Marcella Anna Friel

Marcella on ITV1: What illness does Marcella have?

Her mental state deteriorates in episode four, and her life is once again in danger

Marcella’s mental health seriously declines in episode four of the ITV drama tonight (Tuesday February 9 2021). But what is the illness Marcella suffers from?

The dark thriller continues, with actress Anna Friel portraying the troubled undercover cop.

Marcella – now known as Keira – is struggling with her dual role and the cracks are beginning to show.

Here’s everything you need to know!

***Warning:  may contain spoilers from episode four of Marcella***

Anna Friel as Marcella in the ITV drama
Anna Friel as Marcella in the ITV drama – but what illness does she have? (Credit: ITV)

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Marcella illness: What is wrong with her?

Marcella has a type of dissociative identity disorder (DID), which results in her suffering from violent black-outs.

At moments of intense stress, she enters an amnesiac state.

As a result, Marcella does and says things she later has no recollection of.

Actress Anna Friel has explained that the series is very much a drama, not a documentary.

Therefore it isn’t supposed to be a spot-on depiction of the disorder.

In episode four, Marcella has a violent encounter with Bobby – who almost chokes her to death while she is driving him to the airport.

Suddenly a car appears from nowhere, saving Marcella from possible death.

Marcella suffers shellshock and a mental fugue.

Disorientated and shocked, she returns home to the Maguire family – but her garbled and confused explanation of what happened leaves Katherine and Finn doubting her.

Marcella illness: Is it a real disorder?

Yes, Marcella suffers from a real life illness.

Between 0.5 and three per cent of the British population will suffer from a form of dissociation at some point in their life.

This means it could affect almost two million people in the UK.

Despite this, not much is known about them.

DID is nearly always rooted in childhood trauma.

It is also linked to PTSD – post traumatic stress disorder.

The disorder can be treated.

In Marcella’s case, it seems as though the disorder set in after the death of her baby daughter, Juliet.

Marcella has infiltrated the Maguire family and is posing as Keira (Credit: ITV)
Marcella has infiltrated the Maguire family and is posing as Keira (Credit: ITV)

Read more: Who plays Jack in Marcella and what else has actor Laurence Kinlan been in?

Why is Marcella undercover in series three?

Marcella is presumed dead and is now working undercover.

She infiltrates a criminal family in Belfast and is known by her codename Keira.

But it’s never that simple with Marcella…

The undercover cop begins to enjoy the luxury life of the family a bit too much and starts to become part of the Maguire world for real.

Viewers see her clashing with the Maguire matriarch Katherine, played by Amanda Burton.

Is Keira/Marcella aiming to gain full control of the family?

Does she even want her old life back?

Viewers can watch the third series as a standalone series, without having watched series one and series two.

Marcella series three, episode four: what happens?

Marcella episode four sees the undercover cop – aka Keira – struggle with her mental health.

She suffers from extreme guilt in the aftermath of Danny Armstrong’s death.

She is tormented by flashbacks which send her into one of her fugue states.

A dramatic car scene sees Marcella fighting for her life, and Bobby ‘arrested’.

Meanwhile, Katherine Maguire issues Marcella a stark warning.

There’s quite a few murders, too, if anyone wants to play body count bingo!

Marcella episode four airs on ITV at 9pm on Tuesday February 9 2021.

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