What Did Niamh Cassidy Steal From Frank McDonnell in The Tourist, Explained

In its second season, Netflix’s ‘The Tourist’ throws Jamie Dornan’s Elliot Stanley into a web of secrets marred with violence when he goes home to Ireland in search of the truth about his origins. On the first day itself, he lands in the violent war between the McDonnells and the Cassidys, who have been at each other’s throats for a very long time. One of the things that has been a point of contention between the McDonnells and the Cassidys is the claim made by Frank McDonnell that Niamh Cassidy stole something from him. The thing is mentioned time and again throughout the season, but it is only in the end that the truth about it comes out. SPOILERS AHEAD

Niamh Stole Something that Revealed Secrets of the McDonnell Family

When Frank McDonnell’s father was on his deathbed in America, he sent something home to his son in Ireland. He didn’t reveal what it was but told Frank that it was very important he had that. The plane that carried that thing crashed and sank off the coast of Ireland, taking his father’s gift with it. Frank thought it might have something to do with the money his father had been hiding away or anything else that would help him strengthen the stronghold of the McDonnell crime family. He was not alone in this belief. Everyone, including the Cassidys, thought the same.

When the McDonnells couldn’t settle on who would pay for the divers and what would happen to the gift, Frank decided to take action on his own. He hired a diver named Elliot Stanley and paid him to retrieve his father’s final gift from the bottom of the ocean. Stanley was assisted in this task by a woman, who turned on him at the last moment and left him for dead at the bottom of the ocean while leaving with the gift.

This woman was Niamh Cassidy, who was probably sent to retrieve the thing because the Cassidys, too, were curious about what it might have. When Niamh opened the suitcase containing the thing, she found something that changed her world and would have threatened the current order between the McDonnells and the Cassidys. She could have destroyed the thing, but she didn’t. Instead, she dug a hole in the middle of nowhere and buried the thing there. It wasn’t until 42 years had passed that Frank’s father’s secret came to light.

The McDonnells and the Cassidys were each other’s sworn enemies, or at least, they were supposed to be. Niamh’s mother fell in love with Frank’s father, a relationship they kept secret because they knew what horror it would entail for both of them and the bloodshed it could cause. They exchanged letters with each other throughout their lifetime. In the end, when Frank’s father was on his deathbed, he decided to give the letters to Frank, hoping that it might push him to rally for peace with the Cassidys. He wanted this especially because he knew that the power would pass down from him to Frank, and in the Cassidys, Niamh would take over. Considering that Niamh was his daughter, Frank’s father didn’t want his children to kill each other over an animosity that had gone on for far too long.

When Niamh found the letters, she was shocked and appalled. She could take the letters to Frank, and perhaps, they could accept each other and finally lay the foundation for peace. But she knew that the other Cassidys would hate her for it. She also knew that if her mother’s secret came out, her own family would see her as one of the McDonnells and, hence, turn her into an enemy. Ironically, her son’s son eventually finds himself in a similar set of circumstances, leading to the letters being made common knowledge.

Image Credit: BBC/Two Brothers/Steffan Hill

Niamh could have destroyed the letters, but those were written by her mother and held sentimental value for her. She knew she couldn’t let anyone have them for her own safety, so she decided to bury them. Though everyone suspected, and pretty much knew for sure, that Niamh killed Stanley and stole the thing Frank’s father had sent for him, she always denied her involvement. She was ready to take the secret to her grave, even refusing to tell her son about the letters.

When Niamh did all this, she didn’t expect someone like Helen Chambers to walk in and dig for the truth until she found it. Helen tracked down Stanley’s wife, who gave her a hint about the taxi service Niamh had used. From this, Helen found the receipt and located the pick-up and drop-off point for Niamh all those years ago. Had the taxi company’s owner not been a meticulous record keeper, it would have been impossible for Helen to get to the bottom of the truth. But luck was in her favor, and she found the letters just in time to stop the McDonnells and Cassidys from shooting each other to death.

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