'Annika' Season 2's Premiere Sings a Song of Scottish Seals

Nicola Walker as DI Annika Strandhed drinking coffee in 'Annika' Season 2

Nicola Walker as DI Annika Strandhed in 'Annika' Season 2

© Black Camel Pictures & All3Media International

Annika is not the type of series that stands on ceremony or sits around waiting on a lot of preamble. It's part of the benefit of a series where every week is a new case, and there's not much in the way of significant arcs throughout the season. Even Season 1's "mystery" of Morgan's paternity was played down to the point where it wasn't something the show was hiding, as much as it was yet another thing our titular detective avoided ever talking about, until, of course, she dropped the bomb at the very end of Season 1 that Morgan's dad was, in fact, ex-high school boyfriend Michael McAndrews, now her second in command at MHU.

DCI Oban: It's voice activated so you can talk to the car if you don't want the pyschologist.

Season 2 picks up literal moments after that reveal, the same night Annika nearly died in the boot of a car after being held at gunpoint earlier that day. Naturally, these near-death experiences have her nattering on about Scottish songs, the Child Ballads specifically, so named because Francis James Child collected them. She's using one as her reasoning for hiding Morgan from Michael. (It's a myth where the father steals the child upon learning of it, and both dad and baby die.) She's interrupted by Michael, natch, because a new murder, recorded on a phone two nights ago, was just dropped at the station while they were at the pub.

Morgan is handed over to Michael's wife, Astrid (Cora Bissett), who is a little off-put by the girl's paranoia, while the MHU boss, Oban, hands over her car to Annika since the Strandhed-mobile was destroyed. Blair and Tyrone track down Aisha Dunn (Chelsea Quaison), who dropped off the phone, but lose her in a car chase. Annika and Michael check out her last known address, where her mother, Justine (Patricia Panther), claims she's not there, but Annika catches the girl as she tries to escape. Aisha's innocent; she stole the phone and turned it in when she saw the video. But she describes the man she swiped it from, who'd been watching the video when she yoinked it.

Jamie Sives as DS Michael McAndrews & Nicola Walker as Annika discuss the case in 'Annika' Season 2

Jamie Sives as DS Michael McAndrews & Nicola Walker as Annika in 'Annika' Season 2

© Black Camel Pictures & All3Media International

The body's been found, one Dean Malone, so Tyrone and Blair head over, where Blair discovers a young witness is hiding in a tent. The witness doesn't have much information other than seeing one person drowning a second one. Malone had been sacked from his tourism job with Red Line Cruises about three weeks prior; his boss, Kimi Blake (Elysia Welch), says he was dealing cannabis. When caught, instead of apologizing, he defended the practice, pointing out that the rebookings were through the roof. He also pointed out he was not the only one using this as a side hustle and got fellow employee Richie McAvoy (Joe Rising) sacked, too.

His apartment doesn't have much beyond a guppy, which Annika decides to randomly adopt. Morgan is thrilled at the new addition, far more delighted than Annika is to discover Morgan's agreed to babysit Michael's daughters and that she's signed her mother up to be a parent helper for the upcoming student camping trip. Despite her reservations about Morgan unwittingly volunteering to look after her half-siblings, Annika is working through emotionally accepting that Michael will have to be told. After all, the only other option would be for Morgan to go live with Annika's parents on a glacier in Norway, which is wholly unacceptable.

Aisha is confident she can identify the guy she stole the phone from, so Michael, Tyrone, and Annika take her to the train station where she initially swiped it. The man in question sees Aisha pointing at him; three people turn his way and instantly bolts. Tyrone gets to catch his suspect this time; maybe he'll make inspector on the first go. The man's name is Rihan Harijan (Pal Aron), but though he ran and had a phone with a murder on it, he doesn't seem much like their suspect. Blair has footage of Richie following Dean out of his house the day of the murder, so she and Tyrone head over for questioning.

Ukweli Roach as DS Tyrone Clarke Jamie Sives as DS Michael McAndrews hide in the bushes in Annika Season 2

Ukweli Roach as DS Tyrone Clarke Jamie Sives as DS Michael McAndrews in 'Annika' Season 2

Alibi/Masterpiece

Blair is pregnant, by the way, and everyone's reactions are hilarious, from Tyrone's near-sexist "well, you can't possibly want to interview a murder suspect in your condition" to Annika threatening to take up knitting. However, Tyrone needn't have worried. Richie doesn't seem to have murdered Dean; he felt sorry for the guy and sold him his Red Line cap after they'd gone drinking that afternoon so Dean could use it to get half-price beers at a local pub later. Meanwhile, Rihan proves the phone Aisha stole wasn't his, and he has an alibi for the murder, so it looks like he's a dead end, too, until Annika asks why he ran when he saw them, and he gets caught in a dumb lie.

Annika insists on confirming the alibi he went and saw a movie with his sister Nila (Liz Jadav), which checks out. But even so, her story sets off alarms, with her noting that Rihan paid -- super unusual -- he has no friends, blaming others for his inability to get ahead in life and his desire for small retributions everywhere on people. That leads to a street cam showing a drunken Dean beating up Rihan over whose Uber it is waiting for them. A cabbie then rescues Rihan, Jaden Stanton (Martin Pemberton), an ex-military man with a record of violence, whose phone is traced to a new message on the dropped-off phone demanding payment.

Rihan admits that Jaden used his humiliated rage to talk him into paying to have Dean killed. He insists he regretted it immediately, which doesn't jive with him watching the video repeatedly. But since he hasn't paid yet, his first act of atonement will be to act as bait to catch their hitman. He is entirely incompetent and tips off Jaden, who tries to run and is taken out by Tyrone. Rihan then tries to run and brains himself on a low beam. Total incompetence for the win. Now, if only Annika could manage to competently tell Michael about Morgan... or even just open the car.

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Annika

Nicola Walker (Unforgotten) stars as DI Annika Strandhed who juggles cases and a daughter.
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Ani Bundel has been blogging professionally since 2010. A DC native, Hufflepuff, and Keyboard Khaleesi, she spends all her non-writing time taking pictures of her cats. Regular bylines also found on MSNBC, Paste, Primetimer, and others. A Woman's Place Is In Your Face. Cat Approved. Find her on BlueSky and other social media of your choice: @anibundel.bsky.social

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