The crime drama series Clean Sweep is an attempt at combining the genres of crime thriller and family drama, and it does a fairly good job at it. With the plot centered around a middle-aged housewife, Shelley Mohan, who has to responsibly raise three kids as her detective husband mostly stays away, the beginning does play out like a family drama. However, the crime thriller elements soon barge in, as we get to know that Shelley has a criminal past, one that she desperately wants to hide from her husband at present. Overall, Clean Sweep is a decent watch that covers all sides pretty well but then unsatisfactorily leaves matters unresolved for a possible second season.
How Does Shelley Mohan’s Past Barge Into Her Present Life?
Shelley Mohan is like a typical mother of three, living with her family in an unmentioned Irish city where her husband Jason works as a police detective. Shelley’s entire day is spent around her kids—eldest son Derek, daughter Caitlin, and younger son Niall—while Jason mostly stays away pertaining to his work. On a normal morning, Shelley wakes up to Jason leaving for work, and she starts her day like every other day. After preparing breakfast for the children, the woman sees Niall off on his school bus before driving Caitlin to her school. But unbeknownst to her, a man keeps a lookout on her from a parked car, seeming as if he has been following the woman for a few days. Surely enough, when Shelley goes to the grocery store, just like every other day, the man is seen following her around. It is finally when Shelley is outside and about to drive away, that the man approaches her and wants to have a conversation, much to her horror.
The man, named Charlie, refers to Shelley as Maggie, and it is very evident that the two had known each other very well in the past. Shelley is scared that someone might see them since she and her husband are pretty well known in the area, thus making it clear that she has never told anyone about this past of hers. Also, clearly unable to shake Charlie off, Shelley agrees to meet him later in the day at the hotel room where the man is living. The woman is quite distressed after the meeting, but she also cannot stay away from Charlie, it seems. After finishing her household chores, Shelley drives to the hotel and even carries one of Jason’s service handguns, which is always kept inside a safe in their bedroom.
The meeting with Charlie does not go as Shelley had planned or even thought it would, for the man starts talking about their past. Having seemingly found peace in religion, Charlie states that they must repent for their past sins and start a new, cleaner life, and he also says that he has been looking for Shelley for many years now. When Shelley is not convinced at all, as she wants to keep her past buried forever, Charlie reveals that Jason has been having an extramarital affair, and he even starts to dial the man’s number to confront him. Shelley is shocked and desperately wants to stop Charlie, but she does not have any other option than taking an extreme measure. Pulling out the gun she has been carrying, the woman shoots Charlie dead. Also, taking the man’s phone, she realizes that somebody was in contact with him, and this person had also seemingly ordered Charlie to find Shelley. In a desperate attempt to keep her secret past hidden, Shelley throws the phone into the sea and then returns home.
How Does Shelley’s Present Personal Life Add To The Drama?
Along with the crime thriller plot of Clean Sweep, the show equally focuses on Shelley Mohan’s struggles and efforts at being a mother and wife in her personal life. After all, for many years before the sudden emergence of Charlie Lynch, Shelley was just a normal housewife and mother who had very well stuck to these roles. To begin with her children, the elder son, Derek actually happens to be Jason’s son from his previous marriage.
Being the stepmother, Shelley’s relationship with Derek is already a bit strained, as the teenager defies any serious command that she makes by reminding her that she is not his real, or biological, mother. Derek is at the sensitive age of discovering drugs, sex, and other significant matters that need to be kept in check. His best friend from school, Luke, is Derek’s primary source of drugs, but the boy is also reminded of the safety precautions to be followed during sex. Derek gets romantically involved with a girl named Doireann, who seems more interested in getting physical than any romantic bond. However, Doireann then also starts to avoid Derek for some unmentioned reason, and when the boy goes to her house to talk, her father drives him away. From then on, Derek remains mostly invested in trying to find out why Doireann had such a sudden change of heart but does not find any answer. It is Shelley who seems to calm him down towards the end, as her suggestion that he should pick himself up seems to make Derek understand and be at ease with his life.
Caitlin is also at the very crucial age of reaching puberty, and she is greatly supported by Shelley throughout. It is sensed that Shelley has the warmest of relations with Caitlin, and so she is by her daughter’s side when she gets her period for the first time. Caitlin is understandably very confused, scared, and irked at the changes happening in her body, but Shelley shares about her own experiences with them and comforts the girl. Caitlin had also found a photograph of Shelley, Charlie, and another man from many years ago, in which Shelley was visibly pregnant. The girl asks her mother to share about the experience of carrying a child, and although the mother seemingly lies about it, she does not shy away from any conversation. Shelley is also supportive of Caitlin when she finds a new interest in a girl in her class, Emma.
The youngest son, Niall, is extremely intelligent and also the geek among his siblings, but the young boy also suffers from severe respiratory problems, which look to be cystic fibrosis. Shelley, therefore, spends a lot of her time and effort trying to help the boy and taking him to regular breathing exercise classes. She is also very interested in getting special medical equipment that would help Niall’s condition and is even ready to sell off her car to afford it. But then, by the end, the equipment becomes readily available, and the family gets it for Niall. The young boy also suffers horrible bullying in school due to his condition, and it is Emma who teaches him to fight back. At the end of Clean Sweep, the boy who used to bully Niall suddenly gets caught in school with a knife in his backpack and is immediately expelled. On that very morning, Shelley noticed a knife missing from her kitchen, and when she learned of the incident at school, she joined the dots and realized what had possibly happened. But even though she understands that Niall had probably taken the knife from the kitchen and then put it inside the bully’s backpack, she decides not to say anything after she learns about how her son used to get regularly bullied.
Along with the tough job of being a mother, Shelley also has to play out the difficult role of a wife in a complicated marriage, and she admittedly falters in it. Shelley always suspects that her husband is having an affair with his police partner, Fiona Uba, and this turns out to be true as well. Even though Shelley sort of confronts Jason about this, the man always gets away by saying that he is a messed-up man who is stupid enough to get involved in such affairs. But when Shelley herself gets romantically inclined towards another man, Matt, for a short time, Jason loses his calm and is in utter disbelief at her adultery. Since Jason was investigating the murder of Charlie at the hotel and another witness had seen Shelley near the place on that day, Shelley had to lie and say that she was having an affair with a different man at the hotel at the time. It is primarily because of her messed-up marriage with Jason, and also because of her past suddenly coming out, that Shelley grows dependent on pills and alcohol to keep herself in check.
What Had Shelley Done In The Past?
The very exact details of Shelley’s past are not seemingly explained in Clean Sweep season 1, as they are clearly kept away for a hopeful second season, but there is a brief sketch of them presented. Shelley seems to have grown up in an abusive household, where her father used to heavily beat up her and another boy of her age who seemed to have been her brother. Shelley has told everyone in her family that she grew up in foster homes as an orphan and that she did not have any brothers of her own, but the flashbacks that show her childhood hint otherwise. After growing up under such difficult circumstances, the woman got involved with a gang of drug dealers in London, where she met Charlie Lynch for the first time.
Shelley was called Margaret Gallagher, or Maggie, and she used to work as a drug trafficker for a man named Alfred Vance, or Freddie. Charlie also used to do the same job, and over time, he and Shelley got romantically and physically involved. Shelley got pregnant at the time, and Freddie was angry over this. Shelley used to smuggle the drugs by hiding them inside a prosthetic pregnant belly, and now that she was really pregnant, this would get in the way of her drug trafficking work. When Freddie expressed his anger and mistreated her, Shelley and Charlie kidnapped the man and tortured him. It seemed like they did not have any intention of killing him, but Freddie threatened that he would surely track them down and kill them, because of which Shelley killed Freddie Vance. She had then seemingly continued to be with Charlie for some time, and the two even had matching magpie tattoos on their bodies, but the pair had to split up after some time. Freddie had been a police informant at the time, and his brother Adam Vance was also seemingly a powerful man, because of which there was a lot of heat on Shelley and Charlie.
During their days in hiding, Charlie had changed his name to Phil Whelan, while Maggie had changed hers to Deidre Fallon and then to Shelley Mohan. Charlie had settled in Newcastle as Phil, but he had been trying to reach Shelley for quite some time. Charlie’s brother, Rory Lynch, also happens to be an important politician in England in the present timeline and has been spearheading an election campaign with the promise of driving out crime from the country. It was Rory who had sent Charlie searching for Shelley in Ireland, but the exact reason for this is not yet known. However, it is hinted that Rory and Adam Vance were in touch, and the latter man had possibly convinced Rory to hunt out Maggie and kill her to avenge the death of Freddie.
‘Clean Sweep’ Ending Explained: Does Jason Find Out Shelley’s Secret?
After Jason Mohan is given the duty of investigating the murder of Charlie, who is recognized as Phil Whelan by the police, Shelley tries her very best to hide her role in the matter. In order to do this, she even lies about having an extramarital affair with a different man, and she is quite successful, at least until one point. In the end, Jason comes up with the explanation that Charlie had known a certain woman named Mariama in the past through some source. At present, Mariama was working as a sex worker in Ireland, and when Charlie comes to the hotel and calls upon her services, the two have an argument over their past, and Mariama shoots Charlie dead. Jason does not have to work very hard to prove much of this, as the sex worker Mariama is found dead in the sea, and he states that she must have killed herself after killing Charlie. The concluding proof that he shows for his explanation is that both Charlie and Mariama had tattoos of the magpie bird on their bodies, but in reality, the tattoos were not similar, and it was just a mere coincidence. By this time, Jason does not have any idea about Shelley’s secret, so he is not really protecting his wife; he just finds the easiest solution to end the case. Jason’s career in the police force would be greatly influenced if he could solve this case, and so he seems to hurriedly draw a conclusion to it.
But on the other side, in England, DCI Gwen Crichett had started her own investigation into the matter when she found out that the dead Paul Whelan was actually Charlie Lynch, brother of politician Rory Lynch. She had reopened the investigation into the old case of Freddy Vance’s murder, as the man had been a trusted informer of hers, and through this, she had finally tracked down the possible current appearance and location of Maggie Gallagher. She had sent over this information to Jason Mohan sometime earlier, but Jason just ignored it until the very end of Clean Sweep. Now, when Jason opens the email and takes a look at the photograph, he realizes that Maggie is actually his wife, Shelley. The man returns to his house as if about to angrily confront his wife, but then, in the end, he tells Shelley that she should have told him everything and trusted him to protect her. Clean Sweep season 1 comes to an end with Jason holding Shelley in an embrace while the woman is still quite confused and scared about all that has just happened.
What Can We Expect From ‘Clean Sweep’ Season 2?
The very manner in which Clean Sweep is made and also the ending of its first season make it quite clear that the story would continue in a second season. The main matter of Shelley’s past crime and the repercussions of it at present will still remain the focus, as multiple matters are still left unanswered. Why exactly Rory had sent his brother to track down Shelley and whether the politician had really cut a deal with Adam Vance remains to be seen. When DCI Crichett leaked the information that Rory’s brother Charlie had been alive for so many years to the press, someone called up the police commissioner and ordered him to shut Crichett up, or else he would do it. This man definitely seems to be someone powerful and influential and one who has a vested interest in Rory’s political success. Although Rory publicly says that he had no idea that his wasteful brother had been alive for so long, what exactly the crooked politician is up to will be seen in the next season. The current predicament of Shelley Mohan, now that her cover has been blown, and how Jason tries to protect his wife will be interesting to see as well. It is also made clear that Shelley had left her fingerprints on the body of Freddie Vance, and this key evidence will surely now be used by Crichett to incriminate her. Shelley had also lied to Caitlin that she had lost her baby in childbirth, but then the flashback clearly showed her giving birth to a healthy baby. Who this child of hers is, and where they are now, will also be revealed in the next season.