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Star Wars



“I got talent on loan from God”



The Sherlock creator writes for Crime Scene





A smart London-set drama with a twist, penned by an award-winning writer. Welcome to your new favourite TV show.

Created & Written by: Abi Morgan Starring: Stellan Skarsgård, Lesley Manville, Eddie Marsan, Nicola Walker, Adeel Akhtar (BBC One) autumn


riting a cop show is really hard!” smiles Abi Morgan, the award-winning scribe behind films including Shame and The Iron Lady. “But then that wasn’t the motivation. To start with, it was really about the characters. On one level, yes, it is a cop show and that is the vehicle and the engine of it, but it is really an interrogation of grief and madness in its purest sense.” Meet John River, played by imposing Swede Stellan Skarsgård (best known for his movie work, from Good Will Hunting, to Marvel’s Thor and Avengers Assemble to his long-term working relationship with Lars von Trier), a troubled-but-brilliant cop dealing with a very fresh tragedy. Sound familiar? Morgan’s series, which will run to six hour-long episodes, may play with genre tropes but River is a whole new take with a unique tone. “What attracted me to the script is that it didn’t look like any other script I’ve read,” says Skarsgård. “I’ve turned down so many cop shows because there’s too many of them and I can’t do procedural lines, I can’t say, ‘Download the CCTV from the site and go through his bank accounts’, it doesn’t fit in my mouth! “I’ve always envied actresses because actresses get to show everything but actors don’t. We’re supposed to be manly, which means we hide everything and don’t show feelings. Here, I’ve got a part that allows me to be an actor and an actress at the same time.” Skarsgård is in almost every scene in the pilot, an episode which deals head-on with issues of mental illness and has a particular hook as to how that illness manifests itself in River, which makes Skarsgård’s performance even more tricky (we’ll avoid spoilers) and delivers some serious emotional heft. We’d strongly recommend keeping a box of tissues handy. Starring alongside Skarsgård are Nicola Walker as his vibrant partner, Jackie ‘Stevie’ Stevenson, Adeel Akhtar as good-natured newbie Ira, Lesley Manville as River’s boss, Chrissie Read, and Eddie Marsan as Thomas Cream, a rather strange voice from the past, a long-dead murderer by whom River is haunted. “It wouldn’t have worked if it hadn’t have been such a strong

“I like the gag of cop shows that are called after the cop” 12

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ensemble,” says Skarsgård, “because I’m all over the place but somebody has to be in the place!” While River himself is a man plagued with grief – a professional lawman on the surface, a man falling apart inside – the show too, is full of parallels and juxtapositions, mixing comedy with tragedy (the pilot episode is surprisingly funny, despite the subject matter). It was a dichotomy which began with the location. “It was about living in London and what it means to live in London,” explains Morgan “I love London, it’s exciting, it’s got a great pulse to it, I think it’s a brilliant place to bring up children and there’s always something to do, but at the same time I always


Still waters run deep: Stellan Skarsgård as John River with (inset) Lesley Manville as Chrissie Read and Eddie Marsan as Thomas Cream.

think of that title London Kills Me [Hanif Kureshi’s 1991 film about life on the streets of the capital]. When I go away from London and then come back to it I’m overwhelmed by how, under its surface, there’s something very fragile.” Which brings us to the title. “I kind of like the gag of cop shows that are called after the name of the cop,” smiles Morgan. “But for me, it’s about the flow in and out of the city, and that’s what the Thames represents. And its about someone who’s constantly flowing and channelling tides of change.” Looks like it could be time to embrace change. By Rosie Fletcher

cr ime scene



TV News in brief



KIERAN CROWLEY was a journalist on the New York Post working the crime beat for 36 years, during which time he uncovered information that helped solve high-profile murders. What’s it really like to do a job like that? By Dave Bradley THE REALITY “I always wanted to be a mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper! When I was growing up and reading Clark Kent Superman stories and later seeing [Watergate investigators] Woodward and Bernstein and all the good they did, that’s what I thought I was going to be doing. I spent 36 years going to crime scenes and trials, working the neighbourhoods, talking to cops and interviewing killers. “My hobby was finding evidence that the NYPD missed. I actually located blood-stained clothing, and of course a lot of ‘fallen brass’: bullets and shells. I found a murder weapon once! I used to start at 6am, which is why my blog is called Murder Before Breakfast ( I would go to the murder du jour – this one was in Queens. By the time I got to this quiet little street the police had already left. So I began my walking of the scene. You crisscross it so you don’t miss anything. And there was a gun under a car! Remember, cops are doing this in the dark. I have the advantage of daylight. “Cops don’t like to hear a reporter calling them and saying, ‘Hey, come back to your crime scene. You forgot the murder weapon.’ But I’m not going to put them in the paper and embarrass them – it would be easy to brag but then you would alienate the cops forever. So you work with them and keep the trail of evidence pristine, then later you’d get information on the QT from the cops.


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“I worked on the ‘Eddie’ Seda Zodiac Killer copycat case and interviewed cannibal chef Albert Fentress. Reporters try to talk to sobbing relatives, the parents of the murdered person. There’s nothing worse than that. It does have an effect on you. Cops, firefighters and paramedics have to deal with the same thing. For years, it would show up in my nightmares, especially when it was innocent people and children. That’s different from when bad guys kill bad guys.” THE FICTION “Journalist characters are lower than used-car dealers on the scale of likeability! That’s because my business has changed. We used to be respected as a last resort for the downtrodden but, because of cutbacks these days, there’s less time to work on the investigative piece. Papers don’t even bother to attack dragons any more. We’re seeing more celebrity scandalmongers. And, therefore, we’re not seen as the good guys in stories as much, we’re seen as intrusive. There’s a movie called The Right Stuff and every time the press appear, you hear this gnawing, evil insect noise on the soundtrack!” Hack (Titan Books) is out on 13 October. For an exclusive extract, turn to page 108.

It looked like Longmire had ridden off into the sunset last year when A&E cancelled the series, based on the novels by Craig Johnson. The modern-day sheriff stories were attracting audiences (averaging 5.6m) but not advertisers. That’s not an issue for Netflix, who rode in like the cavalry and picked up the series for a fourth season. The 10 episodes kick off immediately after Season 3’s cliffhanger, and are now available on Netflix US. Season 2 of Gotham, the cop show set in the city famous from the Batman stories, will be subtitled ‘The Rise Of The Villains’ says executive producer Bruno ‘The Mentalist’ Heller, and will give young Commissioner-to-be Gordon “more grand-scale and theatrical” crimes to solve. It airs on Channel 5 in the UK later this year; in the meantime, Gotham S1 is out on DVD from 5 October. Sky Atlantic’s new six-part thriller series The Last Panthers, made in conjunction with CANAL+, stars Samantha Morton and John Hurt as insurance agents tasked with recovering stolen diamonds after a European heist – expect to see them tackle vicious gangsters and dodgy bankers while being hounded by French awardwinner Tahar Rahim’s police detective. The series originated as an idea by journalist Jerome Pierrat and was written by Jack Thorne, (Skins, This Is England, The Fades). It airs in November. At the time of writing, CBS still hasn’t made a decision about whether the imminent fifth season of Person Of Interest will be its last. The show was renewed in May and if broadcast follows the pattern of previous years, the fifth season will begin broadcasting on CBS this month, but the network has not yet concluded whether this is the end for Reese and Finch. DB

Better Call Saul S2

SAUL GOOD, MAN The Breaking Bad prequel is back in production for Season 2...


y the end of the first season of Breaking Bad, Walter White was already bald, adopting the Heisenberg alter ego and making his presence felt amongst the underworld of Albuquerque. By comparison, 10 episodes in to prequel spin-off Better Call Saul and Saul’s still not Saul, rather he’s small fry operating out of the back of a nail salon, having a meltdown while hosting OAP bingo. All of which is a good thing. Co-creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould not only know the overall ending for the Netflix series, they teased open the pilot with it: Saul Goodman aka Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) working in a concession in Nebraska, less enamoured of himself than terrified of his own shadow. Having rewound the narrative to seven years before the events of Breaking Bad (to roughly 2002) they’re slowly eking out the evolution of the slick strip-mall lawyer from con-man to long-gone man, as this first-look picture from the in-production Season 2 shows. After uncovering a multi-million-dollar scam, Jimmy is due both a sizeable payday and some respect, not to mention a working relationship with inscrutable fixer Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks), more intimate relations with former colleague and current crush Kim (Rhea Seehorn) and a bitter estrangement from big brother Chuck (Michael McKean). Will Jimmy become Saul this season? We’ll see. But the longer it takes to answer that call the better. By EMMA MORGAN Better Call Saul S2 will stream on Netflix in 2016.

Making the Call: Saul creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould.

“They’re slowly eking out the evolution of the slick strip-mall lawyer” cr i m e scene 


THE RETURN OF RIPP In Ripper Street, detectives pound the dirty streets of Whitechapel in the years following Jack’s infamous slayings. Crime Scene chats with the show’s troubled anti-heroes...

ADAM ROTHENBERG Meet bad boy Captain Homer Jackson, Pinkerton agent-turned-police doctor. Is it fun to play a drinker and a gambler? It’s a blast. Homer reads like a pastiche of every little boy’s fantasy: he’s a cowboy, a womaniser, a gambler, a sharpshooter. It’s fun to play because the ballast of Homer is he’s actually not these things at all! You know somewhere he’s weighted by a code, and by a deep love which is from Susan. They have a different relationship now, though? It had to happen. By the end of Series 1 they ostensibly had it all sorted out – which is great for them, but boring as hell for anyone tuning in! Susan became a business woman, she became empowered. But Jackson is someone who feels most at home when he’s running from home: Susan rightfully wrote him off. Ripper Street goes to some gritty places. How much darker can it get? Creator Richard Warlow is a genius in finding how low things can go. It’s not the acts themselves, but it’s the betrayal of people’s internal values. Susan thinks what she’s doing is a reasonable compromise to get what she needs, and then that goes wrong... It’s a horror what happens, but it’s the deep violation of something within her that’s hard to take. You’ve seen what Inspector Reid has done in Series 3? The most staunchly moral of them all, committing absolute horror in the name of what he thinks is right. You’ll be filming Series 4 and 5 back-to-back, so you’re not going to be killed off any time soon! But Jackson might end up handcuffed in some pervert’s basement in Series 5. Or maybe ‘cut to Jackson in a coma....’ Who knows? There’s no guarantee for any of us!


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ER STREET’S ROGUES MYANNA BURING Meet procuress-turned-shady philanthropist ‘Long’ Susan Hart. Susan’s trying to do good, with her hospital and charity work, but she’s making decisions with tragic consequences. How is it to play a character like that? Susan feels conflicted, but playing her is never a conflict. It’s joyous to have a character with so many facets to her. She’s struggling because in order to do all the things she wants to achieve, she’s forced into actions that tear her apart. Some of the storylines are quite violent. Is the show’s tone getting darker? Although the show isn’t historically factual, it draws a lot of details from Victorian Whitechapel. From the very beginning it was dark because it’s essentially depicting a dark part of history! It was an area of London the police did not go to because it was so violent. But also psychologically: the dark places human beings go to in order to just try and live is explored much more extremely in Series 3. So an element of violence and darkness maybe has notched up. I don’t think you can tell a story about death and disappearance and have it be fluffy and light! Why do people love to watch a murder mystery, whether it’s set in the modern day or the Victorian era? We’ve always been attracted to stories about good trying to fight evil. At its very core, that’s what a crime show like ours is about. And then on top of that, there’s also the imagination in the writing. There’s an appreciation for all the work that goes in to making a particular world come alive; you can disappear for a short while, forget your day and become embroiled in a story – even a harrowing one. Ripper Street S3 (2entertain) is out on 28 September and is reviewed on page 124. All three series are available from the BBC Store. By Dave Bradley cr ime scene 29

series breakdown


(Sweden, 1995-2007) You wouldn’t know from the early, lowbudget Rolf Lassgård episodes, but a large part of the appeal of Wallander is in the picturesque scenery, whether farm, field or archipelago. Come the BBC series, Anthony Dod Mantle helped to make Henning Mankel’s world truly beautiful. Every good TV cop has daddy issues and Wallander has twice as many, having a fraught time of it with his ailing painter father and only a semblance of a relationship with daughter Linda, a stroppy teen in early adaps but a happily married cop herself in the latter Krister Henriksson ones.

Being a Swede (even when played by Kenneth Branagh), Wallander knows that safety is paramount when selecting a mode of transport. Hence his array of sensible Volvos and Volkswagens, with which to grind up expansive gravel driveways and down dirt tracks alike.

Need a place to think? Where better than the roiling coastlines of Skåne, where the crashing waves and rocky outcrops offer some lovely metaphors for a troubled man’s state of mind, not to mention an eye-catching spot for a body dump and quick confab with underlings.

Given that a typical case might involve watching a young woman set herself alight in a field or finding a series of scalped corpses, it’s little wonder that Wallander likes to self-medicate with alcohol, wind down with a drink and fall asleep on the couch leaving only the dregs in the glass.


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Nordic Noir

Where there’s a hit there’s a remake – especially when the original isn’t in English. Crime Scene compares three different international versions of three smash-hit series... By EMMA MORGAN

(reboot, Sweden, 2005-13)

(UK, 2008- )

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series breakdown


(Denmark, 2007-12) A teenage girl is pursued through a forest in the dark of night by an unseen torchwielding tormentor. In the original and US versions, victims Nanna Birk Larsen and Rosie Larsen (no relation) are scantily clad; in Turkey’s Cinayet (‘Murder’), Bud Borova is wearing jeans and a cardi.

When it comes to knitwear, there’s no beating Sarah Lund, who sports a nowiconic Guðrun & Guðrun number inspired by an old Faroe fisherman’s sweater. Sarah Linden’s US effort is drab by comparison (although it does look pretty cosy) while Zehra Kaya’s is just a monstrosity.

All the aspiring mayoral candidates are first glimpsed looking downcast at the grave of their late wives. Torturedlooking Troels Hartmann looks genuinely distraught, bless him, but clean-cut Darren Richmond is a tad slick and Leo Kocatepe’s thick moustache surely hides secrets.

The flat expanse of the city of Copenhagen and its surrounding forests are forever cloaked by thick cloud, it seems, as is famously rainy Seattle, although it’s got a bit more going for it in the elevation stakes, while a moody-looking Istanbul also has the Bosphorus Bridge in its favour.

All three versions stick to the triple narrative structure; alongside the police investigation and mayoral elections, there’s the heartrending aftermath for the Larsen/ Borova families, as the homemaker mothers and removals-man fathers seek answers and solace in one another.

It’s not all corpses. On what was meant to Sarah/Zehra’s last day, she’s sent into a warehouse where a body’s been discovered. Following a blood trails she finds... a blow-up doll! With a penis in Denmark, knickers-on in the US and, oh, no, just a co-worker in Turkey. What japes.


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Nordic Noir

(USA, 2011-14)

( Cinayet, Turkey, 2014)

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series breakdown ?????


(Denmark/Sweden, 2011- ) The brilliance of the series is the setting: a body dumped on the border of two countries. In the original, that’s the Øresund Bridge between Copenhagen and Malmö, in the US version it’s the El Paso/Juárez Mexican border and here it’s a service tunnel under the Channel.

Not the most romantic of places to meet, but then future partners Saga Norén and Martin Rohde, Sonya Cross and Marco Ruiz and Elise Wassermann and Karl Roebuck are aloof and disinterested/ married with kids, respectively, and not looking to hook up on the job. Yet…

What’s worse than a body on an international border? Halves of two bodies, cut-and-shut together – one bit’s a politician ( judge, in the US), the other’s part of a prostitute. No version shies away from showing the cross-section – frozen, the parts aren’t spewing viscera, at least.

Saga makes leather trousers work for her but it’s her car that’s her totem of cool, an imported ’70s Porsche 911. Elise has a modern, less distinct sports car with which she nips through the Chunnel and Sonya isn’t trying at all, even if her truck’s probably more practical for sandy El Paso.

When a douchebag journo is shut in his car with a bomb primed to explode, Saga/Sonya/Elise talks him through the countdown, the bomb disposal lads having give up. But wait! There’s no explosion, instead a taunting audio file is delivered via old-school CD/smartphone

Even hardworking lady detectives with non-existent social skills know when they’re getting a little ripe so, rather than waste time by heading home, our heroines unselfconsciously swap tops at their desk. Saga’s bra is understated, Sonya’s functional, Elise’s a little more ooh la la.

8 0 c r i m e s c en e

Nordic ?????? Noir

(USA/Mexico, 2013-14)

(The Tunnel, UK/France, 2013- )

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