioned, but not before telling her to lie, presumably to save her career.

At the same time, Sarah attended Matthews' postmortem, where it was discovered that the policeman had skin and flesh under his nails, matching the deep scratches seen on Farah's arm. Sarah was convinced Matthews had thrown Farah from the rooftop to save his reputation and career.

Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

Related: Killing Eve's Gemma Whelan explains frustration with new role in ITV's The Tower

Back at the police station, with Lizzie in a cell, Sarah had to deal with her gaslighting fool of a boss, DCI Bailie, before starting Lizzie's interview. With Bradshaw at her side, Sarah grilled the young policewoman Line of Duty-style (though in a much nicer interview room) and it looked like the truth would finally come out.

Sarah figured out that PC Matthews had gone to Portland Tower and found Farah and Ben on the roof, and Lizzie had got there after him. She confessed that she managed to get Ben away from the edge, and Sarah guessed that Matthews had then pushed Farah.

Lizzie broke down and revealed that wasn't true – she had tried to grab Farah as she fell backwards, and then Matthews reached out to try and save the girl, risking his own life, but they both ended up tumbling off the ledge. With no crime committed, Lizzie was released, but Sarah knew that Bradshaw had coached Lizzie on her answers and that what really happened would never be fully known.

A fuming Sarah told Bradshaw that if he hadn't interfered, Lizzie could have given them information against DI Shaw, whom at the very least had hidden and destroyed evidence. Instead, we saw Shaw visit Lizzie and ask her to identify organised crime figure Kovacs, a sinister murder suspect in a case she was involved in, in a brave move that would redeem her in the eyes of her colleagues.

Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

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Sarah informed her boss Bailie that she was transferring to Homicide, she sarcastically thanked him and said "I've learned a lot from you," as she left. She then went to Matthews' funeral and watched Shaw from a distance with his fellow police officers, who were presumably unaware their boss wasn't quite the good cop he pretended to be.

Shaw may one day get his comeuppance, though, as the penultimate scene showed his wife in their car, in possession of Farah's phone (that she had told her husband she had destroyed), so she holds the vital evidence Sarah needs. Will she give it to her?

Sarah then found Lizzie at Farah's grave. Lizzie promised Sarah she would use her second chance to prove to Sarah she could be a good cop, and the pair then stood in silence, perhaps wondering whether one day they would end up working together.

Writer and executive producer Patrick Harbinson said: "When I pitched the series I compared them [Sarah and Lizzie] to The X-Files' Mulder and Scully: Mulder is the true believer, Scully is the sceptic.

"Sarah is the straight arrow, the truth seeker; she will hold to the letter of the law, however hard that may be. Lizzie, however, is the pupil of Hadley Matthews. From her street-lever perspective, the job has to get done, urgent problems have to be solved, sometimes the letter of the law has to be ignored, or even invented. That's the heart of the relationship between them."

The Tower is available to view on ITV Hub.

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