Law & Order: UK

Friday, 6 January 2012, 9:00PM – 10:00PM

Survivor’s Guilt: 

In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two groups. The police who investigate the crime, and the Crown prosecutors who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories… 

Paul Nicholls joins the cast of ITV’s successful, long-running drama Law & Order: UK for series six which begins with an emotional cliff-hanger. 

Nicholls (Secret Diary of a Call Girl, Harley Street) is DS Sam Casey, a headstrong young officer with a strong sense of justice brought in to investigate the shooting of DS Matt Devlin (Jamie Bamber). 

Nicholls joins a critically acclaimed cast, including Bradley Walsh, Harriet Walter, Freema Agyeman, Peter Davison and Dominic Rowan who achieved an average audience of 5.6 million and a 21% share during series five Law & Order: UK which was shown in summer 2011. 

This seven part series sees the police and legal teams facing a shocking crime captured on video, up against the clock in the search for a hostage, and exposing a tragic, medical cover-up. Cases are reopened, the past threatens to catch up with Ronnie (Walsh) and careers are on the line… 

Quality guest stars join the cast for series six including Colin Salmon, Tamzin Outhwaite, Toby Stephens, Eva Pope, Luke Roberts and Tim McInnerny. 

New boy Paul Nicholls admits he had to run to keep up with a fast moving production… 

“It was terrifying coming onto Law & Order: UK even though everyone was lovely. I think the show is amazing; the production values, the quality of storylines and acting. I’d done all my research, turned up on set all prepared but they shoot very quickly. If you start off in drama like that from the beginning people find their way through it together but I walked in and it was all up and running, and I had to run to keep up. I wasn’t used to that pace of work but I got used to it very quickly. Brad is an absolute diamond and did help me a lot. He sat me down on my first day and said ‘let me tell me you how this show works – like lightening!’ 

“Bradley is one of the funniest guys I’ve ever worked with. I’m terrible at corpsing so he knew that within days and would say something just before I was about to go on. He is such a joker but always keeps a straight face and does a great job. Then he’d tell me I’m unprofessional because I’m laughing… we had such a great time on set.” 

Talking about his character Paul says: “I see Sam as a nice guy who lives for his job. As a kid I think he probably could have gone either way; become a career criminal or joined the police force. The way I approached the part was by thinking ‘if you’re going to be a good detective you have to know how a criminal thinks’. So I did a lot of research on criminals and criminal behaviour. 

“I read a lot about organised crime and London gang culture. I was really shocked, I couldn’t believe it. Then I started watching this Discovery Channel show, 48 Hours, which was perfect for the part I was preparing for. I know reality is reality and fiction is fiction and any drama has to take liberties but what I saw about murder investigation was fascinating and I watched it religiously. 

“It is scary coming into an established show. From the start you want to make the character your own, put your own stamp on it, and not repeat what someone else has done. That’s what I did rightly or wrongly. I saw Sam as his own man. I played Sam as a poacher turned gamekeeper type – you have to know the game if you’re going to be one step ahead. As a consequence he is hot headed and doesn’t follow the rules all the time. For him it’s all about getting a conviction, all about the result and the quickest way to it. Sam doesn’t see why he has to deal with the red tape when it might be plainly obvious a suspect is guilty. 

“He’s not dishonest just impatient. His job is to investigate, find the perpetrator and make an arrest. But when he hands over to CPS the legal jargon starts happening and that’s when people can walk away from crimes they’ve committed on a technicality. On these occasions he clashes with Jake Thorne (Dominic Rowan) and Sam does take his frustrations out on Jake more than once. 

“Ronnie runs on his gut instincts and feelings but he is very wise. Sometimes Sam can be bit reckless or a bit immature but I think they are very similar. Sam is driven by his feelings and ruled by his heart. Ronnie can see a mile off every bad mistake Sam makes because he’s probably made them all himself. Sometimes Sam pushes the line of law enforcement or bends the rules but he’s just being impulsive. He is basically a very good detective and he wants to learn from Ronnie.” 

Paul continues: “I can see why people want to be a homicide detective or in CID because in my eyes that kind of public service consumes your whole life. It’s all consuming and it takes a certain type of person to be like that; to live through their work and live for it. 

“In a small way it is like that for me when I’m on set. Often when we were filming this I had an 18 hour day door to door. There was no time for anything else. I love that, it gives you meaning and purpose and makes you feels useful. I love getting lost in my work. I’m never happier than when I’m working long hours.” 

So how does Paul relax when he isn’t working? 

“Boxing. When I’m not working I find that I still get up early so I go to the gym. I might do a two mile run, do five rounds on a punch bag – I don’t spar anymore as I got concussion once! – have a go on the bike, and I just find whatever has been going through my head, whatever stress I had, simply lifts. I don’t do it every day but when I’m not working gym is massive part of my life. Healthy body; healthy mind.” 

In this week’s episode a drive-by shooting outside the Old Bailey leaves one police officer dead and another wounded in what appears to be a targeted attack on a witness giving evidence in an attempted murder trial. However, as DS Casey (Paul Nicholls) and the team investigate, they are surprised to learn the gunman was specifically targeting police officers believing his family to be the victim of a police cover-up. 

In a case that sees the whole team emotionally spent, defence barrister, Doug Greer (Colin Salmon) argues that his client was the victim of police racism. Have our heroes gone too far in trying to bring a cop-killer to justice? In failing to separate the personal from the professional, the trial is at risk of being derailed unless Jake (Dominic Rowan) and Alesha (Freema Agyeman) can convince the jury that the defendant is not a victim but a murderer. 

This episode is produced by Richard Stokes, directed by Andy Goddard and written by Emilia di Girolamo. The executive producers are Andrew Woodhead, Stephen Garrett and Jane Featherstone. Dick Wolf is creator and executive producer of the series. A Kudos/Wolf Films/NBC Universal Production. 

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