David Morrissey leads the cast of unusual BBC2 series The City and the City. The four-part drama is based on the novel by China Miéville and set in a fictional European city-state – or rather, two. Because even though the twin cities of Beszel and Ul Qoma overlap, anybody in one city must completely ignore the other. And if they don't, a shadowy organisation called Breach will GET them.


Find out more about the cast and characters for Top of the Lake: China Girl...

Elisabeth Moss – Robin Griffin

Who is Robin Griffin?

After delving into the trauma of her past in series one, Detective Robin Griffin has headed back to Sydney to try and escape her problems – but more ugly memories are raised as a new case brings her closer to her biological daughter.

“I requested that we go in a darker, deeper, more challenging direction because I didn't really think there would be much to do otherwise,” Moss told RadioTimes.com of her character this series.

“I feel like the second season, far more than the first, is very much about female relationships and the complications of that.”

Where have I seen her before?

Elisabeth Moss has had starring roles in The Handmaid's Tale as Offred, The West Wing as the president's daughter Zoey Bartlet, and Mad Men, where she won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Peggy Olson.

Gwendoline Christie – Miranda Hilmarson

Who is Miranda Hilmarson?

A rookie cop working in the Sydney police department, Miranda is assigned to Robin as the pair try to crack a murder case.

“It was the opportunity to explore a very intense and passionate relationship with another woman that operates in a multitude of ways, and – without spoiling anything – ways that are potentially not ideal, that can be conflicted, complex, disturbing, unsettling and tumultuous,” Christie told RadioTimes.com.

“I think it's rare that you have such a concentrated view of an intense female relationship.”

Where do I know her from?

Gwendoline Christie is best known as the master swordswoman Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones. She was also the woman behind the mask of Captain Phasma in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Nicole Kidman - Julia Edwards

Who is Julia Edwards?

Julia is the adoptive mother of Robin's daughter Mary, whom Robin gave up for adoption 17 years ago after she was raped. Julia becomes concerned by her daughter’s new relationship, but also starts a new relationship of her own when she leaves her husband for one of her daughter's teachers.

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On taking the role of Julia, Nicole Kidman told Vanity Fair: “I am just trying to stay very bold and open and try things and support filmmakers that I believe in, and also people like Jane Campion (writer and director), who has been my friend since I was 14 and discovered me basically.”

Where do I know her from?

As one of Hollywood's big name stars Nicole Kidman starred in a host of big films including Days of Thunder, Moulin Rouge and Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut. Kidman recently made the transition from the big screen to TV when she took on the role of Celeste Wright in the HBO miniseries Big Little Lies.

Alice Englert – Mary Edwards

Who is Mary Edwards?

Mary is the 17-year-old biological daughter of Robin, who was adopted by the Edwards family as a baby and causes strife when she becomes involved with a dangerous man named Puss.

“I think Mary is trying to recover from the person that she is without any real input,” Englert said of her character.

“She's Julia's child, she's Robin's child, and now she wants to have her own thing – and Puss is that thing for her.”

Where have I seen her before?

Australian actress Alice Englert is best known for her roles as Rosa in the film Ginger & Rosa, and as Lena Duchannes in the 2013 film Beautiful Creatures. Her mother, Jane Campion, is the screenwriter and director of Top of the Lake, but she's promised that favouritism played no part in her being cast in the role.

David Dencik – Alexander “Puss” Braun

Who is Alexander “Puss” Braun?

A former academic and language teacher living in a brothel, middle-aged troublemaker Puss is not quite the man the Edwards family had in mind for their daughter.

“I play this immigrant to Australia; he's an East German academic, he's read very many books, he's a bit of an antagonist to everything in this story and to society as well,” David Dencik told RadioTimes.com.

“He is in a way trying to be an outcast, and he allies himself with these sex workers. He also has these cats, and I think the cats are a very good metaphor for his personality: he's unreliable, he's independent, he goes wherever he wants to go and he's dangerous to the story.

"And he's very attached to Mary.”

Where have I seen him before?

Swedish actor David Dencik has had parts in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, where he played Toby Esterhase. He's taken on a slightly more dishevelled look for the role of Puss.

Ewen Leslie – Pyke Edwards

Who is Pyke Edwards?

A successful lawyer and adoptive father to Mary, Pyke Edwards is the peacemaker in his troubled family.

Where have I seen him before?

An Australian stage and TV actor, Ewen Leslie has had several parts with the Sydney Theatre Company. He was nominated for an AACTA award for his leading role in Jewboy.


This article was originally published in August 2017