Bodyguard episode 4: the biggest questions and talking-points after another dramatic hour of TV

Bodyguard episode 4: the biggest questions and talking-points after another dramatic hour of TV
(Photo: BBC)

*Major spoilers for Bodyguard episode 4*

If you thought that hit new BBC drama Bodyguard was going to stop providing talking-points after its compelling opening salvo and explosive third episode, you were dead wrong.

Episode four appeared to be a much quieter, more sombre and sobering instalment at first. Until the shocking development where it actually killed off one of its two main characters – and very nearly dispensed with the other as well.

There are now even more outstanding questions and mysteries to consider. Here are the most pressing.

David’s attempted suicide: who replaced the bullets in his gun?

The most heart-stopping moment of the hour came when David put his hidden gun to his head, and pulled the trigger. We heard the shot ring out. Saw a spurt of blood before a quick cut. And Bodyguard then pulled off the agonisingly sadistic trick of making us think David was dead for a number of scenes (including that delay before he answered the door to Vicky.)

Then he emerged, alive after all. And soon explained that rather than this being a freak mis-fire, someone had replaced the bullets in his gun with blanks. But who would do this, and why?

Bodyguard David Budd episode 4 gun
David seems to have been infiltrated by a mysterious benefactor – or persecutor (Photo: BBC)

There might have been a benevolent motive. To save him from just this situation, or prevent him harming someone else due to his instability. Alternatively, perhaps this was a more sinister attempt to sabotage him should he attempt to use the weapon in his own, or someone else’s defence.

But then there’s the question of who would have known about the weapon, and how? To complicate matters further, investigating officer Louise acted like she knew it was stashed there when she searched David’s flat, and was surprised when she failed to turn it up. David had previously moved his gun into the light fitting.

Tahir Mahmood: terrorist operative, or unwitting patsy?

With Julia Montague dead, the show is now firmly in conspiracy thriller territory, with that fascinating, conflicted central relationship no longer the focus.

As such, attention has turned even further to the various suspects in the devastating speech bombing.

Tahir Mahmood was placed front and centre by the investigators this week; Montague’s press assistant seen as a likely suicide bomber by many.

The briefcase appears to be the source of the bomb. But did Tahir know? (Photo: BBC)

The explosion does seem to have come from the briefcase. And not from Kim Knowles, the now-deceased female officer on duty with Budd at the scene of bombing, as some had theorised.

But while Mahmood was acting nervously before the attack, and carried the case onto the stage, he might have been just the fall-guy. Set up and framed by more powerful forces. Especially given the odd behaviour of other political workers close to Montague.

Mike Travis and Rob MacDonald: Montague’s treacherous colleagues?

You may already have noted senior aide Rob MacDonald handing Mahmood the briefcase in question last episode, and lying to him about everything having been fact-checked. The implication might be that it was MacDonald who tricked the man into taking the bomb to its deadly destination.

Indeed, detectives Louise and Deepak considered the possibility.

Here, we saw MacDonald watching on nervously during a security briefing in the aftermath of the bombing, and sharing worried looks afterward with the acting Home Secretary, Mike Travis.

Mike Travis Bodyguard BBC
Travis expressed concerns about Montague’s meeting with the PM – and is seemingly involved in a conspiracy with Rob MacDonald (Photo: BBC)

The plot thickened further when Travis appeared to signal he may have also been involved in a conspiracy to kill Montague.

“It wasn’t even my idea,” MacDonald insisted, when informed the police wanted to speak with him. Travis then told MacDonald there was a “simple, plausible story” he should stick to, and warned that he “WILL stick to it”. But is Travis the man pulling the strings, or subject to forces bigger than him?

One ultimate ‘mastermind’? The search for the puppet master

This brings us onto another major talking point. Police Chief Anne Sampson suggested this week that the train bomb, truck bomb, sniper attack and speech bomb might all be the work of one single mastermind.

When Louise enlisted the help of David to speak to Nadia, the frightened, coerced bomber he saved in the opening episode, they were keen to find out who Nadia’s husband obtained the bomb from. Could it have been someone we’ve encountered already?

It was an Asian man, Nadia told them. But when faced with a table-full of photos, she wasn’t sure if it was anyone there. That said, she seemed to dwell on Tahir Mahmood’s picture.

Louise Bodyguard BBC
Detectives Louise and Deepak are on the hunt for the culprits. Are all the cases connected? (Photo: BBC)

Given that Mahmood is now dead, even if he was intentionally involved, he’s unlikely to be the puppet-master. Possible conspiracy candidates range from Travis to Sampson to the head of the security services – who all seemed to have motives for wanting Montague out of the way.

Of course, there is also the possibility that the attacks were actually the work of different conspirators with varying motives. The train bombing may well have been a separate terrorist attack, with the attempts on Montague the work of people out to get her specifically.

Is David now a suspect? And does he deserve to be?

We got some Line of Duty esque grillings in the tense interrogation scenes this week, conducted by detectives Louise and Deepak. And David himself came under the spotlight.

He was accused of giving the briefcase a cursory glance, and not searching it properly. There were questions about his behaviour, and researching Montague’s voting record; raising the question of whether David himself is now a suspect, or simply suspected of not being competent. If Tahir was framed, is David also being positioned as a fall guy?

David Budd BBC Bodyguard episode 4
Things have been going from bad to worse for David Budd (Photo: BBC)

David was adamant the bomb wasn’t in the case when he searched it, and someone must have supplied it to Mahmood at the venue. It’s unclear at this stage whether he’s correct, or lying.

That said, David looked genuinely devastated by Montague’s death, and tried to commit suicide. Was this guilt that he failed to save Montague, or because he was somehow complicit?

‘Richard Longcross’: who is he, and how is he involved?

David turned detective himself this week – interested in getting to the bottom of the mystery man, potentially an MI5 operative, who gained access to Montague’s hotel room to presumably discuss sensitive intel with her.

The security services had been doing some shady things with Montague, prompting the police to ask David to spy on her, and it was clear they were not happy about something when she went to see the Prime Minister at Chequers.

Longcross could potentially be involved in the bombing if it was indeed an inside job. But to what end?

Vicky’s new boyfriend: an irrelevant red herring, or something more?

David’s wife getting a call from her as-yet unseen new boyfriend this week seemed like an oddly focused-on moment, while the mention of him previously also stood out.

Vicky Budd Bodyguard BBC
Vicky’s new fella. Just a minor detail – or someone whose identity will turn out to be crucial? (Photo: BBC)

This could all just be irrelevant to the main plot, or something else for David to agonise over. But in a Jed Mercurio project, who knows?

In much the same way as PR worker Chanel seemed to have greater significance, but hasn’t been seen since episode one, you wonder if there could be more to this. As things get more and more murky, the prospect of even more shady goings-on around the world of David Budd seems a dead certainty.

Bodyguard continues on BBC One, Sundays at 9pm

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This article originally appeared on our sister site, iNews.