Red Eye episode 1

Red Eye on ITV: Episode 1 of Richard Armitage thriller left us wanting more, but is his character a killer?

Or has he been set up?

Red Eye landed on ITV this weekend, and episode 1 did exactly what any good thriller should do – left us desperate for more.

Richard Armitage portrayed Dr Matthew Nolan, a man arrested for a murder he swears he didn’t commit. And while we want to believe him, it’s slightly too early to trust anyone just yet…

Safe to say, there are more nefarious characters in Red Eye, than in the whole of Line of Duty‘s Central Police force put together. There’s a mysterious man hiding in the luggage hold, a dodgy suitcase-swapping flight attendant, a super-suspicious pilot, and masked men lurking in anonymous vans waiting to kidnap people.

That’s before we even scratch the surface of who killed the daughter of the general in China, and who attacked Matthew in a Beijing nightclub. There’s SO much to unravel here!

Here are all the questions we need answering ahead of Red Eye episode 2.

***Warning: spoilers from Red Eye episode 1 ahead***

Richard Armitage's character Dr Nolan being led in handcuffs
Has Richard Armitage’s character Dr Matthew Nolan been a very naughty boy? (Credit: Bad Wolf for ITV and ITVX)

Red Eye episode 1: Is Dr Matthew Nolan a killer?

Episode 1 of Red Eye started with Dr Matthew Nolan running from a Beijing nightclub, seemingly for his life. Clearly injured, he scrambled into his car to get away from a man in hot pursuit.

Either drunk or drugged – he claims the latter – an injured Matthew drove away from the scene, only to fall asleep at the wheel. Having collided with a block of concrete, he staggered out of the car and walked away. Weird for starters, unless you consider he had a plane to catch and someone potentially on his tail.

Twenty-four hours or so later, the doctor landed back in the UK only to be arrested for murder. There was a dead woman found in his crashed car… The same woman he’d been spotted with in the nightclub hours before.

Yes, he had bloodied knuckles. Yes, he deserted the car. But it definitely stinks of a set-up. Especially when things start to go bonkers on the plane back to China, where he’s being extradited.

So what was he running from in Beijing? He claimed he was stabbed by a bouncer, but is he telling the truth? And why did he leave one day earlier than scheduled?

What happened to DI Lana Hi’s mum?

DC Hana Li (Jing Lusi) is the no-nonsense, London officer charged with accompanying Nolan back to Beijing to face justice. We know she was born in Hong Kong and has a traumatic past, which means she’s not too happy about going to China at all.

Her boss puts her reluctance down to “what happened with her mum”. We know her dad isn’t particularly warm with her, that he’s remarried, and she’s estranged from her journalist sister. So plenty of skeletons in Hana’s closet then…

Richard Armitage and Jing Lisu starring in the cast of Red Eye
Richard Armitage as Dr Matthew Nolan, alongside Jing Lusi as DC Hana Li in the cast of Red Eye (Credit: Bad Wolf for ITV and ITVX)

Red Eye episode 1: What happened to Chris Peele?

The powers that be in China have demanded Dr Nolan be extradited to face justice – as well as four of his colleagues who were present at the Beijing nightclub on the evening of the murder.

While three obliged, Chris looked dodgy as hell, and demanded to leave the plane. But why? Surely he has something to hide. Having escaped the airport, he immediately made a mysterious call to someone about the killing. But the call didn’t last long… Within seconds, masked men/women pulled a bag over Chris’ head and kidnapped him.

So who took him and why? Surely this strengthens Matthew’s insistence that there is more at play here?

Who wants Matthew dead?

So Matthew is on the plane, with Hana reluctantly beside him. All around, there’s suspicious activity occurring and lots of shady characters. There’s a person in the luggage hold who shouldn’t be there. There’s a flight attendant who knowingly swapped suitcases before boarding. And there’s also a pilot who seems to be sweating more than Prince Andrew in the Woking branch of Pizza Express.

Are these people being blackmailed as part of a bigger plot? Or are they all working together to take Matthew down? When Matthew heroically donated his vegan meal to a fellow passenger without one, the man – Daniel Lomax RIP – promptly dropped dead. If we assume the food was poisoned, which is the best guess we have, then Matthew’s life is in danger.

A synopsis from ITV tells us that “further deaths confirm that Nolan truly is in danger” and that “Hana finds herself embroiled in an escalating conspiracy”. So we’ll have to keep watching to find out who wants Matthew dead, and why.

Read more: Red Eye star Richard Armitage on ‘coming out’ identity of his long-term partner, and filming THOSE raunchy sex scenes

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Red Eye episode 2 airs on Sunday, April 28, 2024 at 9pm on ITV1. The whole series is currently available to watch on ITVX.

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Helen Fear
TV Editor