The Tower is a 3-part British mini-series based on Kate London’s novel, “Post Mortem.” It portrays a special officer, DSI Sarah Collins, who investigates the mysterious murder/accidental fall of a teenage girl and a veteran police officer from Portland Tower in London.
The series directed by Jim Loach keeps you hooked with its thrilling twists and turns. In just three episodes, it delivers an excellent flow of the narrative without straining its viewers. It not only points out the insensitivity of the police officers but also underlines the corrupt system that would go to lengths to protect its own skin.
‘The Tower’ Plot Summary
On April 21, at 6:31 PM, the control room reported two fatal casualties. A 15-year old teenage girl, Farah Mehenni, and a veteran cooper, PC Hadley Matthews, fell from the roof of Portland Tower. Detective Sergeant Sarah Collins (Gemma Whelan) and her partner, DC Steve Bradshaw (Jimmy Akingbola), arrived at the crime scene. They reached the rooftop and found a rookie inspector, PC Lizzie Adama, with a young boy wearing a bear suit.
Steve investigated the scene and found out that Farah kidnapped the young boy and took him to the top of the Tower. The two officers, Lizzie and Hadley, tried to stop her, and due to some reasons, it ended in a fall. For an accurate picture of the mishap, Steve approached a mentally shocked Lizzie. Before an interrogation, Lizzie’s guv’nor, DI Kieran Shaw, authorized her to go home, and she disappeared from the crime scene.
In the meantime, Sarah found that Farah’s father, Younes Mehenni, was kept under custody at a local station. From the official reports, she discovered that Sarah was Younes’ arresting officer. She ordered Steve to bring Lizzie to the station immediately. But when Steve approached Lizzie’s house, she ran away. Sarah requested her senior DCI, Tim Bailie, to go public with Lizzie’s pictures, but DI Kieran Shaw intervened. He informed the detectives that Lizzie was a prime witness in an organized crime case and the investigation would threaten her life.
With Lizzie on the run, and Kieran refusing to cooperate, Sarah and Steve kept exploring the rabbit’s hole without a single ray of hope.
Major Spoilers Ahead
What actually happened? How did Farah and Hadley Fall?
Two months ago, the council moved Libyan immigrant Younes Mehenni, Farah, and her grandmother from the refugee camp to a white neighborhood. Their neighbor next door, Carrie Stoddard, probably disliked the new neighbors. She reported their rude behavior to officers Lizzie and Hadley nine days before the fall (April 21).
Lizzie and Hadley entered Younes’ house to talk to him. In his absence, the grandmother opened the door, but she didn’t understand English. The officers barged in, and suddenly Farah came back from school. While Lizzie was in the backyard, Hadley casually interrogated Farah near the door. He “jokingly” (according to Hadley) used racist words and referred to her father as Mohammed Bin Laden. When Younes came home, Farah signaled to him to run away.
Later, Lizzie gave her number to Farah and asked her to convince her father to turn himself in. She promised to leave Younes with a warning. Farah brought Younes to the station, and during the interview, Younes informed Lizzie about Hadley’s racist comment in front of his 15-year-old daughter. Lizzie didn’t mention the use of racist language in her first report.
Lizzie inquired Hadley about his comments which he denied without a thought. She wanted to report Hadley’s racial behavior but guv’nor, DI Kieran Shaw, seduced her and convinced her otherwise. He never gave a definite reason for concealing and protecting Hadley, but he was probably trying to safeguard the image of his station. Lizzie lied in her second report and mentioned that Hadley never used racial language.
After Lizzie’s second statement was reported on April 19, the court dismissed Younes’s complaint against the police on April 21. Feeling betrayed, Farah called Lizzie to ask why she lied in her report. She informed Lizzie that because of her lie, the family could lose the house. Farah and her family spent two years in a refugee camp before they finally got moved. In the camp, she lost her mother, and the years spent there was torture. She didn’t want to go back.
At that moment, Kieran was standing beside Lizzie and feeling selfish comfort; Lizzie informed Farah that she wasn’t obliged to help. Farah had a strong sense of righteousness and, thus, to threaten the cops, she informed Lizzie that she had recorded the racist comments of Hadley on her phone. Farah also underlined that she walked past Portland Tower every day. Sarah surmised that Lizzie had told Hadley about the recording. He took Farah’s phone and locked it in his locker at the station.
A panicked Farah abducted Carrie Stoddard’s son and took him to the roof of Portland Tower. Carrie called 999 to inform them about her son, and without asking for further details, Lizzie and Hadley ended up at Portland Tower. In the meantime, Kieran took the master key and removed Farah’s phone from Hadley’s locker.
On the roof, Lizzie accepted her mistake and apologized to Farah. She first protected the kid from Farah and then tried to catch Farah. But on an impulse, Farah moved back. Hadley tried to catch her, and accidentally, they both toppled down from the edge of the roof. It was Lizzie’s version of the truth, and she could probably be lying.
‘The Tower’ Ending, Explained
Sarah went public with Lizzie’s pictures to catch her. In the meantime, Younes informed Sarah about Farah’s phone. She knew that Kieran stole the phone from Hadley’s locker and thus decided to search his house. Lizzie called Kieran to meet in an open garden. Kieran told her that he knew about the recording, and to help Lizzie, he removed the evidence. He charmingly told Lizzie that he loved her, but it was evident that he was protecting himself.
When Kieran came back home, he saw detectives standing outside the house. He hid Farah’s phone in a coffee glass and gave it to his wife, Mary. Sarah didn’t find the phone, and the search ended up in a disaster. Lizzie, burdened with guilt, contacted Steve, but quickly hung up. Steve tracked Lizzie’s phone and found her at the edge of the roof of Portland Tower, trying to kill herself.
Steve understood that Lizzie made a mistake, but his law had no space for it. He knew that Lizzie’s life would end in despair if Sarah found out about the truth. Hence, Steve convinced Lizzie to lie. He brought Lizzie to the station, and in the interview, Lizzie denied all accusations except that she killed Farah while trying to save her. Steve cunningly reported that trying to save a life isn’t a chargeable offense and concluded the interview. Sarah knew that Steve was helping Lizzie, but she didn’t have any evidence to prove it. The only substantial evidence, i.e., Sarah’s phone was missing from the scene. DCI Tim Bailie concluded the investigation, and Lizzie was discharged.
Eleven days later, Kieran visited Lizzie’s house and informed her about Laszlo Kovacs’ arrest. He was an organized crime boss who killed a woman, Cosmina Baicu, whom Lizzie tried to protect. Kieran wanted Lizzie to ID Kovacs so that the authorities could charge him for the murder. After the CPS investigation report, Lizzie was brought back to the service. Sarah wasn’t happy with the cover-up and thus resigned from the job. She informed Tim Bailie that she had applied to the Homicide department as a DS and had been accepted.
While everyone else attended PC Hadley Matthews’s funeral, only Sarah and Lizzie visited Farah’s grave. The media portrayed Sarah as a mentally ill Arab teenager, while Hadley was lauded as a hero. Ironically, only Sarah and Lizzie knew the truth and accepted the reality, while Kieran ensured that everyone else denied it. After Hadley’s funeral, Kieran’s wife, Mary, took out Farah’s phone from her purse. She probably had a second thought about reporting her cheating husband to the police. However, Kieran’s fate wasn’t revealed.
At Farah’s grave, Lizzie told Sarah that she is a good cop like her and will prove it through her work. The screen faded as Sarah acknowledged the zeal of a flawed protagonist.
The Tower is a 2021 Crime Drama 3-Part Mini-Series directed by Jim Loach. The ITV British series is based on Kate London’s novel, “Post Mortem.”