The second season of Departure is a train wreck – well, maybe not literally. But where the first season focused on the mysterious crash of an airliner somewhere in the Atlantic, this season begins with a much more down to earth disaster. Where there’s mangled wreckage and lives lost, you’ll find Kendra Malley and her team, looking for the truth… which is always a lot more complicated than it first seems. There’s a lot to take in over the six episodes; here’s our guide to the main players.
Howard Lawson (Christopher Plummer)
When the high-speed train Apollo derails on a journey from Toronto to Chicago, it ends up crashing into a petrol tanker and killing seventy-two people, including the train driver. It’s a disaster, and not just because of the loss of life. If it was driver error, that’s one thing; if it was a software fault, it could end up costing the company involved billions. Last season Lawson was the Transportation Safety Investigations Bureau Chief; he’s come down in the world since then (which is why Plummer, here in his final on-screen role, filmed all his scenes at his home talking on the phone), but he still knows which strings to pull to get the right person on the case.
Kendra Malley (Archie Panjabi)
Lawson’s one-time protégé is the best in the business, which is why the UK-based crash investigator is helping the US National Transportation Safety Board figure out exactly what went wrong. In the first season, she juggled family strife with investigating a plane crash and slowly building a (flirtatious) relationship with Scotland Yard detective Dom (Kris Holden-Ried); this season the determined investigator is seemingly leaving all that behind to focus firmly on her job.
But while she’s putting together a new team this season, that doesn’t mean all the old crew are out of the picture, so don’t rule Dom out just yet. And while her troubled son from last season remains in the UK, Malley finds herself bonding with Lucas (Etienne Kellici), a young survivor whose mother died in the crash.
Theo (Mark Rendall) and Charlotte (Kelly McCormack)
Theo is Malley’s assistant from season 1; Charlotte is new to the team. They’re both professionals, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a bit of a spark between the pair (fans of dorky romance, this is the couple to keep your eye on). More importantly, both of them provide vital investigative muscle as Malley starts to dig into what’s going on. And there’s a lot to dig into.
One of the designers of the train’s software died in the crash, only it turns out his death happened slightly before the train went off the rails. The train’s black box recorder (seems trains really do have them) reveals the driver’s death is more complicated than it initially seemed. Add in that the company behind the train’s software is being a lot less helpful than they first offered to be, and suddenly the suspect list is getting a whole lot longer.
Ellen Hunter (Karen LeBlanc)
While Malley has her people, it’s strong-willed FBI agent Hunter (Karen LeBlanc) who becomes her main partner in this investigation – after the traditional bumpy start, of course. Ellen is just as focused on finding out why the train crashed, but there’s a twist on her side of the case: there was a high-value FBI witness travelling on the train who survived the crash and now he’s missing. To make her job even more difficult, there’s a local politician (Diana Bright) using the crash as an opportunity to make big speeches about the evils of technology and whipping people into a panic at the news that there’s a fugitive on the run.
Max (Jason O’Mara)
Max is a former Mexican-cartel book-keeper. He was on the train to Chicago to give evidence to the FBI against his crime family. He survived the crash and now he’s on the run – and he’s not keen on turning himself in, as he suspects that either the cartel turned the train into a murder weapon or the FBI decided he was more useful to them dead. Maybe he’s just paranoid, but if Hunter wants him and what he knows about the cartel and the crash, she’s going to have to find him.
Sheriff McCullogh (Donal Logue)
Hey, isn’t the local Sheriff – who seems to have nothing to do with the crash – played by Donal Logue, an actor you’ll recognise from any number of movies and TV series (he was even King Horik on Vikings) over the last 20 years? No spoilers, but maybe keep an eye on him just in case.
Departure seasons 1 & 2 are now streaming at SBS On Demand. Start at the beginning:
Jump to season 2:
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