Chan­nel 5’s Sus­pects is the im­pro­vised cop show that feels like real life. Ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Paul Mar­quess talks Crime Scene through the fifth se­ries, new cast and spon­ta­neous scenes.

Crime Scene - - CASE NOTES - By AN­DRE PAINE


Fay [Rip­ley] was an­nounced as go­ing to Cold Feet. Then we had the idea of killing Martha [Rip­ley’s char­ac­ter]. We kept coming back to that be­cause it means you hit the ground run­ning – it’s re­ally clear what the stakes are for Jack and Char­lie. And it al­lows you to in­tro­duce the new char­ac­ters in a re­ally eco­nom­i­cal way. They are all af­ter the same thing: to find out who killed Martha.


Ob­vi­ously there are health and safety con­cerns that have to be ap­proached, but we want it to feel as real as pos­si­ble. They’ll have talked about where he’s go­ing to run but they won’t have re­hearsed it. We’ve had mo­ments where mem­bers of the pub­lic have just walked right through what we’re do­ing – and we just go with it. So you’ve al­ways got that edge with Sus­pects.


Lenora Crichlow will have talked to police ad­vi­sors about how to han­dle that scene, but we don’t re­hearse the show. James Mur­ray, Perry Fitz­patrick and Lenora all started on the same day. They spent a week with our ad­vi­sor, learned how to ar­rest peo­ple, the cau­tion; they did some phys­i­cal stuff and im­pro­vi­sa­tion. It’s very much struc­tured around learn­ing how to be a police of­fi­cer.


There are two sorts of cam­era: mostly it’s shot on Go­pros, and the other cam­era is called a Q-ball, which is what they used on Big Brother – that’s the one you can op­er­ate. The com­bi­na­tion of that and then clever ac­tors con­struct­ing their own in­ter­views – I just don’t think I’ve seen any­thing like that on the telly. There’s a gem in every scene. I’m in love with it.


It was a big chal­lenge go­ing from three police of­fi­cers to five, just in terms of mi­cro­phones and where peo­ple were go­ing to be in the scene. But they very quickly got into the rhythm of that. The way the process works is, they’ve got a break­down of the scenes, but they each ap­proach it from their own point of view. That takes us as close to real life as you are able to get.


Some­thing like a slap is planned for – it will say in the doc­u­ment that she slaps him. Ac­tors know you can’t just hit some­body, that’s cross­ing the line. In every edit we spend a lot of time tak­ing out lots of swear­ing, par­tic­u­larly with Damien Molony. These days, with dig­i­tal edit­ing, it’s very easy to take swear words out. We leave what we think is ap­pro­pri­ate for a 10 o’clock show.

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