Introducing ITV’s Black Work

Sheridan Smith stars a policewoman on a dangerous mission to track down her husband's killer

Gritty police drama returns to Sunday nights on ITV with Black Works, a new three-part series about a young police woman – played by Sheridan Smith – on the trail of her husband’s killer.


Leeds police constable Jo Gillespie’s world is turned upside down when her husband Ryan (Kenny Doughty) – who’s also a member of the force – is killed in suspicious circumstances while working deep undercover.

Jo struggles to stay strong for the sake of their children, Melly and Hal, but as the investigation into his death uncovers some rather dangerous secrets about Ryan, her faith in her police family begins to falter.

Against the advice of her superiors (played by Geraldine James and Douglas Henshall), she enlists the help of her friend and colleague Jack Clark (Matthew McNulty) and heads out on the hunt for the killer herself.

And dealing with her husband’s death, plus the realisation that she may not have known the man she married very well at all, isn’t made any easier by the sense of guilt she feels about her growing attachment to Jack.

“We all ask ourselves from time to time whether we truly know the people closest to us: our partners, our family, our friends” writer Matt Charman explains. “There’s an unspoken part of everyone we love that we can never really know. But what if we were confronted with the realisation that the person to whom we were married had a whole other life that we never suspected?”

Written by Our Zoo and Suite Francaise scribe Charman – who’s just penned a new film, Bridge of Spies, for Tom Hanks – Black Work comes from the same production powerhouse (Mammoth Screen) as ITV’s Endeavour, BBC1’s Poldark and Blandlings and BBC2’s Parade’s End.

“She has two worlds: Her family life and then her police family” says Smith, who has never played a police officer on screen before. “Jo is strong and tough but goes through so much turmoil and mental torment. It was different to anything I’ve done before. I like trying different things and challenging myself and Matt is a really clever writer, so I said yes.”

“Sheridan Smith is a dream to write for because as an actress there’s really nothing she can’t do” Charman explains. “And Black Work is a story that pushes her to the limit – it makes her character, Jo Gillespie, doubt herself, her family, her friends, everything she’s always taken for granted in her search for her husband’s killer.”

Sharon Duce (Coronation Street), Andrew Knott (Spooks: Code 9), Ace Bhatti (EastEnders), Carla Henry (Homefront), Lisa Dillon (Cranford), Vinette Robinson (Sherlock), and Ben-Ryan Davies (Waterloo Road) are also among the cast.


Black Work airs on ITV on Sunday nights at 9pm from June 21st.

Sheridan Smith stars in the first trailer for ITV’s Black Work

Meet the cast of ITV’s Black Work