(Series 8 Premieres Wednesday, March 12, 2014 9:00 PM on ITV)
Law & Order UK Returns to ITV for Series 8
ITV Press Release March 4, 2014 12:00 AM UTC
(7:00 PM ET March 3, 2014)
"In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet
equally important groups: The police who investigate crime, and the Crown
Prosecutors who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories."
Law & Order: UK will be back with a bang on ITV – literally.
Dependable Detective Sergeant Ronnie Brooks (Bradley Walsh) already has a huge criminal case underway, when a lorry crash reveals a new murder. And, the identity of this body has been deliberately hidden.
It’s not the best time for a detective to have to train a new colleague – in particular a young officer who has come straight from child protection to the murder squad.
But DS Joe Hawkins (Ben Bailey Smith) soon proves his worth and a successful new partnership is built.
ITV is happy to see the return of the rest of the Series 7 Law & Order:UK cast in the new series.
This is series eight of ITV's highly successful drama Law & Order: UK. It is a spin off from the massively successful Dick Wolf US drama, which was the first US show to be adapted to British television in 2009. Series seven, 2013, won its time slot for every episode reaching an average audience of 5.4 million viewers and a share of 21.3%.
Ben Bailey Smith joins the cast as DS Brook’s new partner, Joe. Smith is well known on the comedy circuit as rapper and stand up, Doc Brown. But since moving into acting, he’s been a big success in Hunted and Midsomer Murders.
Bradley Walsh was nominated for the National Television Awards TV Detective of the Year and is hugely popular as wry, loveable, worldly-wise DS Brooks.
Bradley explains: "I’m thrilled to have been in that category. Olivia Colman, Idris Elba, Benedict Cumberbatch; what great company. It’s great to be shortlisted with those guys, especially when the awards are voted for by the British public.
Dominic Rowan, Georgia Taylor and Paterson Joseph also return in the new episodes. Both Georgia (Casualty, Lewis, Coronation Street) and Paterson (Babylon, The Hollow Crown, Hustle, Peep Show) joined the cast last series.
Paterson Joseph plays DI Wes Leyton, who has been in the force since the age of 18 and shares with Ronnie an innate understanding of life on the London streets.
Georgia Taylor is straight talking Crown Prosecutor Kate Barker. Passionate and stubborn, Barker resigns from a murder prosecution because she believes the young woman in the dock was acting “in defence of another” – her young daughter.
Jake Thorne (Dominic Rowan) always prosecutes with a clear sense of right and wrong. His trickiest case this series is a teenager who looks as if butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth. But what Jake has to remember is that this is a defendant charged with killing her own baby.
Peter Davison returns as respected Director of the Crown Prosecution Service, Henry Sharpe – and this series, his life is threatened by a killer with a grudge. He also has to stand by while his juniors successfully campaign for a trial without a jury – throwing away “800 years of constitutional law.”
An array of guest stars including Helen Baxendale, Hattie Morahan, Joseph Millson, the late Roger Lloyd Pack, Colin Salmon, Roy Hudd, Christopher Fulford, Haydn Gwynne and Harriet Walter join the cast for this season.
Highlights of the new series include the death of a psychiatrist who specialises in violent juveniles and a hotel-room killing with plenty of blood, but without a body.
DS Ronnie Brooks, (Walsh), will meet his match in a drug dealer who repeatedly beats the justice system and in "I Predict a Riot", he’ll be investigating other senior police colleagues after the skeleton of a black undercover copper is found in the boot of a car.
The series is produced by Jane Dauncey. The executive producers are Alison Jackson and Jane Featherstone for Kudos and Dick Wolf, creator and executive producer of Law & Order, for Wolf Films. It is a Kudos/Wolf Films/NBC Universal Production.
Law & Order:UK has a unique premise. The show opens at the scene of the crime, follows the investigation and trial all the way through to a verdict – which isn’t always what the audience will be expecting.
Bradley Walsh is DS Ronnie Brooks - Interview
Bradley Walsh has played DS Ronnie Brooks for seven years, in more than 50 episodes of Law & Order: UK and is now firmly established as one of the nation’s favourite on - screen coppers.
Did Bradley realise that Ronnie would end up a national treasure?
"No, not at all. I had no idea about that when I started playing him. I have a very odd perception of fame and celebrity and characters. I don’t take it home; I don’t look at it in that way. He is my take on a cop.
"I still need to watch three or four episodes when I come back to film a new series, just to get into the role of Ronnie. I can’t quite get back into the mannerisms straight away. I need to rest my brain in between!"
Once he takes on the old fashioned hairstyle, the police issue spectacles and the lived in beige mac – suddenly, he’s ten years older and the epitome of an ordinary street copper.
Ronnie Brooks is not surprised by anything,
Bradley recalls "There was a wonderful line in the first series when he was interviewing a young girl who said ‘why don’t you believe me? I haven’t done anything’ Ron just leans forward and says ‘because sometimes people lie’ and that just sums up Ronnie completely. Don’t assume we’re going to believe everything we hear, and don’t also assume we’re going to jump to conclusions. Ronnie certainly doesn’t and that’s why I love playing him.
Nominated in the National Television Awards TV Detective of the Year category earlier this year Bradley explains: "I’m thrilled to have been in that category. It’s great to be shortlisted, especially when the awards are voted for by the British public. Olivia Colman, Idris Elba, Benedict Cumberbatch; what great company.
This series, Ronnie gets a new partner in DS Joe Hawkins, played by Ben Bailey Smith. Says Bradley: "Ronnie takes all of his partners on board completely. He appreciates that he can be seen as a bit of a dinosaur so he tries to adapt despite any age difference. It’s all about truth and justice for him, as long as they’re singing from the same song sheet there’s no problem at all.
"What's brilliant about Ben is that he’s got a great sense of humour - he comes from the stand up arena ‐ and also his character is very streetwise so he comes up with some great quips about all the stuff he knows about the street and today’s society. Ron is slightly out of touch with all that - he still wants to carry on catching the bank robbers."
He continues: "Ron and Joe were a bit stand-offish at the start – Joe pulls him up in an interview because it was his area of expertise and Ronnie found it quite tricky. But at the end of that episode, he is asking Joe to teach him what he knows. People are different and they have to learn to adapt, and that’s what they do in this series."
"The great thing about someone like Ron with all his years of experience is that no crime is brand new. Everything is cyclical. If there is a murder or a robbery - there are only so many ways it can be done; however strange, he has seen it all.
“ITV viewers think Ronnie is great because his years of experience have taught him to look beyond the obvious, not to take things at face value. Invaluable skills in finding out the truth.
And Bradley admits: "Sometimes I choose not to read the back end of the script; if I think it’s working well in scene order, I won’t read the outcome. Yeah – I get spoon-fed little bits of info by the director and the continuity on the set as were going along and all of a sudden it starts to piece together. If you know that the perpetrator goes to prison or the perpetrator gets off, you might play it wrong."
So what is in store for Ronnie and the team in series eight?
"Episode one is a great opener. It is a very clever script and the journey it takes us on is brilliant. It’s very harrowing and we are pushed from pillar to post to find out why they have chopped up the victim, Harry, and taken his teeth. The guy who played Harry was a multi-amputee and he was great fun to have on set, I enjoyed his company a lot.
"We have a random killing in the final episode, which really just shows you the fragility of life. Someone goes shopping in a market and loses her life there and then, in the blink of an eye. And there’s another storyline about institutionalised racism in the force. There is a really diverse range of stories in this series."
Has filming all round London at all hours of the day given Bradley a different perspective of London?
"During one episode we ended up filming on the top of Tower Bridge. I had no idea you could get up there. There’s a museum and gantry on the top floor! That was great. From up there you get a whole new perspective. London is a fantastic city and I think we, as a show, have done it proud in making it seem more accessible to all sorts of people. I am proud of this show.”
Ben Bailey Smith is DS Joe Hawkins – Interview
Ben Bailey Smith was thrilled to land the role of DS Joe Hawkins in the new series of Law & Order: UK.
"When I was a little kid I wanted to be an action hero and this is the closest I've ever come to that. So it is a life‐time dream type deal. Sometimes when I'm running after an assailant during filming I think ‘I used to do this in my head on the way to school when I was seven years old'. That element of it is beyond satisfaction, it's very exciting for me; a big, big deal."
This is Ben's first major role in a primetime drama series but he already has a successful career as comedian, rapper and writer Doc Brown.
He muses: "I wonder what the odds are of Bradley Walsh's co‐star being somebody who has trodden a weirdly similar path to him? It is strange enough to have a comic in a lead dramatic role but then for me to come along...Some days we'd even be on set with Paterson Joseph in a three‐hander! Paterson is obviously a fantastic dramatic actor but for a certain generation like me, I also associate him with comedy because I've seen him be brilliant in Green Wing and Peep Show.
So how is it, that three actors, renowned for their background in comedy, have found themselves dealing with such dark subject matter on screen?
"The similarity between me and Brad is that we're ‘university of life guys’ We've experienced a lot and got into this drama world relatively late, have already had children, been through various ups and downs and had our fair share of successes and failures. And when you've lived, you can bring a lot more to an acting performance.
Just because both of us have a history of comedy doesn't mean we can't adopt a serious approach to scenes, and we have a lot more to draw on than just stand‐up, it goes way deeper than that.
I think we both understand character and both understand the timing of dialogue very uniquely because of our history of writing and performing sketches."
And Ben was immediately drawn to the role of Joe Hawkins.
"Joe is somebody who I could never be in real life as he is so much braver and more of a quick thinker than me: but his back story is something I could relate to.
He'd grown up in care and hung around with a lot of the wrong people as a teenager; he knew a lot of criminals before getting into police work. Joe has an affinity with troubled kids and difficult boys. It reminded me of my past; my mum was a youth worker and then became a social worker and my first jobs were volunteering with kids in care. As I got older I started getting qualifications and by the time I was 18 or 19, I was working part time in various youth clubs, had an NVQ in youth management and started running my own youth club and a charity for unaccompanied refugee kids. I've always worked around young people and worked with young offenders for years. So I saw familiar stories, as Joe has come from child protection.
"In one of the introductory episodes to Joe there is a frisson between him and a suspect over Joe's racial background and he is clearly defensive in a surprising way. Playing that stuff is like a dream come true. Most of the parts I've played on TV are not racially specific and while I'm really proud and happy with that, it is amazing to have storylines that have an element of who I am physically, bringing that raw emotion into character.
There are lots of parallels between me and Joe but the crucial difference is he would go head first into battle with a man with a gun whereas I would turn tail and run as fast as I possibly could in the other direction."
So how does Joe get on with new partner Ronnie Brooks?
"It is difficult to start with because Joe is lacking experience. For a start, having moved from child protection, he hasn't seen that many dead bodies it wasn't hard to have a look of revulsion and fear because I've never experienced that before and the make‐up is great.
“Joe is going into big school, and Ronnie has minimal patience with him initially. But Ronnie sees a lot of himself as a young man in Joe, he finds out Joe is a West Ham fan and they bond over that and very soon it becomes a father son relationship and then a more brotherly one as they engage in difficult cases together and support each other, explains Ben. “The other thing that, for me was poetic, was the mirroring of this in real life between me and Bradley. As Ronnie was handing down wisdom to Joe in the script, I was learning so much from Brad off set. He was encouraging me to improvise with him at the top of scenes to get into character and the resulting freshness of exchanges and joking with each other, the gallows humour, was great. “
So what was the most challenging thing for Ben during filming?
"Definitely the physical stuff. People assume I'm athletic but I'm deceptively unfit. I ride my bike round London but that's it. I do not have a healthy lifestyle and running is out of character for me. Unfortunately Joe does a lot of chasing and racing about and one day I literally ran twice and then puked up and passed out. No one ever let me forget that.
"The challenge is playing it straight. I want to show everyone that side of me; being the action hero. I've got a couple of episodes where Joe Hawkins saves the day and that for me is real boys own stuff.
"But the hardest thing for me now is being away at the Melbourne Comedy Festival while the show is on air. I'm so excited to see my name in the opening credits but the world is a smaller place so I'll be watching on the internet at 6am in Australia and getting involved on Twitter to see the response."
Paterson Joseph is DI Wes Leyton - Interview
Paterson Joseph was thrilled to return to the role of DI Wes Leyton in the new series of Law & Order: UK.
He says: "I slipped back into the character of Wes easily. And although it is nice not being the new boy anymore, I have always felt very at home on the set of Law & Order: UK.
“It's Bradley Walsh who really who needs to take credit for this. When I first started, I completely fluffed my first lines and Bradley’s response was ‘that’s perfect, that’s what we want to do to make it feel realistic" and that immediately made me feel like there’s no massive pressure and that instills real confidence in actors. Anyone that comes into the series is going to feel exactly the same thing in a short time.
"There is an atmosphere of friendliness and supportive focus on set. It’s fun to have new artists come in and we get a fantastic calibre of guest stars. We just need to get our bit done as quickly as we can, so we can sit back and watch great actors go through tortuous emotions – it’s a real treat."
So what does this series have in store for Wes?
"For Wes, it is all about making sure the procedure is done well and there aren't too many hiccups along the way. As a character I think he tries to be less hands on this series. All the cases had a little something that touched him, but what he was able to do was use the system to get the right result or drive the two detectives in the right direction to get the result. There is one particular case which strikes a chord as it his past coming back. A little bit later, he gets touched by a story that affects his own life and desire to have children. But he gets better being an administrator rather than a copper – there is less desire for him to be out there on the street.
"I enjoyed the race riots episode as Wes had more to do and it was a bit more personal, there was a bit more back story to work on and that was enjoyable. Plus I was able to work with two actors I have always admired – Jenny Joules who played the victim's sister and Don Warrington as the police commander. I had a couple of great scenes with those actors. It was enjoyable to plot my way through and not make it too personal.
“I hope when people see it, they don’t see it as an issue episode, but more about working out how the law helps resolve those situations as opposed to how anger or force or guilt can." Paterson admits he loves filming on the streets of London for the show.
"It’s my favourite bit. I got to do a couple of scenes walking up Westminster Bridge with tourists taking pictures of the back of my head. It’s like doing street theatre – getting crowds building up on a corner when all you are doing is standing next to a car!"
So has he seen a different side of London?
"Yes, and you feel very privileged, like you’ve been given keys to the city. I used to work for a solicitors in my late teens and sometimes had to go and deliver papers to the courts and it always felt like theatre to me ‐ dressing up in the gowns and wigs. Going to film at The Royal Courts of Justice on a Sunday makes it feel like being backstage in the theatre; it does feel like a privileged place where not a lot of members of the public – unless they’re in trouble – get to see those areas.
So would Paterson like a role on the legal side of the drama?
"Yes, but I would have had to learn those long speeches and wear scratchy wigs!"
Episode 1: FLAW by Nick Hicks -Beach
Ronnie (Bradley Walsh) and his new partner Joe (Ben Bailey Smith) are leading an investigation into the death of jeweller Harry Bernstein who is found dead with no hands or teeth. His wife Lindsay (Tracy Brabin), her lover David, and a former business associate, Mickey Belker (Christopher Fulford), are all possible suspects. But the case takes a surprising turn when Bernstein’s sister turns up with his severed hands. They were delivered to her house in a box to lend weight to a very simple message: ‘not guilty’.
Bernstein’s sister, Rebecca, is on the jury for the trial of Dale Horgan; a drug dealer and murderer that Ronnie has been trying to nail for years. This threat to Rebecca points to jury tampering. So Jake (Dominic Rowan) and Kate (Georgia Taylor) have to take a dramatic approach to win the case, against formidable defence barrister Eleanor Richmond (Helen Baxendale), and with Henry’s stern eye on them at every turn. But will Ronnie’s evidence be enough? Guest starring Diana Quick.
Episode 2: SAFE FROM HARM by Tom Grieves
The stabbing of Doctor Gardner, a psychiatrist who treated teenagers and children, initially leads Ronnie (Bradley Walsh) and Joe (Ben Bailey Smith) to question his violent adolescent clients. However, when they uncover evidence that points to him having an affair with one of his patients, they begin to suspect that his wife Alison (Hattie Morahan) might have had more motive than anyone else.
Although she initially denies killing her husband, Alison quickly changes her defence when the evidence stacks up against her. Her argument that she wasn’t in her right mind and lost control when she stabbed him, challenges the prosecution and Kate (Georgia Taylor) questions whether they should be trying her for murder at all. But Jake (Dominic Rowan) is determined to see justice done and through some last minute detective work, our team are finally able to uncover the truth. Guest starring Ramon Tikaram.
Episode 3: I PREDICT A RIOT by Richard Stokes
Whilst helping out the drugs squad on a bust, Ronnie (Bradley Walsh) and Joe (Ben Bailey Smith) stumble upon a body that has been hidden inside the boot of a car in the River Thames. It turns out that the man was Taylor Kane, a black undercover policeman who went missing in the 80s, at the time of the Brixton riots. Through clever detection, unsettling evidence is unearthed as Ronnie, Wes and Joe raise issues that the police would rather forget. Wes (Paterson Joseph) finds himself personally putting his head above the parapet when he gets an unexpected visit from the Commissioner (Don Warrington).
Jake (Dominic Rowan) takes up the cause with Ronnie, Joe and Wes as defence barrister Philip Nevins (Pip Torrens), argues the case for his defendant DS Darren Grady (Ralph Brown). Accusations of are thrown around as our heroes get in deeper and deeper when the case hits the headlines and Kane’s sister, Nikki Carroll (Jenny Jules), comes knocking at their door. It is time to pick a side as friendships and loyalties are tested and careers are put on the line for justice. Guest starring the late Roger Lloyd Pack and Graham Cole.
Episode 4: PRIDE by Matt Evans
The death of a seemingly innocent family man leads Ronnie (Bradley Walsh) and Joe (Ben Bailey Smith) to go on the hunt for the murderer. But what they find is that the accused is Eddie Stewart (Martin Jarvis), a man in his 70s who just so happens to be Ex-DI Natalie Chandler’s (Harriet Walter) father. It is a tough day for Ronnie as he has to deliver the news to his old friend.
No one can understand why Eddie would commit murder, least of all Natalie who argues with Jake (Dominic Rowan) when she confronts him over the charge against her father. Jake is sympathetic but there’s nothing he can do without Eddie’s cooperation. Natalie wastes no time in getting Ronnie to go above and beyond to help her find the real killer, even if that means getting him into trouble with a frustrated Wes (Paterson Joseph). But, how far is Ronnie willing to go in order to help his friend? Guest starring Roy Hudd.
Cast & Crew
DS Ronnie Brooks - Bradley Walsh
DS Joe Hawkins - Ben Bailey Smith
DI Wes Leyton - Paterson Joseph
Jacob Thorne - Dominic Rowan
Kate Barker - Georgia Taylor
Henry Sharpe - Peter Davison
Episode One: Flaw
Eleanor Richmond - Helen Baxendale
Lyndsey Bernstein - Tracy Brabin
Judge Hall - Diana Quick
Mickey Belker - Christopher Fulford
Justice Lockwood - Michael Culkin
Danny (Eyeris) - Sonny Serkis
Episode Two: Safe From Harm
Alison Gardner - Hattie Morahan
Anna Sands - Antonia Clarke
Lisa Gardner - Holly Earl
Vijay Prasad - Ramon Tikaram
Judge de Marco - Cyril Nri
Episode Three: I Predict a Riot
Police Commissioner - Don Warrington
Philip Nevins - Pip Torrens
DS Darren Grady - Ralph Brown
Alex Greene - Roger Lloyd Pack
Nikki Carroll - Jenny Joules
Episode Four: Pride
Natalie Chandler - Harriet Walter
Eddie Stewart - Martin Jarvis
Felix Hargreaves - Roy Hudd
Executive Producers: Alison Jackson, Jane Featherstone, Dick Wolf
Producer: Jane Dauncey
Producer Ep 3 and 4: Jane Hudson
Directors: Mat King, Jill Robertson, Josh Agnew
Writers: Nick Hicks-Beach, Noel Farragher, Richard Stokes, Matt Evans, Thomas Grieves, Jamie Crichton, Louise Ironside
Director of Photography: Toby Moore
Hair and Make‐Up Designer: Natalie Pateman
Costume Designer: Darren Finch
Editors: Al Morrow, Selena MacArthur, Liz Weber and Ulrike Munch
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