‘Departure’s Archie Panjabi on That Betrayal: Kendra Won’t ‘Get Over It Easily’

Christopher Plummer Kris Holden Ried Archie Panjabi Departure
Spoiler Alert
Shaftesbury/Greenpoint Productions/Peacock

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 1 of Departure.]

There’s quite the list of people who are guilty when it comes to the passenger plane, Flight 716, that seemingly disappeared (it crashed) and the subsequent moves made in the attempt to cover it up in the first season of Departure.

The U.K. thriller came stateside via the streaming service Peacock Thursday, and as those who have binged the six episodes know, it’s not until close to the end of the finale that investigator Kendra Malley (Archie Panjabi) figures out who’s behind it all. Long story short: There was a glitch in the airline’s in-flight entertainment system that could’ve been dangerously exploited by a hacker, and the company’s CEO (Dougray Scott) refused to ground the planes due to the financial cost to fix it. Her mentor Howard Lawson (Christopher Plummer) was one of those arrested for his part in the group trying to push a cover story — and went after Kendra and her stepson AJ (Alexandre Bourgeois) as a result.

Christopher Plummer Departure Season 1 Howard Lawson

(Ben Mark Holzberg/Shaftesbury/Greenpoint Productions/Peacock)

“She is absolutely devastated when she discovers how [Howard] got involved in things and what he did,” Panjabi told TV Insider, teasing, “That will continue on into the next season. She doesn’t quite get over it easily.” But that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the end of their communication. “Knowing Howard, if they’re going to talk, it’s not going to be because Kendra’s made an effort,” she added. “It would be because he would try to get a hold of her.”

And what Howard did, betraying Kendra, will stay with her. “She doesn’t trust people easily and the one person she could trust implicitly betrayed her,” the star said. Expect her character to have some trust issues moving forward. Even so, there is one thing Kendra is “grateful to Howard” for: bringing her on to this case resulted in her “being a lot more confident at the end and aware of how she’s ready to get back to work,” she added.

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But that wasn’t all when it comes to the investigation. Businessmen Bartok (Sasha Roiz) was behind it all, in order to benefit financially from the fallout. The man (Kristian Bruun) who had sought to expose the glitch in the system lost control when he used his computer to access it on the plane … and it had been one of his friends, who worked for Bartok, who gave it to him before the flight. But when Kendra tried to get that friend to turn on Bartok, he refused, even under the threat of prison because, there, he’d “still be alive.”

That says it all about how worried Kendra should be about going after Bartok. And while Panjabi couldn’t say much about Season 2, she did tease, “I do feel with the right team, Kendra would be able to track him down, although it would be highly dangerous given his power.”

While there wasn’t exactly complete closure on the case, she did get some in her personal life, with the truth about her partner’s accident — he crashed the car on purpose due to his severe depression — revealed to her stepson. Now that AJ knows, “it almost brings them closer [together],” Panjabi said. And without her hand being forced — she didn’t know AJ was watching her through the computer’s webcam — she wouldn’t have opened up on her own, at least not so soon.

Archie Panjabi Departure Kendra Malley

(Stephen Scott/Shaftesbury/Greenpoint Productions/Peacock)

“That’s one of her flaws, that she’s not very good at dealing with things in her personal life,” Panjabi explained. But after witnessing the pain of the plane crash victims’ families, she realized the importance of relationships and truth in them. The case “definitely sped things up” for her familial relationships.

And speaking of relationships, is there potential for hers with new coworker Dominic Hayes (Kris Holden-Ried) to turn romantic? “They respect each other for their work, and I think there is an attraction,” Panjabi allowed. “Because they’re both in the same line of work, they’re both probably a little bit nervous to be involved, but I do think she probably would be ready for something if she could get over the fact they work together.”

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Departure, Streaming, Peacock