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Series / The Pact

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The Pact is a 2021 British Mini Series that first aired on The BBC.

In an apparently sleepy Welsh town, during a work party, abusive and much-hated brewery boss Jack (Aneurin Barnard) dies, having replaced his beloved (by everyone but him) father Arwel (Eddie Marsan). A group of women who work for him, led by policeman's wife Anna (Laura Fraser), are forced to cover up the circumstances of that night.

Tropes include:

  • Abusive Parents: Arwel and Louie's father attempted to rape her, and went on to sexually abuse Arwel. Louie accuses Arwel of molesting Jack as a result.
  • Actor Allusion: When Max is suggesting dark secrets Anna could find out about the brewery, he comes up with "who's on crystal meth."
  • Affably Evil: Arwel is so damn nice that it's hard to understand why Jack hates him so much. But he's also an abuser.
  • And Your Little Dog, Too!: Jack does this multiple times in a single speech to Tamsin. He tells her he videoed them having sex and he'll spread it around unless she gets an abortion. When she says she doesn't care and she won't get an abortion, he tells her he can't wait to fire her mother...and that he'll use all his money and resources to make their child hate themselves and wish they were dead. These two things push Tamsin over the edge and cause her to kill him.
  • Asshole Victim: Jack, the murder victim, sexually harassed many women, took advantage of a teenage girl, and attempted to rape another woman, plus he was an all around jerkass.
  • Attempted Rape: Jack drunkenly bites Tish and seems about to rape her before the other women interrupt him.
  • The Atoner: Nancy wants to atone for being the blackmailer and taking the money from Anna. She does so by confessing to murder to spare Tamsin from prison.
  • Bad Boss: Jack is verbally abusive to his entire staff and sexually harasses several of the women.
  • Blackmail: The ladies are blackmailed by someone with knowledge of them being with Jack's death before his murder, first demanding 5,000 pounds. It then goes up to 10,000. Nancy, one of their number, turns out to be the culprit. She's covering for her husband's gambling debts, as he's addicted.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Anna and Max's daughter Tamsin is extremely aggressive and a heavy drinker to boot. And a murderer.
  • Butch Lesbian: Cat is a short-haired lesbian with a masculine clothing style and slightly hard-edged personality.
  • But We Used a Condom!: Jack protested that he and Tamsin used protection after she tells him she's pregnant. She just replies that this doesn't always work.
  • The Chain of Harm: Louie and Arwel's father sexually abused Arwel for years. Arwel went on to abuse Jack. Jack took advantage of the teenage Tamsin and got her pregnant, and tried to rape Tish while high. He also says that if Tamsin has his child, he'll ruin its life out of spite and self-hatred. They're so dysfunctional that it makes Louie a Token Good Teammate.
  • Cop/Criminal Family: Anna's husband Max is a police officer, while she's trying to cover up her actions and being blackmailed. Their daughter Tamsin is also Jack's killer.
  • Deadly Prank: Zigzagged. The women drunkenly prank Jack, but then Tamsin comes back and suffocates him.
  • Driven to Suicide: Arwel and Louie's father hanged himself because he couldn't handle the guilt of having molested Arwel. Arwel also commits suicide, after Jack's death.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Anna's reaction when she finds out that Nancy is the blackmailer and stole £5,000 from her.
  • Family Business: The brewery was run by Arwel and Louie's father, inherited by Arwel, then given by Arwel to his own son Jack. It's stated to have been in their family for a hundred years.
  • Family of Choice: The five women, very much so. In the final episode, Nancy refers to them as her family and Louie takes on the brewery specifically for them, as a new family. She's especially shown taking on a surrogate mother role for the orphaned Cat.
  • Five-Finger Discount: Louie is a kleptomaniac, and gets caught trying to steal a sweater.
  • The Gambling Addict: Nancy's husband Richard is one. He started by losing 10,000 pounds on a horse race, and tried to get it back unsuccessfully, while losing increasing amounts of money. All of their bank accounts are empty, he lost their investments and put the couple's cars up as collateral (so they get repossessed). Nancy naturally is angry and fearful about this. Richard also owes a loan shark, who beats him up for late payments. She blackmails her own friends for money anonymously to recoup his losses.
  • Hereditary Suicide: Louie and Arwel's father hanged himself twenty-five years ago, apparently because he couldn't bear the guilt of having abused Arwel when he was younger. Arwel then committed suicide after his own son Jack's murder, either because the grief was too much or because he had also gone on to abuse Jack.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: All the brewery staff make it clear that they think Jack is this to Arwel.
  • Karma Houdini: Tamsin escapes any punishment for killing Jack because Nancy takes the rap for her.
  • Left Hanging: It's left ambiguous whether Tamsin aborted her and Jack's baby.
  • Let the Past Burn: Arwel burns Jack's belongings before the police can go through them.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Tish is a bisexual with long hair who's seen early on wearing a very nice dress when off work. She ends her relationship with her boyfriend and later dates Butch Lesbian Cat.
  • Mama Bear: Anna is so protective of Tamsin that she's about to falsely confess to protect her from prison.
  • Masculine–Feminine Gay Couple: The Butch Lesbian Cat (who has short hair, masculine dress sense, and an Ambiguous Criminal History) enters a relationship with the feminine bisexual Tish.
  • Morning Sickness: Exaggerated. Tamsin is sick at Jack's funeral and the next morning, which seems to be because she's hit the free bar hard. Actually, it's because she's pregnant.
  • My Secret Pregnancy: Tamsin is pregnant with Jack's baby, and initially doesn't tell anyone.
  • No Such Thing as H.R.: The brewery appears to have no HR at all. They might have been useful to sort out Jack's bullying of the entire workforce, groundless firing of several people, sexual harassment of Tish, and rampant drug use at work parties.
  • Not Wanting Kids Is Weird: Louie and Jack are both resolutely childless which is revealed in Louie's case to be because of her and Arwel's abusive father. Jack says he's so certain about never having kids that he'd prefer to drive his and Tamsin's child to suicide.
  • Nuclear Family: Anna and Max, and their two kids, are a nuclear family, which stands in contrast to literally everyone else in the series.
  • Queer Establishing Moment: After an implied attraction has built up between them, Cat kisses Tish in "Episode 3". She apologizes and stops, then Tish says it's fine, kissing her back. Cat is thus shown to be a Butch Lesbian due to her masculine style, and Tish bisexual (she had just broken up with her boyfriend).
  • Rape as Backstory: Arwel was abused by his and Louie's father, which leads her to suspect him of abusing Jack in the same way.
  • Rich Sibling, Poor Sibling: The wealthy Arwel who owns the brewery and has a mansion as one of his multiple houses, and his sister Louie is a kleptomaniac who lives in a tiny flat and can't pay the blackmailers £1,000.
  • Ship Sinking: Nancy has a serious crush on the vicar until she sees him getting overly friendly with a girl at Jack's funeral. Their relationship remains as an Almost Kiss as a result.
  • Sisterhood Eliminates Creep: What the women are going for - they only really "prank" Jack because he tried to rape Tish and they saved her. They weren't expecting Tamsin to kill him.
  • Sticky Fingers: Louie it turns out is one, having stolen new items for years, with many stuffed inside a closet in her house. She's finally caught and arrested for shoplifting, with her friends learning about this. It's made her feel powerful and in control, Louie explains, becoming addictive over time. Unlike in most examples, it's Played for Drama and portrayed pretty realistically.
  • Straight Gay: Ryan turns out to be gay, which isn't obvious as he seems no different from the straight men in the series.
  • Sympathetic Murderer: Tamsin smothered Jack, but only because he said he'd make their baby's life a living hell if she had it, plus her and her family's.
  • Taking the Heat: Nancy confesses to murder to save her goddaughter Tamsin.
  • Token Minority: The lesbian Cat to the main group of women is one sexuality-wise, and the mixed-race Tish is one to the broader all-white cast along with being bisexual too.
  • Token Religious Teammate: Unlike any of the other characters, Nancy is a staunch Christian. She's even more religious than her crush, the town vicar.
  • Tracking Device: Anna installs a tracking app to locate the phone of the person who called her for blackmail, which lets her find out her friend Nancy did it.
  • True Companions: Anna, Louie, Nancy, and Cat. Nancy nearly gets thrown out after the revelation that she's the blackmailer who took thousands from Anna, but redeems herself by confessing for Tamsin.