A murder subplot which makes the second series of Broadchurch look positively concise is coming to its conclusion this week.
But with Lucy Beale’s killer set to be unmasked tomorrow night we have been wracking our brains for clues to the perpetrator. And frankly, we’re stumped.
So, in an effort to predict the outcome we’re rounding up the prime suspects.
Who killed Lucy Beale?
Who killed Lucy Beale?
1/9 Bobby Beale
Lucy's cute little brother is the chief suspect according to the bookies. If she was killed at home as Lauren has suggested, then a family member is likely the culprit. But how could this adorable little fella do such a thing?
2/9 Jane Beale
Jane failed to attend Lucy's funeral and was allegedly away with Bobby at the time of her death. She was sent a scary letter by Lauren before her wedding to Ian and now's she strongly in the frame.
3/9 Abi Branning
Dad Max appeared to accuse Abi on Tuesday night's episode. She is seething that her friend Lucy was kissing her dad soon before her death so maybe Abi's angelic looks are hiding something more sinister? After all, she did try to drown her own sister and has been seen frantically scrubbing blood from the car park. Oh and she killed her pet dog.
4/9 Max Branning
Max is a major suspect because of his affair with Lucy right before she died. He's had many affairs on Albert Square though and the women are alive and well.
5/9 Lauren Branning
She's accused her demented little sister Abi of Lucy's murder but maybe she's deliberately covering her own tracks. Actress Madeline Duggan is taking a break from EastEnders to have a baby so perhaps she'll be 'going to jail'...
6/9 Jay Brown
He buried Lucy's purse and phone and set fire to a beanie hat he was caught on CCTV wearing the night she died. Sounds suspcious to us...
7/9 Lee Carter
Lucy's ex-soldier ex-boyfriend did drop Lauren Branning in it with that video footage - a clever ploy to take the heat off himself?
8/9 Ben Mitchell
Ben is already a murderer so his inclusion on the suspect list makes sense. He was out of prison when Lucy was killed too. Very possible.
9/9 Lucy Beale
Suicide is still a possibility but what a disappointment it would be with no 'I can't believe it was you!'
Abi Branning (Lorna Fitzgerald)
Currently suspect numero uno after last night’s semi-live episode in which Abi’s father Max Branning appeared to accuse her. But after he sort of fluffed a crucial line, we’re more confused than ever. Nevertheless, this once sweet little girl, now one of Walford’s scariest teenagers, is pretty teed off that her mate Lucy was touching tongues with her dad soon before she popped her clogs.
The angelic-looking blonde has form, remember, having previously tried to drown her sister. She’s been seen frantically scrubbing blood from the car park and – most tellingly of all – she killed her own pet dog.
Lauren Branning (Madeline Duggan)
She might have accused her demented little sister, but perhaps she’s deliberately covering her tracks by implicating Abi? We know that the actress, who is expecting her first child, is taking a break from the show. Might she be getting banged up in jail with some of London’s hardest criminals? The odds are slim, but you never know.
Max Branning (Jake Wood)
Fluffing lines and and his daughters aside, Max is a major suspect because of his affair with Lucy right before she died. He has already proven himself capable of deception, comforting Ian while not disclosing his relationship with his daughter. But that doesn’t make him a murderer. And, considering how many other women on the Square whom Branning has had affairs with but whom remain alive and well, logic would suggest it is unlikely.
Bobby Beale (Eliot Carrington)
The cutest face in Albert Square is currently the bookies’ favourite to be revealed as Lucy’s killer. Perhaps because this cheeky chap is totally unlike an archetypal murderer, we refuse to believe it is true. But Carrington, who is the fourth actor to play the character, was recast just last year so perhaps the writers have a juicy storyline for him to tackle?
Jane Beale (Laurie Brett)
Her failure to attend Lucy’s funeral puts Jane in the frame. She was allegedly away with Bobby at the time, but perhaps those two were in it together and their alibi is an elaborate lie? Meh, you never know.
Jay Brown (Jamie Borthwick)
Having buried Lucy’s purse and phone and set fire to a beanie hat that he was caught on CCTV wearing on the night she died, you’d think Jay would be the prime suspect. But with enough red herrings for a Scandinavian banquet, who knows. Either way, it stinks.
Ben Mitchell (Harry Reid)
The prevailing reason Ben is on this list is that he is already a murderer. And he was out of prison when Lucy was killed. Open and shut case. Never trust anyone in NHS specs (so avoid Hoxton).
Peter Beale (Ben Hardy)
Could this have been a case of twinocide? There certainly wasn’t much love lost between non-identical twins Lucy and Peter. And the fact that Ian revealed Lucy was his favourite didn’t help matters much.
Les Coker (Roger Sloman)
An undertaker who commits murder to perk up business? Well, it wouldn’t be the first time. But, the fellow who helped Nick Cotton out with his fake death scam, is a seriously shifty number. And he’s a peripheral enough character for nobody to mind too much if he goes to jail for a long time.
Pam Coker (Lin Blakley)
It is pretty unlikely that Pam, nosy but nice, would have bumped off Lucy. But then she is one of just two suspects here to have been known to have killed a person. However, her decision to end the life of her desperately ill son is a lot different from committing murder in cold blood.
Lee Carter (Danny-Boy Hatchard)
Lucy’s ex-boyfriend is also an ex-soldier and, despite there being no clear motive for his involvement in her death, he did drop Lauren Branning in it with that video footage. A clever ploy to take the heat off himself? Possibly.
Lucy Beale (Hetti Bywater)
There’s been a lot of talk about the possibility of suicide and that Lucy is actually the arbiter of her own demise. What a disappointment that would be. No confession? No trial? No grief-stricken finger-pointing “I can’t believe it was you!”