Over a decade since Top Boy first aired in the UK, and Dushane and Sully (Ashley Walters and Kane Robinson) started running the Summerhouse estate, Ronan Bennett’s series has come to a close with its fifth season — the third of the reboot produced for Netflix by Adel “Future” Nur and Drake. So much has happened, so many loved and lost, and we’re finally at the close.
As the characters reel from Season 4’s shocking ending, characters attempt to maintain a sense of control in the final season, especially when a rival Irish gang arrives to threaten territory. With superb performances — including an outstanding turn by Jasmine Jobson — and all possibilities on the table, Top Boy Season 5 leaves no loose ends, for better or worse, for the characters we’ve lived with for 12 years.
Actions have consequences and the characters will truly feel it this season. But the one thing Top Boy wants you to remember at the end of all things? Everyone’s got family.
Top Boy star Saffron Hocking has said that the impact her domestic abuse storyline has had on survivors worldwide means “more” than any “accolade”.
The actor, 29, was nominated for the Bafta for Best Supporting Actress for her role of Lauryn Lawrence in Netflix’s drama series.
In the previous season of the show, Lauryn was being coercively controlled by her partner and his sister.
Speaking ahead of the arrival of Top Boy season five – the third to air on Netflix after the show was picked up from Channel 4 – Hocking said that the storyline had given her “that weight of responsibility for the first time in my acting career”.
“It’s an incredible storyline to have as an actor – something to sink your teeth into,” she told Cosmopolitan UK. “Then the fear: I cannot get this wrong.”
One thing to know, if you haven’t seen previous seasons of Top Boy, is that dropping into the final season will be tough to follow and frankly, not nearly as rewarding a watch. So at the very least, watch Seasons 3 and 4 first, and Seasons 1 and 2 for deeper context. It’s slightly confusing, as Seasons 1 and 2 are now titled Top Boy: Summerhouse on Netflix, while 3, 4, and 5 are simply Top Boy, so we’re numbering for the overall total of seasons here.
Set in and around the fictional East London public housing estate Summerhouse and the Hackney borough, Top Boy is centred around protagonists, anti-heroes, and London drug dealers Dushane and Sully (Walters and Robinson), and their allies, enemies, family, and friends. While Season 4 took things all the way to Spain and back, for the final season, the Summerhouse estate is front and centre, with filming taking place at the Samuda Estate located in London’s Isle of Dogs (the original, Elephant and Castle’s Heygate Estate, was demolished in 2014).
The final series will introduce us to Jonny, a prominent member of an Irish gang with plenty of swagger and even more menace. He’ll assuredly insert himself into the Summerhouse gang, taking control of their drug supply by “dealing with” the Moroccan gang they’d been working with last series, and trying to strongarm Sully into going into business with him.
Top Boy is a U.K. crime drama, set in East London (my neck of the woods). It’s a gritty and realistic story about two drug dealers making their way up from low/mid level “shotters” to “Top Boys”. Most of the prominent roles are played by some of the best rappers in the UK’s Grime music scene. You wouldn’t know this isn’t their day job – these people can act. Sully (played by Kane Robinson (Kano)) is the muscle, and as the season progresses has various falling outs with business partner Dushane (Ashley Waters).
Dushane is a ruthless mofo, but Sully wrestles mentally with things they have to do along the way, and aspects of his own upbringing. Although it’s a hard watch most of the time, Kane Robinson plays him so well, you are at times sympathetic to his character. He really is a product of his environment, and for my money Kano can give some of the best nonverbal acting performances you’ll ever see on a TV screen. The pain etched on his face is palpable.
Dushane meets with his lawyer’s contact at the estate, but lacking both money and his passport, the contact leaves, telling him to text him when he has both.
Sully tells Kieron that he knows he lied to him about being aware of Jaq’s actions – he is dragged away into a van and we don’t see him again. It is assumed that Kieron was killed.
Shelley brings Dushane his passport and an envelope full of cash – it doesn’t look like nearly enough to cover his escape fee. The pair have a heart to heart and Shelley tells Dushane that she loves him but she will always come second to his love of money and power.
Jaq arranges to meet with Sully at the estate to hand him back the drugs she stole, and Dushane tells her he will be at the meet to make sure things go smoothly.