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Strike: The Silkworm (Part 1)

Strike is a British crime series adapted from novels by Robert Galbraith, who is also known as JK Rowling. It stars Tom Burke as Cormoran Strike, and Holliday Grainger as Robin Ellacott, the two leads of the series. The Silkworm is the second novel of the series, and is about a missing writer and a controversial manuscript that he wrote. spoilers ahead


The episode opened with a woman who clips off an article from a magazine she was reading. She pins it on her chest, drawing blood as she did so. Then, she turns on the gas oven of and sticks her head inside. This is an important detail in the story, but does not come to play until the next episode. 

Because of their work in the Lula Landry case, Strike and Robin’s workload has increased. Strike has moved out of his office and into the apartment next door. One morning, a woman goes to his office and asks Strike to make a phone call. Apparently, her husband Owen Quine has gone off into another writer’s retreat and tends to screen calls. He eventually calls the retreat, but finds out that he wasn’t there. The woman immediately asks Strike to find him. He is a known writer, and that his agent, Liz Tassel will pay the fees. She didn’t want to involve the police because the last time she did so, he appeared before the search even began, and was just in a hotel having an affair. 

When Strike reaches out to Tassel, she mentions that she didn’t care if he’s disappeared, because he’d written a thinly veiled manuscript thrashing the people he’s connected with in the industry. The show then reveals who are the players in the manuscript: his wife, his agent, his mistress, his publisher, his editor, and a fellow writer Andrew Fancourt, whom he had a falling out ages ago. It seems that they have all gotten hold of the manuscript in question. He goes back and visits Leonora Quine, asking her if she knew anywhere he could have been. He’s even been to Kathryn Kent’s place to see if he was there. He eventually gets a copy of the manuscript to see what it was about after witnessing her anger with Owen Quine. Leonora then mentions that Owen co-owns a house with Andrew Fancourt, and Strike visits the place to see if he was hiding out there.

He was there, splayed out on the floor, dead. He and Robin discuss how he found Owen Quine, with Robin pointing out that his death is similar to the hero’s death in Bombyx Mori, the controversial manuscript. A forensic scientist’s primary suspect becomes Leonora Quine, as she and her husband were heard fighting before his disappearance, and that she had background as a butcher. She also has the copy of the manuscript, the copy she lent out to Strike. 

Robin and Strike start reaching out to the people involved, visiting the publisher in his home to discuss Quine, and he reveals that Quine thinks Andrew Fancourt wrote a parody of his late wife's work. The episode ends with the police making an arrest, leading Leonora Quine out of her house. 

Beyond the case file events, there was development in the relationship of Strike and Robin. Robin was eager for Matthew and Strike to meet each other, but the event was cold; both men have nothing in common and were awkward with each other. There is also the case of Strike thinking about hiring another investigator, which surprised and upset Robin. She does confront him about this, with Strike saying that he didn’t want the job to be the reason why she and Matthew fights, comparing it to his previous relationship and how he chose his job over her. She tells him that she wants to become an investigator and he agrees to send her training for the job. 

The credits reveal the identity of the woman in the first scene, and in turn spoils a plot point in the story. She is somehow connected to the death of Owen Quine, although the reason wasn’t exactly at play yet. The first part is an introduction to the characters involved, and the presence of the manuscript all give them motive for doing the crime. However, since Strike wasn’t convinced that Leonora Quine had anything to do with it, none of the suspects are off the hook.

The Silkworm will only have two parts since most of the character history has been divulged in the previous episodes. I have read the book, and this is the one which I remember the least. Since the first part is the set up of events, all the exciting, mystery solving parts will be in the second episode. Tom Burke is still okay; I think I will just have to get used to him. Holliday Grainger is brightening up the screen, although she really doesn't do much. I am excited for the third book, Career of Evil, as she's more involved in there. 

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