The latest season of the ITV detective series has focused on two cases – one being the disappearance of teenage girl Tania Mils in the 1990s.
In the finale, her body was found in a memorial garden, and DS Sarah Collins (Whelan) learned about music teacher Adrian Stephenson's (Tristan Sturrock) abuse of Tania.
After arresting him on suspicion of her murder, his ex-wife Abigail Levy (Rebecca Calder) is questioned. Sarah and DC Elaine Lucas (Ella Smith) deduce that she was likely his first victim given she met Adrian when she was in his youth orchestra.
Sarah and Elaine also learn that Stephenson raped Tania's friend Katherine Herringham (Rosalie Craig) on the day of Tania's disappearance, and it later emerges that Abigail pushed Tania down the stairs in the apartment when she realised her husband was abusing her.
Over the years, Abigail had been under the impression that she had killed Tania, though it is revealed that Adrian actually ended up strangling her afterwards – meaning he was the murderer all along.
"I thought there were enough twists already, and then the final twist was like, 'Oh, this is brilliant, and so believable,'" Whelan told the Radio Times.
"Sometimes people sort of use twists in order to be interesting and it's not believable, but this is a twist that's so interesting, and also so believable. It's so rooted in the character's truth and what they might do.
"This poor woman has been living with the belief for the past 20 years that she was responsible for this poor girl's death. It was just so exciting to read that twist and then to twist it further… to be part of that storytelling is just lovely."
Whelan said of Stephenson getting justice in the end: "I suppose it's really representative of the false idea that a man can be infallible and untouchable, that they're so powerful and so well respected.
"As a viewer, you watch that scene and go, 'I love that you think you're untouchable and you're not, you're going down.' But that he still believes that – it's just a brilliant representation of people's twisted ideas of what their own truth is and what they believe their standing in the community is. It’s exciting to see that represented as well."
The finale also wrapped up the present-day storyline of the shocking killing of Georgina Teel (Rosa Coduri) by partner Mark Brannon (Charley Palmer Rothwell).
The storyline concluded with Mark tracking PC Lizzie Adama (Tahirah Sharif), though Lizzie and Sarah eventually take him down.
Speaking further about the series and the overarching theme of season two, Whelan said: "It's great to be part of that representation of these stories about women and the crimes against women.
"Over lockdown, the terrible domestic violence that was far more front and centre, even though we know it goes on. The movement is slow and there's much to do, but it's nice to be seen to represent that somehow."
The Tower airs on ITV.
If you've been affected by the issues raised in this story, you can access more information from Rape Crisis England and Wales, who work towards the elimination of all forms of sexual violence and sexual misconduct, on their website or by calling the National Rape Crisis Helpline on 0808 802 9999. Rape Crisis Scotland's helpline number is 08088 01 03 02.
Readers in the US are encouraged to contact RAINN, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline on 800-656-4673.
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