To no one’s surprise, DI Rachita Ray survived the shooting at the end of the last episode unscathed, and she’s back to finish what she started in the season finale of DI Ray. This episode is best served with the knowledge that DI Ray has already been renewed for Season 2. Any plot or character developments could carry over. Still, just enough threads are tied up to make it a satisfying season finale, as DC Carly Lake arrives on the scene with paramedics. Ray is unharmed but in shock. It’s safe to assume Ray and everyone else know that PS Tony Khatri is dead, but it isn’t made explicit until a few scenes later.
Ray: I suppose it was the easiest thing to do though, right? People already have preconceived ideas and stereotypes about Asian crime, so it just... worked.
After Ray recovers, she is questioned by Sup. Beardsmore to record the events of the night. He reveals that he knows about her engagement to Martyn, even though she and Martyn had intended to keep it secret. She walks Beardsmore through what happened, omitting the romantic bits but otherwise sticking to the facts. After he turns the tape off, Beardsmore engages in a bit of victim-blaming, implying that Ray is at fault for not knowing that she was being surveilled. Having seen the number of locks on her front door and knowing that the other officers disbelieved her about the attack in her bathtub, anyone with an ounce less professionalism than Ray would be screaming at Beardsmore.
Martyn meets Ray outside the station, still playing the part of concerned fiancé, but he’s not fooling the viewers or Ray. He gives her a hard time about why Khatri was at her house, without compassion, because Ray just saw her friend and colleague gunned down in front of her. The police are putting Ray in a hotel room for her safety, and she won’t tell Martyn where it is.
Ray meets with Maureen Groves (Rowena King), who she met last episode, and demands to pursue Magnus Tranter and work together with Intelligence. Groves reiterates Ray can continue with her investigation, but Tranter is merely a foot soldier. Ray asks to meet Imran’s handler, and Groves says she’ll see what she can do. The police department holds a press conference announcing Khatri’s death, and the officers, including Ray, look on solemnly. For what it’s worth, he’s never seen dead on screen, so if you (like me) enjoy being delusional, the chances are not zero (albeit extremely low) that he could make a return. He was the heart of this season and left massive shoes to fill.
Ray learns that further digging revealed Laura Milne (Lucy Phelps), the woman associated with Tranter who claimed was a hookup, had a child with him. Milne’s already gone when Ray arrives, but at Tranter’s other address, on a hunch, she finds personal items hidden inside the sofa. Among them is an unlabeled tape and a Sri Lankan ID for a Sumaira Kumara.
In one of the most emotionally affecting scenes of the season, Ray goes alone to Khatri’s service at his temple. She is clearly out of her element, but the community welcomes her, with one woman offering her the scarf off her own head. Just as she gets settled, Ray’s phone rings. Overwhelmed, Ray runs out of the funeral crying. Her phone rings again with the news Milne has been located at a train station. Ray intercepts her and her children, bringing them in for questioning. It’s the first time Ray is seen on the officers’ side of the interrogation; Milne insists Tranter only paid child support; otherwise, they weren’t in contact. But one of the children’s phones is blowing up, likely from Tranter.
Tranter’s couch tape turns out to be a sex tape from 2007 with the woman on the ID. The man, Ray realizes in dawning horror, is Martyn. Ray stops the video and has a breakdown that is understandably hysterical and surprisingly restrained (in typical Rachita Ray fashion). She works late into the night to find information about cases involving sex workers from 2007 while ignoring Martyn’s calls. DCI Henderson is kind to Ray for once, commending her on her work and insisting she goes home to rest. Henderson tells Ray to brief the team about what she knows about the investigation into Tranter the next day.
Ray goes to Martyn’s and tells him everything, including how desperate she is to talk to Imran’s handler. He tells her to let Intelligence do their work. (As if the last three episodes haven’t shown, no one can convince Ray to lay off a case.) The next day she briefs her team on the larger investigation into Tranter, instructing them to focus on the murders and not step on the toes of the Intelligence investigation. Henderson backs her up as Carly pulls her aside to say Sumaira Kumara (Devashrie de Silva) has been found living in the UK, and based on her ID, she was only fifteen at the time of the tape. Ray reveals to Carly the man on the video was an officer (but not who) and asks for Carly’s discretion.
Ray and Carly go to Sumaira’s house, where she confesses she worked at a brothel in Digbeth (a neighborhood of Birmingham). An armed robbery occurred, and police intervened; Sumaira’s boss made her have sex with Martyn as a bribe. She identifies Tranter as that boss. Ray receives a text from Imran’s handler asking to meet. But when Ray arrives, it’s Martyn, dropping his nice fiancé act for full supervillain mode, demanding the tape. Ray doesn’t seem surprised; what upsets her most is he assaulted a minor. He insists he was set up and told Sumaira was nineteen; Tranter then used the tape as blackmail. He didn’t mean for Imran and Anjuli to be killed, and things got out of hand.
Martyn forces Ray out of the hotel where Tranter is waiting; it’s pretty horrifying, wondering what Tranter plans to do with her. Just as all hope is lost, a fleet of police cars surrounds them, and Ray’s team steps out. She calmly places Martyn under arrest while other officers arrest Tranter. Henderson reveals Martyn walked right into Ray’s trap. She told him everything about the case on purpose, hoping he would pose as Martyn’s handler. In the evening, Ray and her team go to the pub where Khatri took her. They reminisce and celebrate Ray’s victory. It is a bittersweet celebration, rife with only Ray's knowledge about their lovely and brief affair.
The next day at the office, Ray is called before Sergeant Beardsmore. He says she must be investigated because of her relationship with a corrupt cop, and she is very understanding. However, she still wants to proceed with the investigation because there are bigger players beyond Tranter. Henderson says they’ll put a new team on it. In an exchange that gets to the crux of the season, Ray insists she’s proven herself, but Beardsmore says she was out of her depth and it was his fault for appointing her because of “ethnic needs.” Ray, exercising the utmost self-restraint, says calmly, “You know, and I know, what this is really about.” Beardsmore leaves her with Henderson.
Ray says, “He never wanted me in the first place, and neither did you.” Henderson disagrees; Ray was ready. She passes posters on the walls, “Be the change,” mocking her with their optimism as she takes off her ID. The first two episodes left much to be desired for compelling plot and characters, but the final two did a decent job of picking up the slack. Where the show succeeds is in its goal of showcasing the way that Ray’s identity as an Asian woman is inextricable from her job — how she approaches it and how others approach her. She is a compelling protagonist and would become even more effective if the show made space to develop her relationships with those around her and herself.
Season 1 of DI Ray is available to stream on PBS Passport.