‘Bodkin’ Recap (Episodes 1-7) Explained: Who Killed Malachy?

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Netflix’s latest dark comedy series Bodkin is often like the small Irish town that it is set in—warm, homely, and yet full of complications and mysteries. Following a team of three podcasters who travel to the town of Bodkin in order to report on a 25-year-old unsolved mystery, the series is as dependent on the characters as the plot. Overall, Bodkin makes for a fun and entertaining watch, although its style of taking serious routes at times does weigh down its appeal to some degree.

Spoiler Alert


What is the Netflix series about?

Bodkin begins with a brief scene in which a woman enters the apartment of an acquaintance in London, looking for him desperately, just a week before Halloween. As there is no response from inside, she enters the place to find an open laptop on a table before stumbling upon a horrific scene. The woman finds the man she was looking for hanging from the ceiling, in a clear act of suicide. A couple of days later, the same woman is seen engrossed in a heated discussion with her  superior at work over the phone. She is an investigative journalist named Dove, currently working for The Guardian, but her editor, Damien, is worried about the situation she is in at the moment. The man Dove found hanging at his apartment happened to be her key informant for a story she had been following for many long months. Since she had essentially walked into the crime scene, Damien wants Dove to stay out of sight for a few days, as he and their employers want to avoid any involvement with the police investigation. It is precisely to help the woman stay out of any further trouble that Damien has come up with a new case for her to cover.

Dove is frustrated and disinterested in her new project, which is not even a serious case, as she has to accompany an American podcaster to a small Irish town by the name of Bodkin. Since Dove is of Irish origin and knows the language and the country fairly well, she has been chosen to be a researcher for the visitor from the USA, Gilbert Power. Gilbert wants to produce a season of his podcast at Bodkin, and as he is working in correspondence with The Guardian, he is given two researchers and associates in Dove and another younger woman named Emmy Sizergh. Although she always prefers working on stories alone and also has a strong disregard for podcasters, Dove accompanies Gilbert and Emmy on their trip to Ireland. Twenty-five years ago, three unrelated people suddenly disappeared in the town of Bodkin on the night of Samhain. What happened to these three individuals still remains unknown, and Gilbert is extremely drawn to the possibility of including local folklore, myths, and legends in his podcast episodes. While Emmy tries to be very helpful and resourceful in order to prove her worth, Dove simply does not care about the project, and she feels the situation to be like an enforced exile, often calling up Damien and asking him to let her return to London.

But as the three start to investigate the old case, they can feel a sense of unease creep into the townsfolk. It becomes apparent that many people do not want to get into the past and complicate the present, suggesting that they want to forget and move past whatever has happened. The suggestions turn into threats real soon when Dove is hit by a car and ordered by two masked individuals to cancel the podcast and leave Bodkin. Around the same time, the car that the three had hired for their travels, belonging to a local lad named Sean, was set on fire by someone. While these incidents spook Gilbert and Emmy slightly, Dove is absolutely thrilled by these developments and grows determined to solve Samhain’s mystery in this quaint town of Bodkin.


What are the problems from Dove’s past?

From her very first day at Bodkin, Dove starts seeing a mysterious wolfdog in certain scenarios, which just sits and observes her from a distance instead of showing aggression or any other emotion. When it is revealed that the animal is actually visible only to Dove, meaning that it is only her imagination, it becomes clear that the wolfdog has something to do with her past. As the main plot in the series unfolds, the team has to visit a monastery where the head nun seems to know who Dove really is, and she mentions the name Dubheasa Maloney. Dove’s character is quite self-centered and egoistic, and she is simply unable to work in a team. Moreover, she is extremely manipulative and often says things only to get her work done. But behind this unlikeable personality of hers is also the same past, which haunts her through the apparitions of the wolfdog.

Dove was born in Ireland, and she was indeed named Dubheasa Maloney, but her childhood was extremely tragic. As a young girl, Dubheasa did not have a father, and her mother was terribly addicted to drugs, to the extent of her not being able to keep her daughter. As a result, the woman got Dubheasa admitted to a convent, hoping that the care and love of the nuns would help the girl grow up. However, little Dubheasa yearned for her mother’s love and company, and the realization that she had been abandoned terribly hurt her. Life at the convent was no better either, as she was forced to participate in religious duties, and strict rules were enforced upon her, all of which the girl hated. At this time, Dubheasa was repeatedly told that her mother would soon return to take her back, and the girl also believed it and looked forward to this event. But it obviously never happened, and although the mother did visit the convent once later, she apparently could not just meet her daughter out of embarrassment and grief. 

As a result, Dubheasa grew up with the false hope of having a family, and a toy wolfdog was her only true companion. These years were extremely traumatizing for her, and these memories and the associated pain return to adult Dove in the form of the imaginary wolfdog that she sees. One day during her teenage years, she sneaked into the chapel alone in order to smoke a cigarette but accidentally set the place on fire. Dove knew that she would have to escape, or else all the blame would be put on her. Out of fear and desperation, she escaped the convent and left Ireland as well, somehow reaching London and starting a new life there. In fact, the stories about the incident that spread in the country were that a teenage girl had set fire to a convent and escaped, whereas in reality it was merely an accident, and Dove was no arsonist, as she was portrayed. These events from her younger days also instilled a great sense of hatred and distrust about nuns in Dove’s mind.

Along with this matter, the incidents from her recent past also haunt Dove at present, for she is soon searched for by London police. The man who had committed suicide only a few days earlier in London was Dove’s key informant in an investigative piece she was preparing about high-level corruption in British politics. Because of the sensitive nature of the case, the informant was understandably very scared and had asked Dove to maintain anonymity about her source. However, the name of the man had leaked, in all probability, because of Dove’s carelessness, and he ended his life out of fear. The death might actually even be seen as a murder committed by someone very powerful and influential, staged as a suicide in order to avoid suspicion. Either way, Dove was mostly to blame for the death, and going ahead she committed another immoral act that made matters worse. When the journalist stumbled upon her informant hanging from the ceiling, she found his laptop open on the table with all the crucial information that she needed for her article. Still driven by her determination to be professionally successful, which Dove often prioritized over morals and humane feelings, she stole the laptop and did not care to inform the authorities about the man’s death. Using data from the laptop, she then prepared her explosive article, which would uncover the corruption in the government. However, the dead body was soon found, and when a police investigation began, the authorities learned of the laptop that was now missing. Therefore, they wanted to question Dove about the incident as a suspect, and upon being told that she was out of the country, they issued an official order to extradite Dove and bring her back to England for interrogation.


What is Seamus Gallagher’s real identity?

After first meeting a local resident named Seamus Gallagher at a pub, Dove has the feeling that she has seen the man somewhere else. She eventually figures out that Seamus is actually a notorious smuggler living under a different identity, possibly still hiding from the police. As the series progresses, Seamus’ real identity is revealed to be Jack McFadden, who was more famously known as the Badger during his past days. Seamus and Gilbert end up becoming good friends, with the podcaster hesitating to confront the man despite knowing what his identity is. Eventually, Seamus himself speaks about the turbulent times of the Troubles when he and his brother, Malachy, used to run a smuggling operation. They were used to illegally taking any items they could get their hands on, including drugs and guns, into Northern Ireland and selling them at a steep price. Once the illegal business was quite successful, the brothers moved to the town of Bodkin, where Malachy made use of the fact that a local man named Darragh fancied him. Using this romantic attraction, they rented a piece of land owned by Darragh for very cheap and continued their trade.

But when another family, the McArdles, who were local rivals to the brothers, got their hands on Semtex explosives, they wanted to take away the McArdles’ business. Malachy and Seamus made complaints to the police, got the three McArdles arrested, and stole all their semtex to sell by themselves. However, the Good Friday Agreement, which basically marked the end of the Troubles, and the UK calling for all Irish prisoners to be released, marred their plan. As soon as the McArdles were freed from jail and learned that their business had been stolen, they came for Seamus. Seamus ended up killing one of the brothers from the rival family, making him their enemy for a lifetime. Incidentally, this took place on the very night of Samhain, and Seamus always held the McArdles responsible for what happened later. At present, Jack McFadden lives in Bodkin under the name of Seamus Gallagher and is still involved in a criminal business, as he runs an illegal eel-breeding and selling trade. In order to investigate this animal cruelty act, two Interpol officers have also been staying in the town, and they were the ones to threaten Dove to leave at the very beginning of the series.


Who had actually killed Fiona and Malachy?

The mystery of the disappearances from Samhain twenty-five years ago was finally solved by Gilbert, Dove, and Emmy because of their individual interests. Firstly, they learn that one of the three who had disappeared was a teenage boy named Teddy, and he had returned to the town three days later after being found by a nun. While Teddy was a bright and intelligent boy, he was clearly not the same after his return, as his brain had been affected by something. The remaining two were a school teacher named Fiona and Seamus’ smuggler brother, Malachy, and both of them still continue to be missing. Learning that an accident had taken place on the night of the festivities, which was then suspiciously hidden from the public, the three manage to salvage an old car from the nearby bog. It is clear that the car had been intentionally dumped in the bog with two dead bodies in the trunk, and the owner of the vehicle, Ruairi Power, an ex-police officer, becomes the suspect.

However, a different truth is revealed by the end of Bodkin, shocking many of the townsfolk, which also explains why most of them wanted the mystery to remain unsolved. Seamus was actually in love with Fiona, and the two were in a relationship as well, although the woman was not very convinced about it. When the McArdles returned to take revenge against Seamus on the night of Samhain, he called up his brother, Malachy, and told him to escape to somewhere safe along with Fiona. Their close friend, Ruairi, was there to help them escape, but only Malachy ended up at his house because he could not find Fiona. The police officer went in search of the woman to no avail and returned home only to see a horrific scene. Ruairi’s son, Teddy, was infatuated by his teacher at school, Fiona, and he had some arguments over her with Malachy. The teenager, having no sense of his own strength, had struck Malachy with a brick and had accidentally killed him. Ruairi rushed to hide the crime by dumping Malachy’s body in the trunk of his car and driving towards the bog, when he accidentally hit and killed another local woman named Greta. Thus, he had to put her body in the trunk of his car before dumping it into the bog. 

However, Fiona made use of this chaos to get as far away from Seamus as she could, since the man would never let her leave otherwise. She asked for help from her dear friend, Maeve, in escaping to Wales, but as they were preparing to sail away in a boat, Teddy arrived at the scene looking for his beloved teacher. Fearing that it was Seamus, Maeve hit the boy with the boat oar hard enough to cause a severe brain injury. In order to help him survive, the two women quickly rowed to the island of Inish Mac Tire, where there was a convent for nuns specializing in nursing. Three days later, Teddy was in better health and was sent back to Bodkin, but Fiona still stayed at the convent. Realizing that her window of escape was over and Seamus was desperately searching for her, she decided to stay put with the nuns, especially since she was pregnant with Seamus’ baby. A few months later, Fiona died at the convent during childbirth and was also buried there while the baby was alive and well.

It was a nun at the convent, Edna, who agreed to adopt the baby boy, and she returned with him to Bodkin, telling everyone that she had adopted the baby from Romania. This boy grew up to be Sean, and he is actually the son of Fiona and Seamus. Edna and Maeve both wanted to keep this whole matter a secret, knowing well how criminal-minded Seamus was, and this is why they set fire to Sean’s car and Seamus’ boat in order to scare the podcasters away and to hide the secret forever. While the death of Darragh, who also happens to own the holy land on which the Samhain festival is held, is initially presented as a murder, by the end, it seems like he died of natural causes, as no mention of it is made. The only other possibility is that Seamus killed Darragh out of fear that he would tell the podcasters about their past association, although that seems unlikely.


What happens to Gilbert, Dove, and Emmy?

During Bodkin‘s ending, Dove manages to strike a deal with the Interpol agents, helping them arrest Seamus Gallagher in exchange for her own freedom. The semtex that Seamus and his brother had stolen from the rival smugglers was never sold off and is currently still hidden inside an underground cave under the land where Samhain is celebrated. Seamus tries to flee on his boat but is ultimately faced with a situation where Interpol wants to arrest him on one hand, while the vengeful McArdles wants to kill him for his past crimes. In such a situation, Seamus chooses to simply detonate the bomb and create a distraction, which does take down the McArdles. Although his fate is not clearly shown at the end, the fact that Dove is out free suggests that Seamus Gallagher is finally arrested by Interpol.

Gilbert decides to leave his profession as a podcaster, and he even throws away the recorder on which he had secretly taped a lot of the crucial conversations about the case. Although clueless about what he would do in life next, the man decides to stay away from the unethical and questionable choices that a podcaster has to make to fish out information. Emmy gains enough confidence to pitch herself to be an investigative journalist at The Guardian, and she fills the spot left empty by Dove. Since Dove cannot return to England, she is fired from her job, and she gladly stays back in Ireland, herself turning into a podcaster. Having realized the importance of embracing one’s past no matter what, she returns to the convent where she had grown up in order to document how the place ran. Much to her pleasant surprise, she is welcomed back to the place, meaning that the nuns hold no grudge against her for the accident she had caused in the past. 


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Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya keeps an avid interest in all sorts of films, history, sports, videogames and everything related to New Media. Holding a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies, he is currently working as a teacher of Film Studies at a private school and also remotely as a Research Assistant and Translator on a postdoctoral project at UdK Berlin.

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