IT begins at 9pm tonight and is worth sticking with, especially for the big twist at the end of episode one.
The first of several surprises that will keep you guessing until the final minutes of episode five on Friday.
I met up with the cast and writer of ITV1‘s Injustice last month.
Leading man James Purefoy told us about his plans to play The Saint – of which more in this blog tomorrow.
Update: The Saint: James Purefoy
While Dervla Kirwan revealed the truth about her iconic voiceovers for those Marks and Spencer commercials.
My feature on Injustice is in today’s MEN – and in full online below.
Followed by some extras.
With more from Mr Purefoy tomorrow.
THE residents of the Chatsworth estate played their own role in a new TV thriller with a Mancunian twist.
“It’s amazing what watching a couple of episodes of Shameless can do,” smiles actor Charlie Creed-Miles, one of the stars of Injustice.
He plays Manchester-born detective Mark Wenborn in the five-part ITV1 drama serial, screened on consecutive nights from tonight.
Det Sgt Wenborn is a bully with a very nasty streak. But he’s also a brilliant police bloodhound who doesn’t give up until he gets his man…or woman.
“It just seemed to work with a Manchester accent. I’ve played a couple of coppers in the past and I slipped into it, really,” explains the Five Days and Nil By Mouth star.
Foyle’s War and Collision writer Anthony Horowitz says: “Wenborn is without doubt the most extraordinary detective I have created in a long career working in murder mystery.”
This Manchester policeman, who now finds himself working in Suffolk, says and does things that may shock the watching audience. But Anthony defends his politically incorrect creation.
“I suspect there are a great many policemen around us who do use words like that and I think it’s perfectly valid to create a character who uses that sort of language. Particularly if you do it in such a way that you’re not condoning it.”
Charlie agrees: “He’s a no-nonsense character and speaks his mind. There is a dark side to him, some rough edges, but that makes him all the more interesting.
“We have to be careful on the telly of how we portray stuff. But not everyone walking down the street at this moment adheres to the confines of political correctness.”
Not all TV dramas stripped across five weeknights have delivered what they promised. Anthony originally wrote six episodes and believes this production lives up to its top billing.
“It’s something that I really do believe in firmly. That if you ask an audience to watch something for five nights of their lives, that they will get a real punch at the end of it, that it won’t fall apart. That the actual reveal in the last episode will surprise.”
He adds: “Injustice was inspired by one of those questions that many people have asked. You’re a criminal barrister. You defend a man who has committed a horrible crime and, thanks to you, he walks free. How do you live with yourself?
“I have in my time rubbed shoulders with lawyers and it’s always cost me a very large amount of money, time and stress. So I have a certain ambivalence towards the legal system as a whole.”
The barrister in question is William Travers, played by James Purefoy, now back in court after recovering from a nervous breakdown in this tale with several big twists, including one at the end of the first hour.
About to take the lead in a new version of classic TV series The Saint, James took the role because of Anthony’s script.
“There really just aren’t that many people who write crime thrillers which take you by the throat for five nights over five hours and don’t let go. He’s an absolute master of screenwriting this kind of thing,” he maintains.
Travers is reluctantly drawn into a case defending former university friend Martin Newall (Nathaniel Parker) who is accused of strangling his young secretary in a hotel bedroom.
Maverick Wenborn is determined to convict Newall of murder, whatever the cost, while Travers believes his pal has been framed.
Former Ballykissangel star Dervla Kirwan plays Jane Travers, the barrister’s wife who spends some of her time teaching English at a Young Offenders Institute.
The Dublin-born actress has been married to ex-Spooks star Rupert Penry-Jones since 2007. Although they have worked together – on stage – before, she says it won’t be happening again.
Dervla once lived with her BallyK co-star – Lancashire-raised Stephen Tompkinson, who played Manchester priest Father Clifford in the classic BBC1 drama series. There was speculation they would marry before the couple split up.
“I don’t want to work with my old man,” she insists. I have had a previous life, where I had done that. It hasn’t worked. It’s incredibly pressurising on the relationship. We’ve had 10 very good years together. I hope we’ll have 10 more. I think it’s a good thing to just keep it away from the relationship.”
Dervla also starred in True Dare Kiss, the TV drama serial about four Mancunian sisters, written by Eccles-born Debbie Horsfield, before going on to provide the voiceover for those now iconic Marks & Spencer commercials.
She reveals that she had the blues when recording the first “this is not just food…” line for the television ads. “I was feeling pretty down. ‘Has it come to this? I am sexualising Jersey Royal Potatoes?’
“And then I thought, ‘I might as well have fun.’ I sat in a little booth and said it many different ways. Then at the very end I just started to be dirty because that is my puerile sense of humour.
“And they went, ‘Yes, that’s it, that’s what we want!’ The rest is history.”
Her screen husband William Travers?
“What we don’t get at the beginning of this is just how far he’s fallen into his depression and just how dark that was for him. I just felt that when someone you love is in that dark place, you’ll do anything you can to rehabilitate them, to get them well again. And they move from London and they try and build a new life themselves that isn’t so stressful. I see it as nurturing, a definitive act of love towards someone that you care for profoundly.
“And it was very easy for me to play because, obviously, I have a halo over my head. (laughs) But that’s just the starting point. It was selfless.”
Secrets between husband and wife?
“It happens all the time, doesn’t it? Nobody really knows what goes on inside somebody else’s head. Thank God. I wouldn’t want to know what goes on in the darkest recesses of my partner’s mind.
“My character goes on her own detective journey…”
Dervla said she finds it hard to cry on cue for the camera:
“I used a wonderful thing called tear stick. I find it incredibly difficult. I don’t enjoy it. I get very tense and worry.”
Her career of “warm” roles?
“Hey, if that’s what people need, if that’s what they want, if that’s what I’m required to do, then I’m not going to try and change it. Because I wouldn’t work, quite frankly.
“I have tried, I have changed things. I have changed with The Dark Room. You shave your hair off, you try and play tortured and it’s just not…I think the impact that you have with a programme like, say, BallyK, it’s almost genetically embedded in the public consciousness. It’s very difficult to give them something new. So if it doesn’t work, what can I do? Except go back to what does.”
Her character in Injustice has a teenage daughter:
“I can’t stop time and wouldn’t want to, quite frankly. No point.”
Has she been struggling to find the roles she wants?
“Very much so. There’s an absolute paucity of roles for women of my great age – 39, come on, that’s young, isn’t it? When you’re 70, that’s really young. So yeah, there’s bugger all out there. Obviously I’m not Kate Blanchett. But, hey, you’ve just got to keep going.”
More on not working with her husband:
“I think it would be counter-productive and it would only be a publicity stunt and I think that it would be utterly narcissistic. It’s not that interesting. And I think that my husband has a very clear demographic and so do I and I don’t know if that would ever gel. Unless it was something like Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Wolf? or something of that calibre. You’d have to find that calibre of writing to justify putting both of you in a production.”
“There’s some intense themes but you try and leave it at work. My character has a nasty streak and filming those scenes can be hard work. It’s not nice being nasty for any considerable period of time. So I really try and leave it at work and go and stick the telly on and switch off. I think that’s important.”
Does his character have any redeeming features?
“Yes, he’s good at his job. He puts crooks behind bars. I guess that’s his number one redeeming characteristic. There’s something attractive about people who wear their heart on their sleeve. He’s a no-nonsense type character and speaks his mind. He was an awful lot of fun to play. There is a dark side to him but that makes him all the more interesting. For an actor, that’s a great part to get your teeth into and I really looked forward to playing him. I looked forward to every day shooting. There’s a lot to play with in that character and hopefully I got as much out of that as I could.
“It was a great script, great characters, really solid director and a cooked English breakfast every morning, which is a big part of it for me.”
“One of my closest friends happens to be a barrister. He turns up as an extra in this, although has been asked not to be named for obvious reasons.
“And chatting to him on long summer evenings over a glass of wine, I’ve become fascinated by the world he inhabits. And actually the first question was about the way that barristers perform and act and how the whole thing is a strange game with its own rules and is somehow distanced from society. It occurred to me that was an interesting arena to explore in drama. Particularly that very basic question of how do people live with themselves when they get horrible killers off on a technicality? How can you cope? I think all good drama really rests on simple questions, big questions.
“I think what’s great about what ITV is doing is that they are crediting audiences with intelligence. They did it with this and with Collision. That, actually, audiences don’t need to be spoon fed, they don’t need to be told what’s right or wrong for them, they’ll make their own minds up about it. And if we give them a mature and intelligent story, they will watch.”