‘Law & Order: UK’ Season Three Premieres August 17 on BBC America
via press release:
PETER DAVISON AND DOMINIC ROWAN JOIN SEASON 3 CAST
OF BBC AMERICA’s LAW & ORDER: UK
As new season premieres this Fall, cast change sees former Doctor Who stars reunited
As Law & Order: UK returns to BBC AMERICA screens for its thirteen-part third season this Summer, the critically acclaimed drama, based on Dick Wolf’s award-winning long-running crime franchise, brings some new and some familiar faces to the criminal investigation team, as well as some hard-hitting storylines. Law & Order: UK premieres on Wednesday, August 17th at 9pm ET/PT.
The critically acclaimed cast, which includes Bradley Walsh, Jamie Bamber and Freema Ageyman, now have a tough new ally in their fight for justice in the form of Senior Crown Prosecutor, Jake Thorne – a gifted and uncompromising criminal prosecutor – played by Dominic Rowan (Catwalk Dogs, The Family Man).
Peter Davison, (Doctor Who, Unforgiven, The Last Detective) is Henry Sharpe, taking over the job of Director of the Crown Prosecution Service. Henry is a down to earth pragmatist and a great boss who has worked with Jake Thorne before.
The new season sees prosecution team Alesha Phillips (Freema Agyeman) and Jake Thorne (Dominic Rowan) struggle to get to the truth behind a missing toddler and the brutal murder of a much loved couple asleep in their new home.
At the same time, Detective Sergeant Ronnie Brooks (Bradley Walsh) and Detective Sergeant Matt Devlin (Jamie Bamber) investigate a hospital department with more than its fair share of untimely deaths, track down a rampaging gunman and discover the events that led to an innocent woman being gunned down in her own home – events that have serious consequences for the team.
Lead writer Emilia di Girolamo says of the new characters: “Jake is unashamedly a prosecutor, never afraid to go for the jugular in the courtroom. With his working class roots, he had to fight hard to get where he is, but he’s fiercely intelligent and brilliant at his job. Jake’s a bit of a player and if a gorgeous female barrister crosses his path you can bet they’ve got history! Brilliantly played by Dominic Rowan, Jake’s a dark horse who keeps his private life very much to himself and keeps Alesha guessing, but they make a great team.
“Henry Sharpe, (Peter Davison) rules his team with a firm but fair hand. Henry has a very clear understanding of the psychology of offending behavior and the foundations, pressures and lifestyle choices that lead to a life of crime. He takes a very broad view when looking at a case but ultimately he always acts in the public interest, a voice for the victim, and does what’s best for the public, not the offender. I think Henry brings real warmth to the show and his history with Jake – as his mentor – makes him a bit of a father figure.”
Cast & Crew
DS Ronnie Brooks Bradley Walsh
DS Matt Devlin Jamie Bamber
DI Natalie Chandler Harriet Walter
Jacob Thorne Dominic Rowan
Alesha Phillips Freema Agyeman
Henry Sharpe Peter Davison
Executive Producers Andrew Woodhead, Stephen Garrett, Jane Featherstone, Dick Wolf
Producer Richard Stokes
Lead writer/Co-Producer Emilia di Girolamo
Directors M.T. Adler, Julian Holmes, Mat King, Mark Everest, Andy Goddard
Writers Debbie O’Malley, Nick Hicks-Beach, Richard Stokes,
It is a Kudos/Wolf Films/NBC Universal Production.
Peter Davison is Director of the CPS Henry Sharpe
Peter Davison is best known viewers as the Fifth Doctor in the iconic British sci-fi series Doctor Who. Davison travelled in the TARDIS between 1982-1984 and was – until the current incarnation of the Doctor, Matt Smith – the youngest person ever to have played the Time Lord.
He is currently playing two lawmen; Professor Callahan on stage in Legally Blonde the musical in London and Henry Sharpe, new director of the Crown Prosecution Service in Law & Order: UK.
“My career seems to go in phases. I’ve gone through the doctor phase, the policeman phase and I’m now in the lawyer phase!” he laughs.
Talking about his character, Henry Sharpe, Peter explains: “I think Henry is a good boss. He is very inclusive and listens to what his team say to him. He is not aggressive but if he has to he’ll tell them off and put them on the right track. There is no dark side to him. He is in a position of power and trust for a good reason. I think he’s an amiable man. He has made a career of this and thinks he is doing a good job. He can be tough when it is needed and he has to be pretty tough to be in that position.”
Peter is a big fan of the Law & Order franchise, but admits: “I had to stop watching the show when I got the part as I saw my character’s predecessor, George Castle on screen and started worrying as I had to step into Bill Paterson’s shoes!
Talking of his new team Peter adds: “It has been fun working with Freema and Dominic and they are both excellent actors. Freema’s character, more than anyone, gets to the heart of the cases. Her position is to raise the questions and nudge us in the ribs. I met her while she was still doing Doctor Who, my children were very taken with her – we are big fans of the show. She helped me out with a video for a Doctor Who convention.
“Doctor Who is a prestigious program now, a front runner for the BBC. I’m very happy for Matt Smith to have usurped me as the youngest ever Doctor – they all seem to be getting younger and younger.”
Peter’s own daughter Georgia has recently had a daughter with fiancée and the Tenth Doctor, David Tennant. He smiles: “Being a granddad again is great. This is my first grandchild who will be separated in age from her cousins (Peter’s two sons are around the same age as Georgia’s son). I love little babies so it is nice to go round and be a grandpa. It is a fun role and one I enjoy.”
Dominic Rowan is Senior Crown Prosecutor Jake Thorne
Playing Senior Crown Prosecutor Jake Thorne certainly had an effect on Dominic Rowan; he started to cross-examine in his sleep!
“Apparently I wasn’t cross-examining a particular witness but I was lodging ‘an objection my lord’ in my sleep, which I have no recall of,” says Dominic. “Because of a relatively tight schedule and courtroom scenes between me and a witness, which can be four or five pages long, I was drumming the lines into my head so I had flexibility and always knew what was coming up. I must have been rehearsing it in my sleep because I wanted to be sure I could do it well. Luckily the sleep prosecuting didn’t last.
Talking about his character, Dominic explains: “Jake has only recently joined the CPS. He had previously been practicing as a Treasury Council prosecutor, but his heart wasn’t completely in it. He is an only child, whose father died when he was very young and he never forged a particularly strong relationship with his mother. She sent him to boarding school which gave him a measure of self- reliance and a strong sense of right and wrong.
“He has a strong sense of purpose in the job of convicting people. His mantra is about people making a choice. He is less in favor of mitigating circumstances; he may be sorry about a defendant’s background but he believes ultimately they had a choice.
Freema Agyeman is Crown Prosecutor Alesha Phillips
Freema Agyeman was very pleased to have fellow Doctor Who alumnus, Peter Davison join her in Law&Order: UK.
“I had previously met Peter at the Monte Carlo Film and TV Festival a few years back. I was there with a Doctor Who producer who had been nominated and while he was off fulfilling his press requirements I spent a lot of time in Peter’s family set up,” she recalls. “He was there with his wife and children and they invited me to join them for dinners and lunches; he completely scooped me up and welcomed me into his fold.
“So having that prior experience of him and, of course, the Doctor Who connection I was over the moon when he joined the cast. Peter has such youthfulness about him, a great sense of humor and such a great general attitude towards life so it’s really been a joy.
“Dominic was a little bit worried he wouldn’t be able to understand our Gallifrey speak. But we don’t talk about it a lot so we don’t leave him out! “Dominic and I are like fire and ice; we couldn’t be more different. He is like the furious older brother and I’m the slightly mad, hyperactive younger sister. He is so dry and so witty; it’s been like peeling the layers from an onion, learning more about his personality every day. He is such a gentle soul and I really enjoyed working with him. And he brings something different to the show and certainly looks the part in that wig and gown which can make people look comedic but really suits him.”
Pinpointing her favorite episode of the series, Freema says: “Episode three, Crush, where Alesha is a little bit more at the helm was really enjoyable to film. Jake is unavailable so Alesha cross-examines a key witness. Typically she goes with her gut instinct and something is bothering her about that case. In the real legal world, someone in the position she is in, a junior, would be doing the plea and case managements, the bail hearings and within bigger trials the paperwork but in our world of drama Alesha gets to do the digging and the background work, the witness interviews and is sort of a bridge between the cops and the CPS.
“This episode is an example of why the show continues to interest me. When you go to a script read-through you never know what angle the storyline will take. Law & Order does have a format but it can vary whether it’s a case of law; how you actually prosecute someone, or a whodunit or a massive twist that exposes everything in a different light. It keeps things interesting.”
Concludes Freema: “So much has changed this series but what I honestly felt proud of was when guest actors said this is one of nicest jobs they’ve done. You feel a sense of pride like you’ve had someone round your house for dinner! There is a real leveler whether you are the guest star or doing one scene because the show moves at such a pace you have to nail it every time.”
Bradley Walsh is DS Ronnie Brooks
Bradley Walsh is back playing DS Ronnie Brooks, a down to earth copper who is married to the force.
Bradley believes he and Jamie Bamber are lucky to have great on-screen chemistry as police partnership Brooks and Devlin.
“I think maybe it works because they’re so different in their original upbringing. I think Matt’s an intelligent lad whose education was good and he’s come from what we deem to be a well-to-do family. They are very pleased he is in the force and has done so well. Whereas Ronnie is an ordinary, mainstream council estate boy who has grown up amongst villains and decided he wants to be part of the upholding of the law. But he still sees a lot of himself in Matt and that is pretty important. You can see the respect Matt has for Ronnie and it is evident that they make a good team,” says Bradley.
“Ronnie sees Matt as the son he never had. People forget but Ronnie has a difficult relationship with his family because of his drinking and the bad memories they have of him, so his work colleagues are his family and Matt is his son and they have this wonderful ‘blokey’ type relationship going on. Some of it is very light hearted, although he appreciates Matt’s more gung-ho approach he thinks he gets too involved. Ronnie believes you’ve got to look at it subjectively, his view is this is the job, don’t get too involved and that juxtaposition of character really helps.
“Matt has an eye for the girls too, he’s always chatting them up making Ronnie think ‘here we go again’. I could never imagine them meeting outside of work though. Ronnie doesn’t want to go to the pub or meet women. It would just be awful for any lady to undertake. He’s already had two disastrous marriages and at this stage in his life he is honest enough to think ‘this is no life for a wife’. Sometimes he gets to work at 7am and wouldn’t get home till 4am because of a case. The force is his third marriage and he’s happy for things to stay that way.”
Jamie Bamber is DS Matt Devlin
Jamie Bamber admits he was shocked by some of the storylines in this series, but not necessarily the most apparent ones. “Some of the cases are so out there; random events causing other eventualities. The initial intent of someone’s actions can have far-reaching repercussions down the line which can end in the death of someone completely unconnected,” explains Jamie.
“Law & Order: UK tells so many stories, each episode, every series there are so many characters and some of the stories we are exposed are very shocking to me for obvious reasons but recently I find the unfortunate ones more shocking.
“We think we’re in control of our lives, making sound choices but on a daily basis we are involved, through no fault of our own, because we are living in a community. We’ve done horrible cases where people are truly evil and those are harrowing but I always think that wouldn’t happen to me because I’m not a sociopath I don’t hang out with these people. Fortunately in my life I haven’t encountered evil but what is scary is that random, apparently innocuous behavior that nonetheless can inflict great harm.
Talking about his successful on-screen partnership with Bradley Walsh, Jamie says: “I’m thrilled viewers like our partnership. The chemistry comes from the fact that Brad and I really enjoy being together. There’s a joy that comes from being in someone’s company like that whilst working. We have got lot of interests in common, enjoy a lot of the same things in life and we like each other.
“I have also learnt tons from him. Because he has a comedy background he has an incredibly technical mind; he senses rhythms and speech patterns and is always talking about trigger words. He can sniff out why a scene is not lifting off the page, maybe because the information is coming across in the wrong part of speech.
Jamie particularly relished working with the American director Marisol Adler, who has also worked on the U.S. version of the show. “Marisol was so keen and positive and she had such great energy. It was so interesting to have her thoughts having worked on both shows. Because I have worked a lot in the States, I was used to working her way rather than the British way so it was good to have someone from the same background.
“There are different styles of directing and in the U.S. since film is used less and less they don’t tend to cut between takes. The ethos being the crew do their work but once you start rolling it belongs to the director and actors. And Marisol liked to use more cameras when shooting. The creator of Law & Order, Dick Wolf, famously said the camera is the third cop in the show, so fast moving camera work really adds to the feel. Series 3 is a lot pacier which feels natural for our half of the show.”
Lead Writer, Emilia di Girolamo
As ever the storylines are hard hitting and all set in very different worlds. There are some emotional, some shocking and some terrifyingly close to home…
“This season we really delve into our regular characters’ lives and explore the emotional impact these cases have on our heroes. Both Matt and Ronnie go on huge personal journeys this season and I love where these stories take them. We also do a Law & Order: UK first with a two-parter. Having two hours rather than one to tell a story with our regulars was an exciting challenge and I’m very glad I got to write both episodes. I’m immensely proud of the double bill which not only explore some of the most challenging territory we’ve ever covered but also feature stunning performances from Bradley Walsh, Jamie Bamber and guest actor, the utterly brilliant, Charles Mnene.”
Is this your dream job? You have admitted in the past to being a huge Law & Order fan.
“I am a huge Law & Order fan and watched the mothership religiously for 20 years, so landing the job as lead writer and co-producer on Law & Order: UK was a dream come true. I think all those episodes have seeped into my veins and I find writing for the show as easy as breathing. I don’t think there’s another UK writer quite as geeky as me when it comes to Law & Order! I’m also a huge fan of Law & Order Special Victims Unit and their more emotional style of storytelling has definitely been an influence on my writing for Law & Order: UK and this season as a whole.”
How has your background, working in prisoner rehabilitation, helped you as a writer?
“I worked in prison for eight years and have a PhD in the rehabilitation of offenders using drama based techniques. It was an incredible experience and brought me into contact with some unique characters. The work I did varied but ultimately it was about examining an offender’s story – what brought them to prison, what they did, why they did it, what they could have done differently and rehearsing for change so they could become equipped with the skills to recognize trigger points and stop themselves re-offending. Inevitably my experience of working with offenders has had a profound effect on my writing.
“I spent years working with people who had done terrible things and getting to the heart of why they offended. I stepped into some very dark places and got a glimpse of a side of humanity most writers probably never see. It’s left me with a need to tell stories in a very honest, open and emotional way. I like to be as truthful as possible when writing about offending behavior because there are a whole stack of clichés TV crime writers seem to rely on and they just become accepted as real. I think in terms of my episodes of Law & Order: UK we’ve made some brave decisions in our representation of offenders and their behavior and we strive to avoid those crime show clichés.”
Do you find yourself drawn to gruesome or puzzling crime stories on the news and in the papers wondering how you could work various elements into storylines?
“I like to be true to the original concept of the mothership, but then it’s about going on a journey with that idea and telling a story I want to tell. I don’t have any desire to write docudrama so documenting a real crime case using our regulars doesn’t appeal to me. But taking a topical issue, for example, the death of a child on the at risk register, and then exploring how and why that might happen or who is to blame, in a fictional context, does. It means I can explore topical, difficult territory and say something I hope our audience will care about.”
How closely do your scripts resemble the U.S. originals? Do you ever find having to adapt existing storylines restrictive or have you made these very much your own?
“All the writers work differently but in general there is very little left from the U.S. originals, and anyone who avoids our show because they watched the original and thinks they’ll know who the killer is should give us a go. Even where some elements of the original U.S. episode remain, the killer isn’t always the same. I’ve written 10 episodes in all now and I actually found adapting really liberating. I always choose episodes which feel relevant to a UK audience and where I have something I want to say about our society. But I really only use the original script as a starting point – a theme or story idea I want to explore – and then I make it absolutely my own.”
EPISODE ONE: THE WRONG MAN
Brought into the ER with flu-like symptoms and leaving in a body bag, Suzanne Morton’s death is treated as suspicious by DS Ronnie Brooks and DS Matt Devlin as they investigate a hospital department which has had three such untimely deaths within six months. With an extremely busy ER ward the night Suzanne died, can our heroes find the killer before the killer finds their next victim?
Senior Crown Prosecutor, Jake Thorne is pulled in opposite directions when the chief suspect in the case claims to have been framed for the murder by others within his department. With a conspiracy of silence permeating the hospital staff, it’s clear that there’s more to this case than meets the eye and only by penetrating the web of professional loyalties can the truth emerge.
Dr Edward Austen James Fox
Adrian Grant Hugh Skinner
Sister Logan Frances Tomelty
Philip Nevins Pip Torrens
Christine Mills Nadia Cameron-Blakely
EPISODE TWO: SAFE
When two year old Ryan Stark goes missing from a High Street carousel, his distraught mother, Kayla (Amy Strange), reports him kidnapped, and a massive police hunt is launched to find the missing toddler. In spite of public appeals and additional police manpower, the search throws up more questions than answers.
The legal case uncovers a history of dealings with the social services before Ryan went missing, something which alerts the criminal team to the possibility that his mother isn’t being entirely truthful. With more than one suspect and little physical evidence, will Ryan’s family ever learn the truth of what happened to their baby boy?
Kayla Stark Amy Strange
Jimmy Burton George Rainsford
Yvette Dyer Patricia Potter
Gregor Browning John Bowler
EPISODE THREE: CRUSH
Lying in a pool of blood, call girl, Katka Cizek, seems to have only one admirer capable of her murder: a man seen with her on the night, a man without an alibi, a man with everything to lose, were his secret obsession for her revealed.
A seemingly cut and dry case, Alesha, given the reins to lead the cross-examination, begins to suspect someone has reason to frame the accused. Dogged in her pursuit of the truth, she unearths a betrayal of such enormity proving there are no winners in this case.
Gavin Williams Greg Wise
Jane Williams Charlotte Emmerson
Rachel Matheson Penny Downie
Lilly Adjoa Andoh
EPISODE FOUR: TICK TOCK
A night club peppered with bullets. Two victims bleeding out on the floor. The start of a deadly gun rampage through the streets of London. With the media swarming all over the case and a hostage to find, DS Matt Devlin and DS Ronnie Brooks are up against the clock as they try to track down the Bonnie and Clyde duo wreaking havoc on the city streets.
Capture is far from closure when defense barrister, Phyllis Gladstone (Lesley Manville), takes the case on, arguing that one of the pair was more innocent victim than violent killer. Did the defendant act out of fear – beaten and bullied into submission by her partner-in-crime, too terrified to escape and alert the police? With two sides to every story, the team are under pressure to make sure someone is held responsible for a murderous spree that cost five lives.
Tina Brooke Kinsella
Joanne Louise Brealey
Phyllis Gladstone Lesley Manville
EPISODE FIVE: INTENT
Stabbed to death while they slept, the killings of David and Elaine Lerner prove a mystery to DS Matt Devlin and DS Ronnie Brooks. Universally loved, there’s not a single lead that points to grievances held or enemies made. The previous owner of the house soon emerges as a much more likely target for attack – Camilla Mallon, a banker embroiled in a hedge fund scandal. Could the brutal murders be a case of mistaken identity?
As our Crown Prosecutors navigate this seemingly senseless crime, Jake’s old mentor, Margaret Rumsfield (Jill Baker) argues the accused should face only manslaughter charges. Without motive, without intent, can our heroes make a murder charge stick?
Lucas Boyd Samuel West
Elizabeth Lerner Cara Hogan
Camilla Mallon Anna Wilson Jones
Margaret Rumsfield Jill Baker
Dr Hester Bligh Sophie Ward