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Written by: Paul Abbott

Produced by: Hilary Bevan Jones

Directed by: Charles McDougall

Originally Screened: 06/11/95 (Part 1), 13/11/95 (Part 2)


"I Stabbed her. You killed her" - Bill


Fitz, Penhaligon and the other officers at Anson Road C.I.D. attend Jimmy Beck’s funeral. Fitz meets Beck’s sister (who turns out to a barrister even though Beck had told Fitz that she was a nurse) who asks him how her brother had gone so badly wrong. It turns out that Beck had talked about Fitz constantly when he rang home and his sister wanted to put a face to a “friend”. Penhaligon causes a scene at the wake when she gets very drunk. Fitz calls her a taxi and turns down her offer to go back to her house and sleep with her. Bill Preece/Nash, a 17 year old boy who is living in a children’s care home, breaks into the factory where he is doing work experience and is found by the foreman, Stuart Grady. There is an unspoken but palpable chemistry between the two and Grady lets Bill sleep on the floor in his flat.


When Grady’s landlady, Mrs. Franklin finds Bill in the flat the next morning, she assumes that he is a rent boy and threatens to call the police. Grady is so distressed that Bill stabs Mrs. Franklin to stop Grady from being unhappy. She is only wounded and Grady has to deliver the fatal blow to prevent his friend from going to prison. Before they can leave the flat, Mr. Franklin comes home and finds his dying wife in the cellar trying to get out. He falls down into the cellar with her where he is later found by the police and charged with his wife’s murder. Grady is questioned by DC Alan Temple and tells him that Bill is his son. Fitz concludes that Mr. Franklin does not have the courage or strength to commit murder and that they are looking for two killers. However, he mistakenly assumes that it is a man and a woman team (like Sean and Tina in ‘To Say I Love You’). Fitz’s home life is still extremely torrid since Judith seems to be going through postnatal depression following the birth of their son. She is also being increasingly drawn to Fitz’s brother as a source of comfort.


While clothes shopping with Grady at a local supermarket, Bill sees a couple who had been his foster parents when he was 7 and follows them home. Diane, Bill’s former foster mother, calls his social worker, Ian McVerry, who comes to the house and attempts to take Bill back to the children’s home. Grady prevents this from happening and he and Bill chase after McVerry in their car. Enraged that McVerry had come between him and his former family, Bill (with Grady’s help) kills McVerry outside a nightclub. When the police and Fitz are called to the scene of the murder, Fitz concludes that this crime is emotionally identical to the death of Mrs. Franklin. He also decides that they are looking for an older and a younger man. Through McVerry’s day planner, the police realise that the last call out McVerry had was to see Bill Nash. When they visit his place of work, they are told that he was friendly with Stuart Grady who lived in the same house as Mrs. Franklin. Alan Temple tries to get DC Skelton to say that he interviewed Grady. Penhaligon overhears this conversation and berates Temple for it. He tells her that he has Beck’s diary which he gives to her. Penhaligon destroys the book and thus achieves a certain amount of closure on her rape.


When Bill and Grady attempt to burn their car, Bill’s leg catches fire and Grady takes him to hospital. The police are notified that two men were seen setting fire to a vehicle and they arrest Grady at the hospital although Bill escapes. Fitz interviews Grady and tells him that he understands the pain that Grady has gone through trying to conceal his sexuality. Fitz says that it is tragic that he has never told any man (including Bill) how he has felt. Even when Grady was in the almost exclusively male environment of army, he repressed his same-sex desires by picking fights with other soldiers. Grady eventually admits his role in the two murders and tells Fitz where Bill will be hiding. However, Bill has tracked Diane and her son (whose birth prompted her to abandon Bill just before she was meant to adopt him) to an amusement park. Bill takes both of them hostage and demands Grady be released and both of them be given a car. Grady arrives with Fitz and tells Bill that he loves him. Just before Bill can give Grady the gun, police snipers open fire and Bill is killed. Grady holds Bill’s lifeless body in his arms and cries out in agony. 


Episode Guide written by Graham Price


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The Unofficial Guide To Cracker 1999-2006