Vincent Regan in Traces
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Traces final episode review: All the things that STILL don’t make any sense!

Questions we have after watching the finale of the Martin Compston drama

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Traces concluded on Tuesday night (January 19 2021) with the murderer of Marie Monroe finally revealed as dodgy businessman Phil MacAfee so it’s time for a final episode review!

Some viewers might well be left wondering what his motives were.

Here are the questions we want answering after the series one finale of Traces.

***Warning: spoilers from episode six of Traces ahead***

Traces promo shot of cast
Traces follows Emma Hedges as she tries to discover the truth about her mum’s murder (Credit: BBC One)

Read more: Traces: Is Mrs MacAfee actress Stella Gonet from House of Eliott

Why did Phil kill Emma’s mum?

Phil MacAfee is revealed to be the murderer in the season finale of Traces.

D.I. Neil McKinven arrested and charged Phil for murder, abduction, assault, dismemberment, concealment of a body and attempt to pervert the course of justice.

He killed Emma’s mum Marie Monroe in 2001 – when Emma was just seven years old.

Forensic science had linked Phil’s boots to the murder.

Despite Phil’s protestations of “you’ve got the wrong guy, pal” and “no comment” the evidence stacked up against him.

His boots, which he had buried in a car park to destroy the evidence, were covered in Marie’s blood.

A print was found on the site where Marie’s body was found.

He had lied about his whereabouts on the night of Marie’s disappearance.

He was NOT with his wife, as he had originally claimed, so had no alibi.

In flashback scenes, we saw Marie accusing Phil of not treating her beat friend Izzy right.

Phil slapped her around the face, before becoming more violent – raping her and throttling her to death.

But why? The reasons behind the murder are not fully explained?

Did Phil simply lose his temper and lash out? Why did Phil REALLY kill Emma’s mum?

Why did Phil dismember Marie?

Police describe how Marie’s dead body was “cut through the flesh of her arms and legs with a knife”.

Phil cut through the bones with a saw.

But, again, why?

If Phil planned to bury the body deep underground, why did he need to dismember the remains?

If he had buried the body intact without chopping it to pieces, there would have been no blood to link him to the crime.

Phil MacAfee in Traces
Traces left viewers with a few questions… Like why did Phil kill Emma’s mum? (Credit: BBC One)

Read more: Traces cast: What else has actor Michael Nardone who plays DI Neil McKinven been in?

Are Emma and Daniel brother and sister?

Emma’s mum Marie was having sexual intercourse with both Drew Cubbins and Phil MacAfee during drink and drug parties.

This means that Emma could be Phil’s daughter and NOT Drew’s.

Could Emma and Daniel be related?

Izzy was horrified when she discovered Daniel and Emma were dating…

Does she know something we don’t know?

The series ended with Daniel and Emma back together and romantically involved.

What about Marie’s pink dress?

After bingeing the whole series on iPlayer, one fan wrote: “Oh my days! Stayed up till gone 4am watching the whole series. Questions about the pink dress though – need answers!!!”

Another agreed, adding: “Yes!! Me too. I also want to know why Daniel would have been taken to his grandma’s house when he was 19 yrs old, and how an 18-year-old phone was part of a 19-year-old murder investigation.”

Some viewers believed Martin Compston’s character Daniel took the missing pink dress to the garage in a black bin bag.

One said: “Another cracking drama from our brilliant BBC. One thing though; what about that pink dress in the binbag at his mum’s? Was it ‘the’ pink dress?”

Others wondered if it had been “a massive red herring”.

Marie had been wearing a pink dress on the day she was murdered.

During Phil’s interrogation, he was asked about the dress, but remained silent.

Martin Compston and Molly Windsor in Traces on BBC One
Martin Compston and Molly Windsor in Traces (Credit: BBC One)

Are Neil and Sarah going to get together?

D.I. Neil McKinven and Prof. Sarah Gordon clearly had feelings for each other.

The series ended with a flutter of flirtation and the promise of a date.

We think they’d make a gorgeous couple!

Other questions we have after Traces series one finale

Some viewers were baffled by Emma’s decision to return to Dundee.

She is clearly still very affected by her mum’s disappearance.

So why go into a clearly quite triggering career in murder investigation?

In the exact same city her mum was murdered in?

Others asked why she went to live with her aunt in Nottingham for 18 years, instead of her dad who lived in Dundee?

And why did Emma get an anchor tattooed on her hand? To remember that her mum disappeared from a nautical festival?

Emma at mum Marie's grave
Emma was finally able to put her mum to rest in the Traces season finale (Credit: BBC One)

Will there be a second series of Traces?

There WILL be a second series of Traces.

It has been commissioned for another run on Alibi.

Like the first series, it will air on UKTV channel Alibi first.

It is expected to air on BBC One shortly after.

Writer Amelia Bullmore originally wrote Traces for the specialist crime drama channel, Alibi.

She returns to write the second series with Jess Williams of Grantchester and Call the Midwife fame.

The UKTV Original six part series was Alibi’s biggest launch since 2011 and amassed an average of nearly one million viewers per episode across the series.

Traces is currently available to watch on iPlayer.

What is your review of the final episode of Traces? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix.