Vigil season 1 episode 1 recap

DCI Amy Silva board HMS Vigil in the middle of the ocean (Image credit: BBC)

Vigil season 1 begins in explosive fashion and the conspiracy thriller from the makers of Line of Duty and Bodyguard sets our pulses racing. It's well worth watching the first season of Vigil before starting on Vigil season 2. Here's how the first episode played out...

The Scottish fishing trawler was dragged under the water in a terrifying opening sequence, leaving its crew members adrift in the water and in urgent need of help. Aboard HMS Vigil, Craig Burke saw the trawler sinking on the submarine's sonar, but was unable to see what caused the tragedy on his screens. 

Despite Burke protests, Captain Newsome refused to to intervene and sent the sonar man back to his quarters to cool off, where he was found dead of an apparent drug overdose just hours later. Does Newsome know what happened to the Mhairi Finnea and if so, why was he so unwilling to help? 

Who has ordered DCI Silva's investigation? 

As the death occurred in British territorial waters, DCI Amy Silva (Suranne Jones) was summoned to Navy command and asked to investigate. The UK’s nuclear deterrent must remain unbroken, so the submarine stayed on patrol and DCI Silva boarded the vessel to complete her investigation in three days. Navy boss Shaw says he's called DCI Silva in because "he has his orders", but who has ordered him to do this and why? 

The detective is able to receive messages while on board, but not send them as it might give away the submarine's position to enemies, so she chose her colleague DS Kirsten Longacre (Rose Leslie) to run a parallel investigation, as they share an understanding. 

DS Longacre drove her to Dunloch, where a helicopter took her to board the submarine, yet on the way, the pair were stopped by anti-nuclear weapons campaigners, including Jade Antionak. But what does Jade know about HMS Trident's mission? 

How did Craig Burke really die? 

HMS Vigil's coxswain Elliot Glover welcomed DCI Silva aboard and she immediately performed a rudimentary autopsy on Martin Burke's body. She suspects Burke didn't die of a drug overdose and reveals she has discovered a head injury on his body to Captain Newsome, Lt Commander Prentice and Glover. 

DCI Silva urges Newsome to return to port so a murder enquiry can begin, but he refuses saying the vessel's mission is too important and he can't leave Britain without the protection of a nuclear deterrent. 

After being shown to her own quarters, DCI Silva climbed into her bunk and began to feel the anxiety of a troubling memory, in which her car plunged into deep water, returning. What is this memory and it is connected to her relationship with DCI Longacre, which seems to have ended on a sour note despite the pair's obvious feelings for one another?

Later on the ship's doctor, Tiffany Doherty, discovered Amy using anti-anxiety medication, but allowed her to keep her pills. Yet how will the detective survive three days underwater and will the crew cooperate with her investigation? 

What does Jade Antionak know? 

DS Kirsten Longacre talked to Jade Antionak, who was arrested for trespassing on a Navy base and trying to get into Craig Burke's room. Jade confessed the pair were in a relationship, however she was shocked to hear her boyfriend died of an overdose, claiming he wasn't a drug user. Jade is then picked up by someone in a black car, but who does it belong to? 

Meanwhile back on HMS Vigil, Amy discovers blood spatters on the missile deck and discovers Burke was last seen alive by Chief Engineering Officer, Simon Hadlow. She interviews Hadlow, but he seems completely unwilling to cooperate with her investigation, leading Amy to clash with Newsome once again... 

What secrets did Craig Burke know? 

DS Longacre heads to Dunloch to send Amy a message with more information about the missing Scottish trawler, wondering if it could be connected to Burke's death. She then searched Burke's room on the base and discovers a USB stick hidden inside a chair leg. It contained videos in which Burke promises to reveal the truth about HMS Vigil, but what is the ship's dark secret? 

Branning tries to stop DS Longacre from leaving the base, will she escape with a crucial piece of evidence that could reveal some of the Navy's darkest secrets?

Meanwhile back on HMS Vigil when Amy confronted Newsome about the missing trawler, he revealed his fears about the boat being dragged under by an enemy submarine that had somehow managed to track his vessel and outlines the danger to Britain's national security if that was the case. As the episode ends, HMS Vigil is plunged into an emergency Gary Walsh is injured when the vessel's reactor malfunctions, leaving the submarine down another crew member and without power... 

Sean Marland

Sean is a Senior Feature writer for TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week, who also writes for He's been covering the world of TV for over 15 years and in that time he's been lucky enough to interview stars like Ian McKellen, Tom Hardy and Kate Winslet. His favourite shows are I'm Alan Partridge, The Wire, People Just Do Nothing and Succession and in his spare time he enjoys drinking tea, doing crosswords and watching football.