Acute radiation syndrome is what killed Litvinenko, the coroner confirms, at the start of Litvinenko episode 3. Polonium was orally ingested.
Alex calms down Marina after the call. The liaison officers also are proactive and assure her. Jim, Tubs, and another officer, Gadney, go to Moscow. A lady called Campbell is their contact there and she will connect them to the prosecutor’s office. The Russians have not agreed to cooperate but there is a chance to get what they want.
4th December 2006, the Brits reach their hotel. The burners don’t work & the people know who they are. Clive rallies his troops to find the thing in which the Polonium was kept. Without that, the Russians can conjure reasonable doubt & avoid culpability. He puts Brent on the task to go to the Millennium hotel & look at every teapot for traces of Polonium.
The Brits reach the embassy & Campbell introduces them to Nika Privalova from the Prosecutor’s office. in a surprising turn of events, the Russians believe that Kovtun was poisoned by Litvinenko. He is admitted to the hospital & they will be allowed to interrogate him. Lugovoi will also be present at a separate meeting for questions.
The Brits prepare their questions. Clive says it all means nothing if they cannot get it on tape. But as expected the Russians create obstacles. They only want to give an impression of cooperating to save face in the West. Nika says that laws dictate all police interrogations will have to be completed before 10pm. The Russian drivers take them around the city for at least 2 hours and they reach the hospital only at 9 PM. They are then instructed to put on their hazmat suits and Nika also informs them that the tapes for the interview will be provided by the Russians and the bids cannot record the tape themselves.
They will also not have another opportunity to talk to Kovtun. Another surprise awaits them in the hospital room. As the curtains are drawn to reveal Kovtun, we see a man who cannot be identified as him. He is fully covered in bandages. It was like watching HG Wells’ protagonist from The Invisible Man. The interrogation goes torridly & the entire trip now seems meaningless.
There’s a moment of tension when Tubs goes to his room from dinner & vomits. The next morning, Tubs does not answer his phone & Jim goes to check in. It is only food poisoning & he will be okay. Peter informs Clive that the British media is now airing the visit as a murder investigation. This would send the Russians on the defensive & Clive is furious. He cannot even get to Tubs to inform him of this new development.
The Brits reach the spot and Nika says they cannot do it because of the story. Tubs puts his foot down & manages to convince her. They meet Lugovoi who comes in like an innocent man, He is confident & denies any malintent towards Litvinenko. He maintains he is innocent & that the Brits will find it difficult to get the answers they want. They once again go empty-handed.
Their trip is over and Nika hands over the tapes & transcripts amidst flashing cameras & noisy journalists. It was all a show as they vanish after the Brits leave. Another surprise awaits them as the tapes are empty. Tubs is heartbroken & Clive consoles him. Litvinenko’s funeral bookends the episode and also the discovery of the teapot in which the Polonium was given to Litvinenko.
The Episode Review
The aesthetics of Russia and the Brits arriving in the country gave full retro vibes, albeit in a subdued way. It looked like a spy movie and definitely had the atmosphere to hold you in the moment.
The magnificent twists continue to unravel in the Litvinenko case. Until now, the show has lived up to its billing of an unbelievable story that emanated from the intention of governments to protect their interests at the cost of those of an individual. The character of Brent is obviously fictional and we saw the best of him in episode 3.
The battle was fought on both fronts this time, and it seemed like the just cause was well served. The evidence overwhelmingly points towards the complicity of the Russian state and Putin, specifically. But will he be made responsible? That is a question for the finale to answer!