Four-part BBC drama sees Bafta-winning writer Danny Brocklehurst adapt Mark Billingham’s crime novels In the Dark and Time of Death for the small screen. The result is complex and intriguing, as the line between good and bad becomes increasingly blurred and the viewer is left increasingly unsure of who can be trusted.
For no-nonsense police officer Helen, the case takes her alarmingly close to her family and old school-friends – but you might know the characters better from downstairs at Downton, the picket line in Pride and even Mark and Jez’s flat in Peep Show.
Here’s who they are and where you might have seen them before:
MyAnna Buring as Detective Helen Weeks
Who does she play? Police officer Helen Weeks, who seems authoritative and in control until a trip to her home town brings back unwelcome memories. She is compelled to return when she realises that her best friend from school is the wife of the main suspect in a missing girls case. As if this isn’t enough to deal with, she’s just discovered that she’s pregnant, and coming to terms with this isn’t made easier by the fact that secrets from her past are threatening to re-surface. Buring describes her as ‘witty, compassionate and determined’, and she’s going to need this core of steel as she becomes embroiled in the most difficult case of her life.
Where have I seen her before? Causing a stir in the kitchens in Downton, where she tried to seduce Lady Sybil’s widower Tom Branson. This Swedish-born actress has also had bit parts in Doctor Who and Ripper Street, even reaching Hollywood with her role as leader of the Denali vampire coven in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn.
Ben Batt as Detective Paul Hopkins
Who does he play? Helen’s partner and fellow cop. He’s delighted that Helen’s pregnant, but his excitement at becoming a father is marred by her increasingly odd behaviour. Caring and up for a laugh, he’s keen to pull in his contacts to help his wife, but she seems to be pushing him away. Batt describes him as ‘the kind of guy you want to go for a pint with down the pub’, yet his carefree attitude may be built on shaky ground – Batt hints towards a darker trajectory in his character’s relationship, claiming that ‘this perfect lifestyle he thinks he has is actually all a fairytale, it’s not true”.
Where have I seen him before? Batt starred as the sleazy Joe Pritchard in Shameless, going on to score roles in The Village and Scott & Bailey. Like his on-screen partner, he has also made his first foray into Hollywood with a small part in an huge blockbuster: he played an Enlistment Office MP in Captain America: The First Avenger.
Emma Fryer as Linda Bates
Who does she play? The wife of Stephen Bates, the main suspect in the case of two missing young girls. Despite incriminating evidence against him, Linda is convinced that her husband is innocent and is adamant that he has been a good stepfather to her two children from a previous marriage. However, her loyalty is increasingly looking more like the delusion. Helen, who was her best friend whilst they were children, seems to be the only person taking her seriously and entertaining the possibility that Stephen could be innocent.
Where have I seen her before? This is a new venture into drama for Fryer, who is best known for her comedic roles: Janine in E4’s PhoneShop, Tania in BBC3’s Ideal, and Gaynor in BBC2’s Home Time, which she co-wrote. Having also found success as a standup comedian, Fryer’s role as the distraught Linda couldn’t be further from her previous work.