Niamh Algar’s career has been going from strength to strength in recent years, and the Irish star leads the impressive cast for new Channel 4 drama Deceit.
The series explores the police investigation into the devastating 1992 murder of Rachel Nickell through a feminist lens, centring on Algar’s ‘Lizzie James’ – an undercover police officer who was tasked with forming a relationship with a suspect.
That suspect, Colin Stagg, was later proven to be innocent – but not before he had already faced a brutal trial by media. He is played in the drama by Keeping Faith star Sion Daniel Young.
Series writer Emilia di Girolamo recently explained in an exclusive column for RadioTimes.com, that the programme, “examines the complicated and toxic sexual politics of the early ‘90s, the police’s obsession with the wrong man and the devastating impact on all involved.”
Eddie Marsan, Rochenda Sandall, Harry Treadaway and Nathaniel Martello-White also star in the true crime series, which is inspired by real-life events, extensive research, and transcripts of real audio recordings. However, the personal life of the undercover cop codenamed ‘Lizzie James’ (including her name, Sadie Byrne) has been fictionalised. (Learn more about the Deceit true story.)
Read on for everything you need to know about the cast and characters in Deceit.
Niamh Algar plays ‘Lizzie James’
Who is ‘Lizzie James’/ Sadie Byrne? An undercover, London-based police officer (codename ‘Lizzie James’) who is asked to elicit a confession from a suspected killer as part of a covert operation, known as Operation Edzell.
Where have I seen Niamh Algar before? She’s known for Pure, The Virtues, Raised by Wolves, MotherFatherSon, and The Bisexual.
Rochenda Sandall plays Lucy
Who is Lucy? A female undercover police officer, and a close friend and colleague to Sadie Byrne/ ‘Lizzie James’.
Where have I seen Rochenda Sandall before? She played Barbara Beese in Small Axe: Mangrove, and McQueen in Line of Duty. Other projects have included Criminal: UK on Netflix, Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads, and upcoming drama The Rig.
Nathaniel Martello-White plays Baz
Who is Baz? Sadie Byrne’s confidant, whom she confides in about her undercover operation.
Where have I seen Nathaniel Martello-White before? He’s starred in the likes of I Hate Suzie, Silent Witness, Kiri, and Small Axe: Magrove, among other projects.
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Eddie Marsan plays Paul Britton
Who is Paul Britton? The nation’s most famous criminal proﬁler, he’s enlisted to help prep Sadie for her undercover operation.
Where have I seen Eddie Marsan before? He’s starred in Happy-Go-Lucky, The World’s End, The Gentlemen (as Big Dave), Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw, and the acclaimed film Tyrannosaur, alongside Olivia Colman.
Sion Daniel Young plays Colin Stagg
Who is Colin Stagg? At the start of Channel 4 drama Deceit, all we know about Colin Stagg is that he’s a suspected killer, and that the police have only circumstantial evidence linking him to the high-profile murder.
Where have I seen Sion Daniel Young before? The actor is probably best known for playing Gareth in the drama Keeping Faith, but he’s also starred in Private Peaceful, Doc Martin, The Left Behind, and Hinterland.
Harry Treadaway plays DI Keith Pedder
Who is DI Keith Pedder? The young Detective Inspector leading the investigation into the devastating murder of Rachel Nickell in 1992.
Where have I seen Harry Treadaway before? He plays Narek in Star Trek: Picard, and has starred in the likes of The Lone Ranger, Penny Dreadful, and The Crown.
The four-part drama series Deceit begins on Friday 13th August at 9pm on Channel 4. While you’re waiting, take a look at our TV Guide for viewing inspiration or check out the rest of our Drama coverage.