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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.
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  • 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.
  • Attempted Rape: Jack drunkenly bites Tish and seems about to rape her before the other women interrupt him.
  • Bad Boss: Jack is verbally abusive to his entire staff and sexually harasses several of the women.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Anna and Max's daughter Tamsin is extremely aggressive and a heavy drinker to boot. And a murderer.
  • 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.
  • Five-Man Band: The main women.
    • The Leader: Anna, the protagonist.
    • The Lancer: Louie, Jack's aunt and the only person with family loyalty to the brewery, but also the one with the most secrets.
    • The Big Guy: The hotheaded and more aggressive Butch Lesbian Cat.
    • The Smart Guy: Nancy, who gets the idea of what to do with Lou's stolen equipment and is also the blackmailer.
    • The Cutie: Tish, the young and vulnerable one who was attacked by Jack and is protected by Cat.
  • Hates Their Parent: Jack hates Arwel.
  • 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.
  • 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 masculine Cat enters a relationship with feminine 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.
  • 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.
  • Out, Damned Spot!: Several allusions are made to this with Anna early on. Played with; even though she's plagued with guilt, she's not actually the killer.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.