“Keeley would have been available for the whole shoot, if we’d wanted her,” he said. “But I’d already written the character to die after three episodes. That’s what I wanted to do.”
The screenwriter particularly wanted to play with viewers’ expectations about what can happen to a main character.
“I think there’s a certain expectation with series TV that it will always orbit around an equilibrium, in which nothing much changes for the main stars, and there are no drastic changes to the set-up, especially now things tend to run for several series,” Mercurio said.
“But, with my work, I like to try to do things that move the story on, and with Bodyguard I wanted to have this event mid-series that would completely alter the dynamic.
He also explained how he wanted to deliver a twist that viewers wouldn’t see coming, and that no matter how important they appear, there is no such thing as a “can’t-die character” in his series.
Bodyguard star Keeley Hawes on the cover of Radio Times magazine
Of course, this is not the first time this has happened to actress Keeley Hawes. The star’s Line of Duty character DI Lindsay Denton was dramatically dispatched in the middle of series three – and when Mercurio said he wanted to do the same in Bodyguard, she couldn’t help pointing out the trend.
“Yes, she did,” Mercurio said. “But she did it, as she usually does, with good humour. I think, for her, it’s about the work as a whole, and the role. I think – hope – she’d take the view that it’s better to do a few episodes of something meaty than lots of episodes of something thin.”
It has been amazing to be part of #Bodyguard. Everyone’s enthusiasm for the show has made it so exciting. Thanks again for watching and for the lovely messages. And Iiiiieeiiiieeeiiiiiiiiii will always love youuuuuuuuuuuuu! @_richardmaddenpic.twitter.com/ZkLs8PPhn9