You’ll see some familiar faces in the second series of ITV’s hit crime thriller Liar, which picks up where the finale left off. And we have an important mystery to solve: who killed Andrew Earlham?
Despite his character’s death, Ioan Gruffudd is back – alongside Joanne Froggatt. They’re joined by Katherine Kelly and some intriguing new characters, as well as many of the actors we first met in series one.
Here are the characters you need to meet, and the stars who play them.
Joanne Froggatt plays Laura Nielson
Who is Laura Nielson? In series one, Laura was drugged and raped by Andrew Earlham after going on a date – but she had to battle to be believed. In her mission to find out what really happened and gather evidence against him, Laura found footage that proved he was a serial rapist. The police went to arrest Andrew but found he had already fled. Three weeks later, Andrew has been found murdered – and Laura is a key suspect.
ITV says: “Innately resilient, Laura is slowly recovering from the events of the last series… Now, the secondary school teacher’s life will once again be rocked, when Andrew is found dead. Only her own relentless determination can free her from Andrew’s grip once and for all.”
What else has Joanne Froggatt been in? Having started out as Zoe Tattersall in Coronation Street, Joanne Froggatt had notable roles in Life on Mars, Paradise Heights, and Robin Hood – but most people will know her from Downton Abbey, where she played lady’s maid Anna Bates. The actress has since starred as serial killer Mary Ann Cotton in Dark Angel, appeared in Mary Shelley, A Street Cat Named Bob, The Commons, and Starfish, and voiced Wendy in the Bob the Builder TV series.
Ioan Gruffudd plays Andrew Earlham
Who is Andrew Earlham? Andrew may be dead, but that’s not the last we’ve seen of him. Series two takes us back into the past to find out what happened between Andrew’s escape and the day his body was discovered three weeks later.
According to ITV, “In equal parts charismatic and depraved, Andrew was a man who committed monstrous acts. But his solipsistic nature proved more dangerous than ever, after he was forced to go on the run. As we’ll see in series two, the fugitive Andrew sought vengeance.”
What else has Ioan Gruffudd been in? In the 1990s, the Welsh actor played Fifth Officer Lowe in Titanic and starred as Jeremy Poldark in the TV movie Poldark. He’s also known as Horatio Hornblower in the Hornblower series of television films (1998–2003). He’s gone on to star as Reed Richards in the Fantastic Four movies, Lancelot in King Arthur, and Tony Blair in W. Recent credits include Harrow, The Professor and the Madman, and UnREAL.
Katherine Kelly plays DI Karen Renton
Who is DI Karen Renton? As ITV puts it, “Straight-talking DI Renton is an unconventional police officer, whose bluntness sometimes takes people back. But it’s a quality that has led to her swift rise in the London Met, gaining a reputation as one of the country’s most reliable homicide detectives.” She’s been sent from London to find out who killed Andrew Earlham, and that’s what she’s determined to do.
What else has Katherine Kelly been in? The actress first rose to fame as Becky in Coronation Street (although she didn’t cross over with her Liar co-star Joanne Froggatt). After leaving the soap, she’s starred as Lady Mae in Mr Selfridge, Jodie Shackleton in Happy Valley, Jane Lowry in Strike Back, and the Permanent Secretary in The Night Manager. Recently she led the cast of ITV thriller Cheat, playing Leah, and played Elizabeth Sutherland in Gentleman Jack.
Danny Webb plays DS Rory Maxwell
Who is DS Rory Maxwell? We met RS Rory Maxwell in series one, when he was working on the Laura Nielson rape case. He’s now been drafted in to work with DI Karen Renton on the Andrew Earlham Murder case. He’s described as “a trustworthy officer held in high regard in the police force” – but “his traditional methods will at times clash with Renton’s provocative tactics.”
What else has Danny Webb been in? He’s recently popped up as George Wigg in The Trial of Christine Keeler, and played John Ripper in the TV series Pennyworth. Over the last few years, other appearances have included The City and the City (as Major Syedr), Humans (as Hobb), and SS-GB (as Sydney Garin). He’s also played the character John Maynard Jefferson in 2006’s Doctor Who episodes The Impossible Planet and The Satan Pit, and was the prisoner Morse in Alien 3.
Jamie Flatters plays Luke Earlham
Who is Luke Earlham? Andrew Earlham’s teenage son. His mum died around six years ago, and since then it’s just been the two of them – but now his dad has been exposed as a rapist. Andrew’s death makes Luke an orphan.
What else has Jamie Flatters been in? He played Matt Furnish in the TV series So Awkward, and is set to star as Neteyam in the Avatar sequels.
Zoë Tapper plays Katy Sutcliffe
Who is Katy Sutcliffe? Laura’s sister, who works as a nurse. “The two were once very close,” we’re told. “However, in the last series, secrets were revealed that threatened to divide the sisters forever. Now Katy is nearing estrangement from Liam, the father of her two children, as well as Laura. The scars are not healed yet and Katie is living on a knife edge between recovery and breakdown.”
What else has Zoë Tapper been in? She played Ellen Love in Mr Selfridge (alongside her Liar co-star Katherine Kelly!) and Sam Stenham in Safe House. The actress is also known for roles in Stage Beauty, Survivors, Demons, and Nightflyers.
Sam Spruell plays Oliver Graham
Who is Oliver Graham? A mysterious new character, described as an “enigmatic figure”. We’re promised: “His connection with Andrew’s past will become clear as the series progresses, and we’ll uncover the strange turn of events that brought him and Andrew together years ago in Edinburgh. Year later, he again becomes deeply entangled with Andrew’s web of lies.”
What else has Sam Spruell been in? He’s played the evil Queen’s brother Finn in Snow White & the Huntsman, the villainous Oleg Malankov in Taken 3, and Jack McVitie in Legend. Television credits include The Bastard Executioner, The Last Ship, I Am Nicola, and upcoming drama Small Axe.
Richie Campbell plays Liam Sutcliffe
Who is Liam Sutcliffe? Katy’s husband. “Patient, kind, and a devoted father to their two little boys, Liam was deeply hurt by the revelation that Katy was unfaithful. He’s coping the best he can despite his and Katy’s estrangement, but will Katy open herself up enough for their union to be reborn?”
What else has Richie Campbell been in? He’s played Chris in Top Boy (returning to the role in 2019 for Netflix), FBI Special Agent John Bantham in Wisting, and Sam in Vanity Fair. The actor also played Sergeant Nightingale in The Frankenstein Chronicles.
Amy Nuttall plays Winnie Peterson
Who is Winnie Peterson? Another new character for series two. As ITV says, “Gentle, with an underlying inner strength, Winnie is a nurse who worked with Andrew before he died. After Laura uncovered Andrew’s recordings, Winnie’s life changed, and a friendship began to blossom between her and Laura. But Winnie’s marriage has been disturbed by the discovery of the tapes, and with husband Carl retreating into a shell, it’s only a matter of time before it implodes.”
What else has Amy Nuttall been in? It’s a Downton reunion! Amy Nuttall also starred alongside Joanne Froggatt in Downton Abbey, playing housemaid Ethel Parks. She’s also known for playing Chloe Atkinson in Emmerdale, and appearing as Caitlin Standing in New Tricks.
Kieran Bew plays Ian
Who is Ian? Laura’s new boyfriend. Though they haven’t been together long, they have fallen hard for each other.
What else has Kieran Bew been in? In recent years, Kieran Bew has played DI Mike Sutherland in Rellik, Ivan in the Doctor Who episode Oxygen, Bill O’Hara in Warrior, and Gareth Newton in Cold Feet. He starred in ‘Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands’ as the aforementioned Beowulf, and played Alfonso (Duke of Calabria) in Da Vinci’s Demons.
Howard Charles plays Carl Peterson
Who is Carl Peterson? Carl is an army veteran with “traditional values”, who now makes a living maintaining and repairing boats. He’s married to Winnie, but after the revelations about Andrew he’s been retreating into himself and “spiralling out of control to potentially dangerous effect.”
What else has Howard Charles been in? After starring as Porthos in The Musketeers, the actor has played Tom Jansen in The Widow and Ethan Young in The Red Line. He’s also set to appear as Wolf in the upcoming drama Alex Rider, and he has a ton of theatre credits to his name.
Dermot Crowley plays Henry Nielson
Who is Henry Nielson? Laura’s father, who we meet in a flashback. The two of them were very close, but he died when she was in her late 20s.
What else has Dermot Crowley been in? You may know him best as DSU Martin Schenk from the TV drama Luther. The actor has also recently played Lazar Kaganovich in The Death of Stalin, Hugh McGrath in The Foreigner, and Father Dennis Chapman in Hard Sun – and back in 1983, he played General Madine in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
Dawn Steele plays Catherine McAuley
Who is Catherine McAuley? An early victim of Andrew Earlham. We met her in series one when Laura tracked her down, and now we meet her again in series two – this time in a flashback. She was best friends with Andrew’s wife.
What else has Dawn Steele been in? The actress plays Ange Goddard in Holby City. Previously, she’s starred as Alexandra “Lexie” MacDonald in Monarch of the Glen, Alice in Wild at Heart and Annie in River City.
Shelley Conn plays DI Vanessa Harmon
Who is DI Vanessa Harmon? The Detective Inspector who investigated Laura’s case in series one alongside DS Rory Maxwell. “But Laura’s rape case devastated her life in a way she never expected when she too became one of Andrew’s victims,” ITV says. “Now on the road to recovery, Vanessa is focusing on the arrival of her baby, with wife Jennifer. But the death of Andrew will force her to come clean about past actions she thought could stay hidden.”
What else has Shelley Conn been in? She’s been Danielle Wulff in The Rook, Nicole Miller in Deep State, and Millicent Silvano in Heartbeat. On the big screen, she played Princess Pondicherry in the 2005 movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Jill Halfpenny plays Jennifer
Who is Jennifer? Vanessa’s wife, who works in the military. While she’s looking forward to the arrival of their new baby, “she hasn’t put her anger towards Andrew and what he did to bed. Andrew never paid for what he did – a fact that Jennifer has not forgotten. ”
What else has Jill Halfpenny been in? The actress started out as a teenager, playing Nicola in Byker Grove. She later joined Coronation Street as Rebecca Hopkins, and then moved on to play Kate Mitchell in EastEnders. In recent years she’s been in Humans (as Jill Drummond), Babylon (as Davina), In the Club (as Diane), Year of the Rabbit (as Flora Wilson), Three Girls (as Julie Winshaw) and Dark Money (as Sam). She also won the second series of Strictly Come Dancing back in 2004, and is remembered on the show for her legendary jive.
Sian Clifford plays Ruby Allen
Who is Ruby Allen? Laura’s solicitor. She’s completely unimpressed by DI Karen Renton’s theatrics and tactics.
What else has Sian Clifford been in? She is, of course, the Emmy-nominated actress who played older sister Claire in Fleabag! Sian Clifford has also recently played Martha Crawley in Vanity Fair, and she will soon star as Diana Ingram in upcoming drama Quiz.
Jack Colgrave Hirst plays Greg Maxwell
Who is Greg Maxwell? Rory’s son, described by his dad as “a rising star of the NCA” (National Crime Agency). He’s just been promoted to Branch Commander.
What else has Jack Colgrave Hirst been in? He played Thomas Hartnell n the TV series The Terror, and Phil in Stan Lee’s Lucky Man.
Oliver Maltman plays Nick Pillar
Who is Nick? A surgeon who works at the hospital, alongside Laura’s sister Katy – and alongside fellow-surgeon Andrew Earlham before his death. He also appeared in series one.
What else has Oliver Maltman been in? His credits include Knightfall, The Crown (as Jim Orr), and Back. The actor also played Michael Gove in TV movie Brexit: The Uncivil War, alongside Benedict Cumberbatch.