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In Plain Sight

  • Episode: 

    3 of 3

  • Transmission (TX): 

    Wed 21 Dec 2016
  • TX Confirmed: 

  • Time: 

    9.00pm - 10.00pm
  • Week: 

    Week 51 2016 : Sat 17 Dec - Fri 23 Dec
  • Channel: 

  • Status: 

    Last in series
The information contained herein is embargoed from press use, commercial and non-commercial reproduction and sharing into the public domain until Saturday 3 December 2016.
Series overview
In Plain Sight is a new three-part mini-series based on the true story of Lanarkshire detective William Muncie’s quest to bring to justice notorious Scottish killer Peter Manuel. 
Douglas Henshall (Collision, Shetland) takes the role of William Muncie whilst Peter Manuel is played by Martin Compston (Line of Duty).
Muncie first arrested Manuel in 1946 for housebreaking, but also successfully convicted him for a string of sexual assaults. Manuel vowed revenge. 
Released from prison in 1955, Manuel embarked on a two-year killing spree, claiming eight lives in the close-knit communities of South Lanarkshire. 
Manuel evaded capture for so long because he was unlike anything the local police had ever encountered: A murderer without any discernible motive whose victims were chosen at random. Muncie was the one man who had Manuel’s measure and doggedly refused to give up until Manuel was brought to justice.
Episode 3
Manuel has a typed sheet of all the places he has been since the reported disappearance of Isabelle Cooke; Muncie has to release him without charge. Without a body there’s no arresting him. A search operation is organised with local volunteers scouring the countryside in search of the missing girl. Muncie has no doubt she is dead. Eventually the girl’s coat is discovered and identified by Isabelle’s distraught mother.
Two days later, in the early hours of New Year’s morning the Smart family, Peter Doris and 12-year-old Michael are all shot dead in their beds.
Peter Manuel drives their stolen car to the River Clyde where he disposes of the gun and en route picks up a policeman heading to a muster point for the continuing search for the missing, now presumed dead, girl. 
It is not until 6 January that the bodies of the Smarts are discovered because the family had been going away for a short holiday and had not been missed. 
Muncie puts Manuel under 24 watch and enlists the help of an ex-con, Joe Brannon to be the ears of the surveillance. Peter Manuel is being very chatty at the moment, pumped up and full of himself. 
Meanwhile, families are sending wives and daughters away; shops are cleaned out of padlocks and deadbolts. People are sleeping with knives by their beds. It is an entire community in terror of their lives. 
Finally Muncie has a break through. He remembers looking through Peter’s Smart’s wallet at the crime scene and being heartbroken at the sight of the family photographs kept in it. Now he remembers the wallet was empty – no cash at all. Finally Manuel has made a mistake. Muncie speaks to Brannon who confirms that while Manuel had been hard up on Hogmanay, by New Year’s Day he was spending cash everywhere buying rounds for everyone and all with brand new one pound notes. 
Muncie goes to Peter Smart’s bank and is told that he withdrew £15 in new one-pound notes on New Year’s Eve. He sends his team of officers to the pubs and clubs Manuel visited on New Year’s Day to find the ones that matched the number on the Smart notes.
They finally arrest Manuel and when Muncie questions him he tells him they have also arrested his father Samuel as an accessory to murder. This touches a spot with Peter who immediately offers to make a full confession if they release his father and says he will take them to where he buried Isabelle Cooke.
Finally the man they called the Beast of Birkenshaw was imprisoned 2 years after he began a killing spree, which left 8 people dead, and a community traumatised. 
He was hanged in July 1958. 
Detective William Muncie went on to investigate over 50 murders and solved every one of them.