Based on the 2012 novel by Hideo Yokoyama, ITV’s newest crime drama series, “Six Four,” is yet another girl-gone-missing crime show that explores the life of a Scottish police detective out on a quest to find answers about his daughter’s disappearance. It fuses elements of familial tension with revenge motifs and a political murder mystery, developing an elaborate whodunit narrative about finding the hard truths in every crooked corner of the justice system. Ideologies mingle and clash with each other as the plot takes shape within the setting of a country that is in the middle of its struggle for freedom.
‘Six Four’ Story Recap: Season 1: Disappearance, Conspiracy, And Political Tension
It is evident from the plot that the series has subtle political undertones stitched into the narrative, from the discovery of the disappearance and subsequent murder of a schoolgirl, Julie Mackie, to the subplot of the ongoing freedom struggle of Scotland against the British Government. It all begins when a teenage girl, Olivia O’Neill, mysteriously disappears from her home, leaving her parents, Chris and Michelle ONeill, devastated. They leave no stone unturned in their search for her.
Chris, a detective constable with the Scottish Police Service, follows up leads in Glasgow while his wife Michelle, a former undercover agent, travels to London to revisit old acquaintances from her past life to unearth any clue about their daughter’s whereabouts. During his inquiries, Chris is approached by a journalist, Sam, who tells him about the case of a similar missing girl, Julie Mackie, who was kidnapped and later found murdered. She also claims that Chris’ brother, Phillip, who is an Assistant Chief Constable of Police, was directly involved in the cover-up. Chris pays a visit to Jim Mackie, the father of Julie Mackie, an old and broken man desperate to seek justice for his daughter, who claims that there were insidious political motives behind her death and that the ‘security services’ had everything to do with the cover-up of the incident. Before booting him out for being a policeman, Jim tells Chris that he was targeted by the authorities for knowing the dark secret behind the mysterious code ‘Six Four,’ but he doesn’t explain what it stands for. Tensions begin to rise as Jim kidnaps Annabel Wallace, the daughter of the Minister of Justice, Robert Wallace, in a desperate attempt to seek justice for his deceased daughter.
The character of Jim Mackey becomes a sort of essential expositional tool in the series, owing to the secrets that he is forced to carry. When his daughter went missing, he received a phone call from a man claiming to be her kidnapper, which was actually a ruse as Julie was already dead. Stephen Bryce, a man hired by ‘unknown’ government sources, was tasked with breaking into the Mackie house and retrieving a ‘document’ from Jim’s safe when no one was around, but as it so happens, Julie was in the house. As she tried to stop him, they got into an altercation that ended with Julie’s death. To avoid discovery, the authorities that had hired Bryce devised a ploy to make it look like a kidnapping, removing Julie’s body from the crime scene, painting Bryce as the kidnapper, and later on, forcing him to confess to her murder.
The plot thickens when it is discovered that a copy of the recording of the kidnapper’s phone call to the Mackies was sent to Robert Wallace, a good friend and apprentice of Jim Mackie at the time and a strong advocate for the Scottish Freedom Movement, to help get Julie back. But Wallace doesn’t commit, and he is later discovered by Jim to be the mysterious agent ‘Six Four,’ a loyalist spy working within the Scottish National Party with the goal of dismantling the Independence Movement and dividing the party from the inside. It is he who had sent Stephen Bryce to the Mackie house to recover a ‘document’ containing all the evidence of his true identity and had orchestrated the cover-up of Julie Mackie’s murder.
“Six Four: Ending
Robert Wallace is the appointed Justice Minister of Scotland, which is kind of ironic as he is at the center of the biggest political conspiracy featured in the show. As is revealed in the show, he was once mentored by Jim Mackie but later betrayed him when Jim became aware of his true identity and started gathering evidence against him—the ‘documents’ that ultimately led to the death of Julie Mackie. They were MI5 emails containing information about the identity and objectives of the secret agent, whose code name was ‘Six Four.’ Having seen the evidence, Jim is convinced of Robert’s involvement in his daughter’s murder and dedicates his life to seeking justice for her. After sixteen years, when Chris approaches him to inquire about his daughter’s disappearance, desperation seeps into Jim’s heart, and he kidnaps Wallace’s daughter in a last-ditch effort to confront him face-to-face.
Although Chris and Michelle are able to rescue Annabel, they are now in possession of the evidence (the recording of the kidnapper’s phone call to the Mackie house and scans of the MI5 emails) of the abysmal conspiracy, which was orchestrated by their own justice department. During their final confrontation, Jim openly accuses Robert of being the agent ‘Six Four,’ which he invariably denies. Jim is killed by a sniper during the confrontation, and Annabel, who is now aware of her father’s dark identity, returns home.
In a curious turn of events, we find that after the incident of Jim’s death and Annabel’s safe return home, Robert Wallace is appointed as the new Deputy First Minister of Scotland, which shifted power to the radical fringe of the Scottish National Party, creating an even deeper fissure within the party than had already existed and hindering the country’s independence even further. Thus, accomplishing the mission of agent ‘Six Four’ to infiltrate the Scottish Freedom Movement. Chris, on the other hand, gives the flash drive containing all the evidence against Wallace to his brother Phillip to get justice for the deceased girl, although Phillip clearly states that there are ‘some things that one must swallow,’ indicating that Wallace would find a way to get acquitted despite all the evidence. But Chris urges him to take action, telling him that he needs to choose a side. The season ends with Chris and Michelle sitting in Olivia’s bedroom, contemplating sorting out their own lives so that their daughter would feel secure enough to return home.