Bodyguard ending explained - everything you need to know if you're watching on Netflix

An image from the Bodyguard ending

Everyone’s still talking about the Bodyguard ending even though the hit BBC thriller finished airing in the UK last month, but US viewers who have been wondering how to watch the Bodyguard TV series can finally get in on the action, now that the first season has hit Netflix. That, alongside the fact that Bodyguard season 2 is looking increasingly likely, makes it all the more pertinent to consider the implications left by the Bodyguard ending, including the questions we have after watching that unbelievable finale. 

There’s major spoilers for Bodyguard in the following breakdown (and, trust me, you don’t want this show spoiled for you), so go and binge to your heart’s content before coming back here to make head or tail of that amazing, heart-pounding final episode. Done that? Good, here’s 7 of the biggest questions we have after watching the Bodyguard ending.

1. What was ACTUALLY on the kompromat?

Bodyguard TV series

The show never makes this explicit, just showing us glimpses of what Julia Montague read on the device handed to her by the Secret Service. We know that the dossier contained private information on a high-ranking individual, who was prone to alcohol and drug abuse, and has been violent with women. Given the context of the whole season, it’s implied that the Prime Minister was the subject of the kompromat dossier (it was him giving a press statement at the end of episode 6), and that Julia used it to pressure him to resign so that she could make a bid for PM. She was allied with the Secret Service in this plot, who stood to benefit from the increased powers of surveillance and personal data invasion they’d gain when she passed the RIPA 2018 bill. With the PM out of the way, Julia would be free to pass it. The Secret Service wanted the bill to pass to allow them to shut down the organised crime syndicate run by Luke Aitken. Yeah, he’s the mob boss who put the bomb vest on David Budd in episode 6. It’s possible that the PM wasn’t the subject of the dossier - it could have been someone in his family, or a close ally, but either way it was being used as leverage to get the RIPA bill passed. When Julia died… the Secret Service needed to recover that document fast, in order to get back their leverage on the PM.

2. Why did Craddock - Budd’s boss - betray the police?

This is probably the weakest part of the whole show. The ‘insider’ who had been supplying information to the organised crime syndicate was… Craddock, David Budd’s boss. We were meant to think Ann Sampson - the head of the Counter Terrorism Unit - was the insider all along, but Budd finds Aitken meeting with Craddock where the pair are arrested. When questioned about it she just accepts responsibility for leaking Julia Montague’s schedule to the mob, and explained that they ‘found a way round security’ to plant the bomb. How they ACTUALLY did this is really unclear. It’s possible an agent from the mob could’ve used her schedule to plant a device but it doesn’t explain how they fooled all the police searches. And why did Craddock do it? Was it for money? Did they have sensitive information on her? There’s no real explanation given for why she’d essentially hand over information that would, inevitably, lead to the death of a high-profile public figure. It’s bizarre. And yes, when she appointed Budd to be the Home Secretary’s PPO that did make him the perfect fall-guy but… why? 

3. How did Nadia fool the police for so long?

So, Nadia was the master bomb maker all along? Did you figure this one out after her rather strange interview with David Budd in episode 4? I knew there was something odd about that exchange, but this twist came as a genuine surprise. There isn’t much to unwrap here in terms of the plot: she used her innocent, frightened wife persona to escape liability for the attempted bombing on the train, and then allied with Luke Aitken to go after a bigger target (or two). Although it’s pretty thin, she did know how to target David Budd’s kids at the school (I guess you could, at a push, piece it all together based on the info she gathered) but… it seems odd that she’d risk discovery to enact personal revenge, even if it would have been devastating if she’d succeeded. And how did she come to form an alliance with Aitken? Maybe she was recruited by Chanel Dyson? It’s never properly explained. Her role as the master bomber is a nice twist, but it comes at the expense of a big leap of faith from the viewer.

4. Who was Richard Longcross?

Fairly simple, this one, but the show doesn’t explain it. Longcross was the Secret Service agent in charge of instigating the coup against the Prime Minister and getting the RIPA bill passed. Following that, he was on clean-up duty, attempting to retrieve the device and remove any loose ends. He wasn’t the bomb maker, and he didn’t actually have any part in the death of Julia. Was he looking to frame Budd? Actually, no - he just wanted to make like as possible for our hero so that he could get that kompromat back.

5. How dirty is Mike Travis?

This one is a biggie, and possibly the most significant unanswered question in Bodyguard. It’s unclear how deep Travis’ involvement in Julia’s death goes. It’s clear he was involved in the political plot to discredit her, by feeding her incorrect data during her speech at St Mary’s College. And during the final episode it’s clear that he also knew about the contents of the kompromat (or at least the intent behind it), as he chats to Head of Secret Service Stephen Hunter-Dunn about how convenient it would be if Budd took the fall for everything and got blown up by the suicide vest. But did he know about the bombing that killed Julia? 

This really is a knotty one. Given that he’s portrayed as an opportunist politician, it’s very possible he knew nothing about the bombing but he wanted David Budd to take the fall so that all the political mess went away. As he notes: there would be no need to dig deeper than David Budd, no conspiracy, if everyone believed he was responsible for Julia’s death. At the end of episode 6 he’s answering tough questions from the media, but it does look like he’s gotten away with his scheming. The political plot to discredit Julia Montague was never made public, and if that’s all he was part of, it makes sense that Ann Sampson - who leaked the kompromat to the press, and oversaw the arrest of Nadia, Aitken, and Craddock - would just let that lie. Surely if Travis was involved in the actual bombing he’d be dragged into the investigation. However, I have to ask myself… could someone be that heartless? To let an innocent man die in order to further a political career? It does make you think that he somehow knew about the death of Julia ahead of time, and that he was trying to cover his involvement in a murder that had already happened. Either way, he’s a shit-weasel, and is the only villain who seems to get away with it all.

6. What did the blank bullets actually prove?

Hmm, well, as evidence they’re a bit circumstantial. David Budd seems to think that they explain the fact the mob were trying to frame him, but that’s a massive stretch. Sure, they could point to someone breaking into his flat and changing the bullets, and yes, there may be trace DNA on the bullets that would implicate one of Aitkens’ men but… wow, it’s a bit of a stretch. They corroborate plenty of aspects of David Budd’s story, sure, but they’re far from real evidence because he could just as easily have stashed them in his flat himself having bought them from Aitken. Yes, they implicate the mob, but don’t prove his innocence without supporting evidence. Perhaps all Budd needed was to buy time so he could track down ‘the police insider’ and Aitken himself but they seem to be given way more weight in the finale than they actually merit.

7. What’s next for David Budd? And will we get a Bodyguard season 2?

Ah, now this is a good question. Where does our hero go now? Having saved the day, started therapy, and brokered a reconciliation with his wife, things are looking pretty good for David Budd. But he seems to be in the fragile early stages of putting his life back together, and could easily be drawn back into a dark conspiracy and even darker marriage, should the writers require that for season 2. Show creator Jed Mercurio has stated that he’d love to do a sequel, based on whether or not there’s appetite for it at the BBC, so it seems highly likely that we’ll see a second outing for Bodyguard. Speaking to The Sun he hinted that “we would probably approach any thoughts of a second series with the idea that it would create an opportunity for a third or fourth”.

What might happen? Well, expect a whole new story - I think we’re done with the death of Julia Montague, although some of the key players will undoubtedly be back. It’s possible Travis could be back as a scheming political baddo, but we’ll more likely see a fresh start for Budd. Will we see a personal attack against him, resulting in the loss or break-up of his family again? The law of happy endings in TV shows like this suggest that Budd will be broken down early in season 2, with some kind of personal tragedy. Will he be back as a PPO? Surely so (the show is literally called Bodyguard), although expect him to have a new boss. Perhaps he’ll be working directly for Sampson, although that may mean his job has changed somewhat. Either way, I can’t wait to see what happens.

Looking for your next big binge? Check out the best new TV shows still to come this year.

Andy Hartup