This episode went back to the late ’90s when a mummified body is discover in a brick basement wall when construction workers are trying to remove asbestos.
When Grace, Harrow and Simon are trying to figure out how long the woman had been in the wall, Grace is able to deduce the woman had been there since the late 90s, due to the clothes and shoes as she had a similar style back then. They eventually find out her name is Elizabeth “Libby” Hewitt and she has been missing since April 1997, reported missing by her best friend, Melissa Turner.
When they talk to Melissa, she tells them that she last saw her on Saturday night and they were watching videos, however Grace points out to her that Libby was dressed to go out on the night she died. When they find a hair on her that belonged to a rapist, Ron Evans, they try to look through old files for evidence, however Grace and Harrow eventually deduce that Melissa was raped. Melissa reveals that her and Libby went to a party, where both Melissa and Libby were given ecstasy, however Libby took the tablet out of her mouth and put it in her bag, whereas Melissa took hers and was raped by another man at the party. Nichols and some of the other police officers arrest the man, who has become a barrister.
When Harrow asks Ron’s neighbour about whether the rapist did the brickwork on Ron’s house he says no and points out another man in the university’s yearbook, Harrow’s prosecutor friend, Paul Haberecht, as the tradie who did the work. When Harrow confronts Paul at his home, he tells him that that he found Libby’s mouth full of vomit and tried to revive her. Harrow told him he could have called an ambulance but Paul was afraid of losing his scholarship. Harrow says he will go to the police and Paul says he won’t be confessing, however when he is struggling for breath, Harrow tells him he has asbestosis from breathing in the fibres when he put Libby in the wall, which is also evidence of his crime.
Overall I found the case of the week interesting, especially with it happening twenty years earlier, and like last week’s case, it was an accident not a homicide, although Paul did cover up his crime in burying her.
Meanwhile throughout the episode and the case of the week, Harrow requested the autopsy report for Francis Chester. He eventually receives it when Simon brings him his mail and tells Simon about what’s been happening lately. At the end of the episode after reviewing the autopsy report and confirming that the dead body is Francis, he tells Simon he was wrong but clearly Simon doesn’t agree with him.
Also, Fern is facing at least seven years in prison as the police don’t have to prove the drugs in the backpack are hers and therefore they don’t have to look for anyone else (which is ridiculous, how many innocent people have gone to jail under that law?). When Harrow concludes Francis Chester isn’t after him, Fern calls and he tells her this and he doesn’t think anyone is setting her up, which is definitely the wrong thing to say to her. He calls her as she sees someone coming out of the chemist.
After Harrow hangs up, he hears sirens nearby and walks up the pier to find his beloved car on fire. A mysterious man is watching on and then walks into the restaurant that Callan is working at as an apprentice chef, the man turns around and sure enough it’s Francis Chester, aka Frank.
While it’s not surprising that Francis Chester is alive, the slow reveal of him being Callan’s boss was a great twist. It will be interesting to see how the reveal of him being Callan’s boss plays out.
Overall a solid episode, especially with the confirmation that Francis Chester is alive, which means the story arc can really get underway.
-Harrow’s car was his father’s.
-The episode’s title Malum In Se means “wrong or evil in itself.” In the context of crime, it refers to conduct assessed as sinful or inherently wrong by nature, independent of regulations governing the conduct. This translation is true of Paul’s crime of burying Libby in the wall, especially as he had nothing to do with her death in the first place and he merely buried her due to his fear of the repercussions and how they would affect him and his life.
Best one liners and interactions:
- “Mr denim catalogue pirate!” (Grace to Harrow on his fashion sense)
- “Memo”, “Boring”, “Memo”, Boring” “Court appearance” “Fine!” (Simon-Harrow when Simon is telling Harrow what mail has come in for him)
- “My god it’s pigeony up here!” (Fairley to Grace on the QIFM balcony)