ITV.com has released advance information on the upcoming new season of Law & Order UK. Series 3 is scheduled to premiere in the UK on September 9, 2010 at 9pm. (Sorry U.S. viewers, it will not be airing here!)
Here are complete details for all 7 episodes, with cast information. Also included are interviews with stars Bradley Walsh, Jamie Bamber, Ben Daniels, and Freema Agyeman.
LAW & ORDER: UK – SERIES 3
The cream of British acting talent are back together for the third series of the hugely successful ‘Law & Order: UK’. Series 1 and 2 have proved a huge hit with viewers, averaging 5.9 million viewers an episode. The programme covers diverse storylines taken from the original hit US series but all with a distinctly British perspective. Now the teams are back to solve more perplexing crimes and bring the perpetrators to justice.
BRADLEY WALSH (Torn, Coronation Street) is DS Ronnie Brooks, a real East End, copper’s copper, friend and partner to the charming DS Matt Devlin, JAMIE BAMBER (Battlestar Galactica, The Last Detective, Ultimate Force) whose approach to policing is part seduction part force. Both report to DI Natalie Chandler (HARRIET WALTER, Morris: A Life With Bells On, Broken Lines, Atonement) a working mum who would back them to the end.
While the CPS team comprises BEN DANIELS (The Passion, The State Within, Cutting It) as dedicated Senior Crown Prosecutor James Steel, a man on a mission for justice; FREEMA AGYEMAN (Dr Who, Torchwood, Little Dorrit) as hard working, strong-willed young prosecutor Alesha Phillips; and BILL PATERSON (Little Dorrit, Criminal Justice, Sea of Souls) as their respected boss CPS director George Castle, a man trying to balance his ideals with the bigger picture.
The new cases faced by the teams are even more compelling and shocking then those featured in previous series. They include: a toddler being led to his death, a 16 year old girl found dead in her home in the middle of the afternoon, a prison officer shot dead on a council estate, a mysterious killer using a bayonet to slay his victims, the stabbing of a student and the murder case of DS Matt Devlin’s best friend.
Guest stars across the new series include: Rupert Graves, Deborah Findlay, Kevin Doyle, Rocky Marshall, Patrick Malahide, Ruth Gemmell, Matthew Marsh, Celyn Jones, Wunmi Mosaku, and Robbie Gee.
‘Law & Order: UK - Series 3’ is brand new and exclusive to ITV1, Thursdays from 9th September at 9pm
A Kudos Film & Television production
LAW & ORDER: UK – SERIES 3
DS Ronnie Brooks: Bradley Walsh
DS Matt Devlin: Jamie Bamber
DI Natalie Chandler: Harriet Walter
SCP James Steel: Ben Daniels
CP Alesha Phillips: Freema Agyeman
George Castle: Bill Paterson
EPISODE 1: BROKEN
Written By: Emilia Di Girolamo
The terrifying CCTV image of a toddler being led to his death haunts this episode of Law & Order UK which deals with the difficult and morally complex issue of children who kill. As a society, we are very unforgiving of child killers but if the killers themselves are only children, it begs the question - who really is responsible for the crime? With two children in the frame, each blaming the other, can forensic evidence prove who is guilty of strangling little Conor to death?
In an emotionally gut wrenching episode, George defies his superiors and instead takes instruction from the victim’s mother who has a surprising point of view on the crime. Can the justice system, and ultimately the government, afford to be lenient?
EPISODE 2: HOUNDED
Written By: Catherine Tregenna
When the body of a 16 year old girl is found dead in her home in the middle of the afternoon, the investigating police cannot be sure a crime was even committed. With no forensic evidence and nothing to suggest the victim didn’t die of natural causes, Matt and Ronnie question why they have been called out in the first place. However, the mother’s victim believes she was raped because she never slept naked. On further investigation, an unlikely murder weapon is uncovered and a likely suspect - someone with whom Crown Prosecutor James Steel has a history.
Determined the accused is guilty, James pursues him with every power available. Like a man possessed, he pushes the boundaries of the law to the legal limit. Is our hero persecuting an innocent man or justified in his convictions?
EPISODE 3: DEFENCE
Written By: Debbie O’Malley
When three people are brutally murdered in a shop in central London and a fourth left for dead, Matt and Ronnie are up against the clock to find the killer who they fear could strike again at any moment. The nature of the attack was frenzied and brutal with the killer using a bayonet to slay his victims. With this information and a photofit, Matt and Ronnie are quickly must identify the killer before they strike again.
James assumes a straightforward case ahead of him. However, things take an unexpected turn when he learns that the defendant has brilliant legal support. With the case for defence looking very strong, James’ only hope is to convince a deluded defendant to accept responsibility for his crimes.
EPISODE 4: CONFESSION
Written By: Terry Cafolla
This week’s case hits close to home for DS Matt Devlin when investigating the death of a police officer, and his best friend, PS Pete Garvey. Devlin and Garvey had known each other since childhood and when Matt discovers Pete had recently been in contact with their childhood parish priest Jonathan Nugent (Matthew Marsh), his suspicions are alerted as Pete claimed to have been sexually abused by him as a child.
With nothing but suspicions and unfounded rumours to go on, a murder charge cannot be brought against Nugent. Now a married man with a family of his own, can Matt really be sure they’ve got the right man? James and Alesha take an unusual approach in order to bring a charge - any charge - against the accused in a desperate attempt to get the case home.
EPISODE 5: SURVIVOR
Written By: Emilia Di Girolamo
Survivor begins with the investigation into the murder of Prison Officer Charlie Tyner who is found shot dead on a council estate in Hackney. It soon comes to light that, rather than being the good clean officer of Her Majesty’s Prison Service we first believe him to be, Charlie Tyner is corrupt and taking advantage of his position in prison in a number of ways. There are plenty of prisoners inside with reason enough to want to kill Charlie but, being in prison, they have solid alibis so who killed Charlie and why?
Crown Prosecutors James Steel and Alesha Phillips find themselves at odds with their boss, George Castle, who is keen to bring to justice the killer of a prison officer. James and Alesha can’t help but feel Tyner’s abuse should be brought into consideration when charging the accused. And they have their eye on a much greater prize - a career criminal connected to Tyner who has evaded the justice system for too long. Can James and Alesha convince the key witness to give evidence against a man she claims to love?
EPISODE 6: MASQUERADE
Written By: Richard Stokes
The mystery surrounding the stabbing of student, Archie Rahman, has our cops chasing their tails when the only clue they have to go on is a library book checked out on the day of his murder. Two students connected to the book have given an alibi for each other but one of them is lying and it’s down to our cops to find out which one.
When the perpetrator eventually confesses and claims to have acted in self-defence, Alesha is forced to face past demons. It’s a delicate balancing act for James who is tasked not only with prosecuting the offender but also with defending a dead victim. Unless the truth of what happened that day is uncovered, a murderer could walk free or an innocent victim be wrongly convicted.
EPISODE 7: ANONYMOUS
Written By: Debbie O’Malley
For two years, Stephanie Blake (Michelle Bonnard) has been stalked by a man who calls himself ‘Giovanni’. She knows nothing about him but he knows everything about her right down to the finest details of what she keeps in her bathroom cabinet. Over time, his e-mails and calls have become more intimidating but without an actual physical threat against her, there is very little the police can do for Stephanie. After initial investigations lead nowhere, the police are forced to abandon the case. Then something happens which shakes our police heroes to their very core.
What should be a straightforward prosecution becomes complicated when a key piece of evidence is excluded. Up against Defence Barrister Evelyn Wyndham (Anna Chancellor), James has his work cut out for him. When one of the cops becomes a key witness for the prosecution, the question arises of whether his motivation is genuine or borne out of guilt. Will he perjure himself in order to get the right result?
plays DS Ronnie Brooks
How have you enjoyed this new series?
“I think this series without doubt, is the best so far. Everyone has pulled together to make this as good as it possibly can be, including all the writers, the actors and of course the technical staff and producers. The last series was so well received and got wonderful reviews. However, I think this series deserves to surpass that.”
How does your character develop in this new series? Do we see new sides coming out in his personality?
“I think what you see is what you get with Ronnie Brooks, his character is very set in stone from the first episode of the first series. That’s why he is so great to play. You know where you are with him.”
Why do you like playing your character so much?
“The fact that he is so level and grounded. Having been a reckless cop in the past with his drinking, the joy in playing this character is that he has seen it all and done it all. Now all he wants is to put the right criminals away.”
What's been the most memorable episode for you in this new series?
“I think the opening episode is so heart wrenching and sad and shows how a motherly instinct can overcome everything. People must watch this episode even if they’ve never watched it before. It shows what a great series it is but there are so many great episodes to come. I have five that are my equal favourites. You’ll just have to keep watching.”
There are some very gritty storylines including a child murder, a serial rapist, a bad prison officer and a cyberstalker. Do you like the fact they are such hard hitting subjects? Did you do research into any of the storylines for this new series?
“Yes, I really like the fact that they are hard hitting subjects, I really do. Because there are so many controversial storylines, they reflect what is happening in the news in our country today. The storylines are extraordinary. Sadly they reflect our society which is quite frightening. I do some research on the stories and have a look at how the stories they mirror in real life have panned out.”
You have to put on weight to play Ronnie because he is a portly chap. Is this easy? Do you stuff yourself with fatty food and cakes?
“Absolutely I do! It is relatively easy as Ronnie is eating in most of the scenes on set, tea with two sugars and paninis all day and cakes on set. But I also put on weight before I start filming. It’s a nightmare to try and get rid of the weight. It’s an absolute nightmare. Especially filming over winter and eating all those carbohydrates. And we film over Christmas when I eat even more.
Do you mind putting on weight or have you tried to persuade the producers to let your character be slim?! Does your family mind?
“It’s the nature of the part and as an actor that’s what you have to do. You have to go that extra mile and earn that role.”
Because the episodes are so hard hitting, do you find they take it out of you? Are they tiring to film?
“It is tiring to film but mostly because of the length of the days. We leave in the dark and come home in the dark. I’m fortunate that I can leave the character on set. I never take it home with me.”
Law & Order:UK has become very popular. Are you surprised it has taken off? Why do you think viewers like it so much?
“No I’m not surprised. It’s got some great storylines, it’s a global hit. The US Series was the longest running cop show in America. Long may it reign in the UK. People from all walks of life regularly tell me how much they enjoy it.”
What do you hope viewers will get out of this new series?
“A sense of justice and a sense of good triumphing over evil.”
Filming this drama, does it every tempt you to want to try and land a part in the US version? Are you ever tempted to try and work in the US?
“I would love to play Ronnie Brooks in America bringing the English character over there. That would be great.”
What have you been doing since finishing filming?
“Working, working and working.”
Any other personal ambitions you have yet to fulfil?
“There’s never been a cockney Dr Who. Surely it’s about time!”
Would you ever go on a reality show? Have you been asked?
“I have been asked many times to do all these shows. It just wouldn’t suit me. But I am glued to the shows when they are on, I absolutely love them.”
Would you ever return to Corrie?
“If the time was right for both The Street and myself to have Danny Baldwin back on the cobbles then I’d love to, one hundred per cent.”
Would you ever give up acting to do something totally new - or can you see yourself working forever and never retiring?
“I love my job so much that I can’t ever see me fully retiring but who knows? I still love it.”
Do you find the fame that comes with the job easy to cope with?
“The nice thing about working on television is that you get to meet all sorts of people and the people who watch TV are so lovely. They just want to come up and say hello and have a chat and that suits me fine.”
Do you make sure get the life/work balance right?
“I hope so. I love my family so much and my job. I’m a lucky man.”
Summing up sounds like life is pretty good at the moment?
“Yes. One should always remain with ones feet on the ground you never know what’s coming round the corner. In fact, there’s only one thing coming round the corner and that’s other corners, so take each day as it comes, keep your feet on the ground and don’t forget to smile because that costs nothing.”
plays DS Matt Devlin
How have you found the new series?
“I have enjoyed it a lot. We all know each other and the format so well now. It’s like going back to school after the summer holidays, as you pick up from where you left off! There is plenty of camaraderie on set and Bradley and I get on very well. We are great friends now and it's a pleasure to film it.”
Do you still enjoy playing Matt?
“Yes. The more I play Matt, the more familiar I become with him and the better I get know the character. I find I have more to offer. At the beginning, you are searching for what kind of character he is, alongside the writers and producers. But after a couple of years, I really have inhabited the skin of Matt Devlin!”
What was your most memorable episode?
“Episode four, ‘Confession’. I really felt I had time to explore my character because it involved a personal story. Matt thinks he can cope with anything. He thinks he is a resilient character who can deal with almost any situation. But when an old friend, who is a policeman, is shot dead, he has to deal with some issues. I don't want to give too much away but the storyline is a big upheaval for him.”
Have you enjoyed the gritty storylines?
“Definitely. The point of the show is we do examine modern society. We do tend to look at it through horrific events. We look at what it stands for, what can go wrong and the positives too.”
Do you take your character home with you?
“No. Law & Order:UK is easier than most jobs. Thankfully it is not too traumatic and so Matt Devlin does not come home with me.”
As you film more series of Law & Order:UK, do you have greater respect for the role of the police?
“Yes and the Crown Prosecution Service. They get a hard press for things going wrong, but they do have to deal with the most awkward situations. They do a pretty good job. The public expects justice.”
Are you surprised Law & Order:UK has taken off?
“No, not at all. When you are dealing with something that has been such a big hit in America, it is not exactly a surprise. It is a tried and tested formula and it is one that makes you think on a weekly basis. I think people enjoy that mental challenge.”
What can viewers expect from the third series?
“The familiarity of the show combined with the different cases will hopefully draw people in.”
You have worked in the US before. Are you tempted to return?
“Well I still have a house there and our lives are partly there. I am pretty sure we will go back, I am sure I will live in LA again. Nothing is forever in this world, especially the line of work I do. No two jobs are ever the same. You can be working in theatre one minute, and doing a voiceover the next. LA is just another different experience.”
What have you been doing since filming finished?
“I’ve was out in South Africa doing some filming just before the World Cup, which was very interesting and I am just about to start filming a movie in France. It is a romantic comedy and I play an American who can speak French. I speak fluent French and Italian. It's something I have always wanted to do, so I am very excited. Then I will be back to film more Law & Order:UK! I have had a very varied time recently.”
Ever fancy the idea of going on a reality show?
“(Laughs.) There is a reason why I want to be an actor. Part of that reason is I don't massively enjoy being myself in front of thousands of people.”
You are a dad. Do you find it difficult juggling work with fatherhood?
“The great thing about Law & Order:UK is it is shot in London and so I get to go home every day. I am able to have a bit of time with my family and I am really grateful for that. My children do know I am on TV. When they were younger, they used to look behind the TV to see where the pictures were coming from! They are still too young to watch me on Law & Order:UK but they do see me on the chat shows.”
Are any of them showing signs of following in your footsteps?
“I think it is quite normal for kids to be fascinated by songs and the theatre. My eldest daughter does look to be showing all the signs, but I will be proud of them whatever they do.”
“I will encourage them if they have the enthusiasm for whatever they want to do, but I wouldn't want to be like Andre Agassi's dad (whose book I have just been reading). He forced him to hit hundreds of tennis balls every day!”
Sounds like life is going very well for you right now…
“Yes I feel very fortunate. And I hope Law & Order:UK continues to become part of the TV establishment.”
plays SCP James Steel
Have you enjoyed filming this new series?
“Yes, Law & Order:UK is such a treat to do. It is very self-contained and we all get on so well. There is such a shorthand on set now and everyone has an amazing time. I certainly have. We also get such great guest artists on too.”
Have you had more of a say this time about the way your character's personality develops?
“Yes, it has been brilliant and we have had lots more input about where the character should go. In this series, James definitely has more fun and lightens up. He has more of a sense of humour. He still cares but in this series he talks a lot less about it! I was very keen to move him away from someone who talks about "justice for all" to more of a man of action.”
“In the first two series, he was coming through his divorce and he threw everything into work, and in this new series, he is a bit sneakier! You see him behaving more like a defence lawyer. I do still enjoy playing him. Every episode is a new challenge and the stories are so different - that is what is so great about it.”
This series sees many gritty storylines including a child murder, a story about a serial rapist, cyberstalker and several gruesome murders. Do you like the fact that they are such hard hitting subjects?
“Yes I do and it feels like the series has been written on the back of recent headlines. What I love about Law & Order:UK is the fact that you do get to see how the story is played out. You see the conclusion and without repeating myself too much, that is why it is such a great format!”
Would you feel it is fair to say James is tested to the hilt during some of the cases?
“Yes. In episode two (Hounded), he hounds a man with a tenacity that is not healthy. I loved this episode and it was my favourite in this series. I really felt I got my teeth into it.”
“James is much more aggressive in this series which I really like, and to bring about justice he doesn't always stay entirely within the law. Or rather he massages the law to attempt to bring about a conclusion. I think it's a nice development.”
Do you still do research for the role?
“Yes. Any legal issue I don't understand, I will look into it. Freema and I are very hot on this. We make sure we know exactly where we are and what is going on. We have to. We are both very thorough. I love working with Freema. You could not ask for more as she is such a hard worker.”
Does filming such gritty storylines take it out of you emotionally?
“Sometimes, but that is down to the research you carry out rather than the actual episodes themselves. You will read about real murders and real court cases and they can stick in your memory. There was one story I read about involving a guy who was killed in the woods. It was all filmed on a mobile, and then the video was uploaded on to the internet. The story stayed with me for weeks after I had read about it. I was very keen to see whether the guys were brought to justice and what sentence they got. I became obsessed and that was partly due to the fact I was working on Law & Order:UK and wanted to know the outcome!”
This is the third series. Are you surprised it has become such a big hit for ITV1?
“I am not surprised it is popular. If I remove myself from the equation, I loved the American show and I have always been a huge fan of it whenever I sit down and watch it. It is a fantastic format and it is very satisfying to watch. It captures all our imaginations.”
If the Americans ever invited you to have a role on the US version, would you be tempted?
“Yes of course! That would be amazing.”
What have you been doing since finishing filming?
“I went to South Africa to film another show. I then finished a movie which I first started 18 months ago. Now I am just relaxing! Law and Order is a long old stint and so it's nice to have some time off.”
Do you think you get the work/life balance right?
“I try not to take on too much, but inevitably things crop up. I have a house in France which I can zip over to. On a good day, it takes four hours door to door. Even if I go for a couple of days, I feel better.”
Any other personal ambitions you really want to fulfil?
“I would love to go back to Broadway and do another play there. I have talked to some producers about various different things. It would be great as I love it there. I love the buzz and New York is an amazing place to do a play.”
Would you ever give up acting or do you want to go on forever?
“(Laughs.) I would really love to live up a mountain. The older I get, the more of a recluse I turn into. I love the social aspect of my work. It's like a commune and gets very intense and very sociable. Then when I am not working, I shut myself away, so I can see myself living up a mountain.”
Sounds like you are very happy.
“I really am very happy. It is fantastic and we are having a nice summer too - so what could be better?”
plays CP Alesha Phillips
Have you enjoyed making the third series?
“Yes massively so. It's great to have the insight of the first two series to go on.”
Does your character develop more?
“Yes and I am really pleased she does. There has been a steady development with her and she is constantly moving forward.”
“This series we see Alesha and James sharing an office, which presents her as a more integral part of the prosecution team. In the first two series, she was very much James' protege and looking to him for guidance and instruction. She has a lot more confidence and responsibility in this series.”
In this series, she has to face up to issues involving a past storyline when she was raped. How does she cope?
“It is an important part of her story, and we certainly learn a little more about her state of mind. In some respects it's a resolution, but it's not something that can be neatly tidied away. Considering so much of her daily work life revolves around prosecuting other serious sexual offences, inevitably her personal experience resurfaces and does need readdressing.”
What’s been your favourite episode?
“If I was being selfish I would have to say 'Masquerade' as you learn more about Alesha. If I was being unbiased, then I would say ‘Defence’ because I loved the mental sparring between James Steel and Rupert Graves’ character. It was utterly engaging to watch the two of them bounce off each other.”
Do you take the character home with you?
“If I'm honest I've always had a strong opinion when it comes to the definition and discussion of right and wrong!”
Have you been taken aback by the show’s popularity?
“Yes and no. No, in the sense that I knew how successful the US franchise. And yes, because there was never any guarantee that transposing it onto the streets of London and into our court room, was going to be well received. Plus, the pressure to maintain the popularity of the franchise was huge. Especially with Dick Wolf watching!”
“I do have utter faith in our show but it's always such a relief to know that people are watching and enjoying it. It's ultimately why we produce dramas and it's really validating!”
What have you been doing since finishing filming?
“I should probably say I have been doing a gruelling one hander at an amazing venue. But in all honesty, my sister had a baby girl just before we finished making Law & Order:UK and I didn’t get to see much of her at all. So since we finished, I have been spending so much time doing my Aunty duties and I adore it!”
“I have been on holiday with my family, spending quality time with my lovely boyfriend and doing lots of horse riding! I am enjoying having a break, and just trying to achieve that work/life balance! We start filming again in October, so come September, I will need to start retraining my body and mind as both will need a bit of a work out!”
Would you ever do a reality show?
“Never say never but I know that would need a whole new set of skills and I am not sure I possess them!”
Any other ambitions?
“I think theatre would be a good area for me to explore. I really feel like I learn a little more with each job I do and I believe it's all a process of gaining and utilising experience. Working with Ben Daniels, who has the most illustrious stage career, has been inspiring and I'd love to have a go!”
Alesha is very strong and independent. Do you feel like a role model to young aspiring actresses?
“I think inevitably with a job so firmly in the public eye, there will always be an element of that. Alesha is a strong, balanced, professional woman and I trust that sends a positive message.”
Similarly I think playing a variety of parts is just as important to aspiring actresses, so there is merit in playing the not so strong and independent too! Whatever the part, if people look to me as a role model, it’s a responsibility I don't take lightly.”
Are you enjoying your 30’s?
“Very much so! I am in a happy place right now with my career and on a personal level. But I do feel like I am heading towards a crossroads because I am 31 now and thinking a little more about the future. I'd love to have children and I'd love to work in America. But at the moment I'm really enjoying my time on Law & Order:UK. I've always been a fan of the franchise and I hope our version runs and runs!”
Creator & Executive Producer Dick Wolf
Executive Producer, Kudos Stephen Garrett
Executive Producer, Kudos Andrew Woodhead
Executive Producer, Kudos Jane Featherstone
Producer Richard Stokes
Directors Andy Goddard, Julian Holmes, Mark Everest,
James Strong, Hettie MacDonald
Writers Terry Cafolla, Emilia Di Girolamo, Catherine Tregenna,
Debbie O’Malley, Richard Stokes
Director of Photography David Luther
Production Designer Malcolm Thornton
Make-Up & Hair Designer Natalie Pateman
Costume Designer Joan Wadge
Location Manager Gary Pickering
Editors Mike Jones, Tim Marchant, Crispin Green
Casting Director Andy Morgan