If you don’t want any spoilers for the first episode of Cheat, stop reading this article right now.
The opening moments of Cheat put student Rose (Molly Windsor) opposite her lecturer Leah (Katherine Kelly) in what looks to be some kind of prison facility. It seems that it’s Leah who’s being held and a murder is teased throughout the episode.
How did the two women end up in this situation? Let’s unpack episode 1 of Cheat and find out (or at least put together what we know so far). Leah is a sociology lecturer at a university and she’s hoping to secure a permanent position there. She and her fiancé Adam (Tom Goodman-Hill) are trying for a baby, although it seems that Adam’s more into it than Leah is. To complicate matters further, there are issues with Adam’s fertility meaning the couple may not be able to conceive and Leah starts to take sleeping pills again, even though they will make getting pregnant even harder.
At work Leah suspects that sulky student Rose has submitted an essay that she didn’t write. She confronts her about it but Rose isn’t willing to admit to anything or provide any kind of explanation. Frustrated, Leah decides to change Rose’s mark to a fail in a bid to get to the bottom of what’s going on.
That decision sparks off a chain of events that Leah couldn’t see coming and Rose is sent down what looks to be a dark and dangerous path. It’s hinted at (very strongly) that Rose is a bit obsessed with Leah and when she finds out about her grade, Rose threatens to use the knowledge that she caught Leah masturbating in the university toilets (on another note, that scene suggests Leah may have wandering eyes when it comes to one of her colleagues!).
The two women spend much of the episode dancing around one another. Rose tries to claim that Leah has something against her and Leah retaliates by humiliating Rose in class. Rose doesn’t hold back when it comes to speaking her mind, suggesting that the only reason Leah has a job is because of her father, who also used to lecture at the university. Speaking of nepotism, it turns out Rose’s father paid for the university’s extension so Leah taking her to task for suspected cheating is likely not going to end well.
Frustrated, Leah asks Adam to check Rose’s work to get his opinion and Rose strings along university worker Ben (Burn Gorman) so she can find out where Leah lives. During a heavy rain storm, and when she knows Leah will definitely be out, Rose turns up on her lecturer’s doorstep and charms her way past Adam and into the house. He offers her a cup of tea and she asks for a whiskey, which he gives her. Rose makes up some nonsense about being asked to drop her essay notes off and when the smoke alarm in the kitchen goes off, Rose appears to take something from the house before making a quick exit.
The next morning Leah finds out that Rose came over, causing her to get angry. The situation worsens later in the day when the cat goes missing, only to be found dead at the side of the road and missing its collar. Adam believes it was an accident but Leah suspects that Rose had something to do with it.
At the university the next morning, Leah decides to change tack with Rose and apologises for embarrassing her in class. When she discloses that her cat was killed the night before, Rose says, ‘poor Betsy’, confirming to Leah that her wayward student was involved as she’d suspected.
The end of the episode cut to the two women in the facility once again with Rose asking Leah if she felt guilty about what she’d done.
So who ended up in that body bag? It was Leah’s fiancé Adam. How did he get there? We’ll have to keep watching to find out!
Cheat continues tomorrow at 9pm on ITV.