This week's episode of Annika opens by Forth Bridge in Edinburgh. This week's body's being fished out of the drink just as this week's novel, Waverley, or 'Tis Sixty Years Since by Walter Scott, is being fished out of Annika's coat pocket before the credits roll. Efficiency, that. The team is working out of the picturesque town (I think that's the Writer's Museum? Why?) Annika naturally protests there's no view of the Scott Monument and then wholly fails at video chatting with their local contact, DC Harper Weston (Varada Sethu), by walking too close to the TV.
Michael: Well, I'd agree that you're as funny as Walter Scott.
The case they've been called out to handle is that of 28-year-old ex-prisoner Jemma Kerr. She was given six years out of a possible 14 for killing pedestrian Zuri Keita while driving drunk, served five, let out for good behavior inside, plus the consideration of having called in the accident herself and pleading guilty immediately with no previous record. She was taken to a halfway house by her probation officer and promptly disappeared, turning up three days later drowned. Her dad, Bruce (Billy Mack), who doesn't drive, said Jemma was supposed to visit but never showed. But he notes she was drunk when she called him to say she was free.
The number Jemma called Bruce from leads to a 5-star hotel where the check-in host, Valeria (Hannah Collins), looks ready to climb Tyrone like a tree. She has Kerr in the penthouse. She was drinking, empty bottles everywhere, and the place smashed up. The bellboy, Andros (Ryan Bown), is there too; Tyrone gives chase, the two fistfighting their way to the kitchen as Annika takes the elevator to meet them. Andros asks if Jemma was a gangster, as she had a big bag of cash, which they locate. Tyrone celebrates his impending promotion by going out dancing with Valeria. Annika takes a call from her father, hoping this might be the reconciliation she always wants, but no, just a pocket dial.
Blair's need to disclose her pregnancy last week is apparent in this episode, as she's already beginning to show. (Actor Katie Leung was pregnant in real life during filming, so this was a last-minute rewrite by the series rather than sticking her behind a desk all season.) There's blood on the handle of Jemma's halfway house room, and the room across the hall, which has blood on the lock, is filled with the same sort of dog cages in which her body was drowned. She goes to identify the blood while Michael tracks down the owner of the dog cages, career criminal Billy Gleeson (Steven Duffy).
Gleeson, it turns out, is kennelling several dogs and claims the blood was his from a dog nip by the Chihuahua. He says he saw Jemma all of once for ten minutes, and if they want to know where she went, to find the white van tailing her. Michael goes home to Glasgow to see his family, chihuahua in tow, but to Astrid's chagrin The chihuahua incident causes Michael to be late returning since the kids assume they now have a dog, so Harper steps up to join the team. This morning's briefing digs through the original trial, where Zuri's sister, Amara (Kimberley Mandindo), who works as a stage tech, was distraught that Jemma only got six years.
Michael, when he finally shows up, has a white van detail: it has the word "STAND" on it, which pegs it to one of three places, the last of which is a comedy club, so of course, that's where he and Annika go first, and wouldn't you know it, Amara's doing soundcheck. She tries to run, but Annika parked her in. Sorry to Oban's car? Amara insists she didn't kill Jemma; she was just obsessed with following her to see where she lived and why she got to have a life while her brother was in the ground. Besides, she has an alibi — she was running front of house for the comedy show. She says the person who did it hated Jemma far more; check the trial transcripts if they need to know who.
Tyrone, meanwhile, has been tracing the bag of cash; the bag was a piece of lost luggage belonging to one Jason Craig, and it had been sitting at the Waverley airport for a year. He and Blair head to Jason's house, where they meet Jason's wife, Briony (Laura Ferries), who admits she gave the money to Jemma. She says it was so Jemma wouldn't have to go home to her father, who was an abusive prick, the reason she was an alcoholic, and tried to beat her the one time he visited her in prison.
The trial transcripts and a deep dive into the jail logs all come together. Bruce is a total wack job. Absolute abusive nutter got banned from the courtroom for repeatedly screaming at Jemma about how she'd disgraced the family for her actions and demanding the judge give her the death penalty. The bit about not picking her up because he doesn't drive? All lies; not only does he go, but he also owns a car, and the jail has records of the plates on file. Dollars to donuts, his bit about the mother being too sick to visit and dying was trash since he was banned from visiting the prison for violent behavior.
However, in questioning Bruce, who is a despicable bit of trash, he mentions that Briony was in the car that night and that Jemma testified she'd dropped the girl off only a few minutes before the accident. Annika suddenly puts two and two together, along with Amara's rage at how Jemma looked so "noble" on the stand like she was doing something to be commended, and how Briony elided if the husband knew about the cash gift or why it was in the form of cash in a bag like that. The CCTV of Briony handing the bag to Jemma is very obviously our victim, angry at Briony over what she'd suffered, having taken the fall for her BFF's drunk driving manslaughter.
Annika's trip out of Glasgow got her out of being a parent volunteer on Morgan's camping trip, something she's more than thankful for, and that's before the rain kicked in. Morgan's loving it, of course, rain and all, even if she and Femi are stuck under the (leaky) tent Michael and Astrid provided, with Femi wondering if Annika would rescue them on general principles. Morgan calls Annika, asking for advice to get Femi into it, but Annika has myths, history, and stories, none of which are particularly cheerful. Ultimately, Morgan bullies Femi into kayaking and then has to rescue her when the kayak overturns. Annika is very proud of all this, from a distance.
The team heads to the art gallery, where there's a sculpture missing — a dog cage that should be filled with colorful items. Briony is there, grabs a painted shotgun from another display, and holds it to Annika's head as she confesses. She accidentally pushed Jemma down the stairs, though she was already dead. So she stuck her in the cage and pushed it into the water. Harper is the first to step up and try and knock down Briony as she confesses, much to Tyrone's annoyance, but it's Michael who disarms her and escorts her.
Annika is determined to tell Andrew this time about Morgan, especially after seeing his reaction to Morgan wearing his hat and the chihuahua rescue and so on, but before she can, Michael surprises her by signing her up for amateur comedy night and throws her on stage with no preparation whatsoever. Her set's not funny, but it gets the point across, and now Michael knows he has four daughters.