Counter-ter­ror­ism of­fi­cers are in a race against time to force a petty crim­i­nal to turn informer in a new edge-of-the-seat thriller star­ring Jes­sica Raine

Daily Mail Weekend Magazine - - NEWS - Tim Oglethorpe

Our 52-page guide in­cludes Jaci Stephen’s Soap Watch, your Movie Plan­ner and a pre­view of edgy new thriller Informer, star­ring Jes­sica Raine

The last time we saw Jes­sica Raine in Lon­don’s East End it was 1959 and she was play­ing Call The Mid­wife’s Jenny Lee, cy­cling to help ex­pec­tant moth­ers. It’s a very dif­fer­ent Jes­sica we see in edge-of-the-seat drama Informer, a six-part thriller with Sam Mendes as ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer that puts the spot­light on the most dan­ger­ous un­der­cover polic­ing car­ried out in Bri­tain – hunt­ing po­ten­tial ter­ror­ists. The only sim­i­lar­ity is the lo­ca­tion in which we meet her char­ac­ter Emily, who wit­nesses a shoot­ing at a cafe in the East End.

The vic­tim is Wes­ley Ndoyo, a young man who’d raced af­ter Emily to re­turn the phone she’d left on her train seat. ‘She’s about to buy him a cof­fee to say thank you when shots ring out,’ ex­plains Jes­sica. Wes­ley has ap­proached a per­son with a gun and is blasted at close range.

The ac­tion switches to a court room where Wes­ley’s killing is un­der dis­cus­sion and Gabe Wa­ters, a counter-ter­ror­ism of­fi­cer played by Paddy Con­si­dine, is giv­ing ev­i­dence. Over the course of the first episode, we learn snippets about Gabe’s com­pli­cated pri­vate life and his his­tory of un­der­cover work that has in­volved in­fil­tra­tion of a far-right gang.

Now, he is part of the Counter Ter­ror­ism Spe­cial Unit which uses in­form­ers to re­veal pos­si­ble ter­ror­ist ac­tiv­ity. ‘His job is to pre­vent at­tacks on UK soil by sourc­ing in­form­ers in the butcher’s, the newsagent’s or wher­ever,’ ex­plains Paddy, best known for ITV’s pe­riod de­tec­tive drama The Sus­pi­cions Of Mr Whicher. ‘It’s a dif­fi­cult 24/7 job, which he’s ad­dicted to.’

The risk of an atroc­ity in the UK has reached crit­i­cal level in Informer. Rose

Asante, head of CTSU, tells them that ter­ror­ist leader Ahmed El Adoua was in Lon­don be­fore his death from a drone strike in the Mid­dle East, pos­si­bly show­ing fol­low­ers how to build a bomb.

He’s ru­moured to have vis­ited a hous­ing es­tate in the East End, which means Gabe and his col­leagues need to find out who he spoke to, from peo­ple on the ground. Keen to re­cruit more in­form­ers, they set their sights on Raza Shar, a Brit- ish-Pak­istani played by 21-year-old new­comer Nab­haan Rizwan. He is the informer of the show’s ti­tle.

When Gabe’s young col­league Holly Morten ( Bel Pow­ley) spots him in a po­lice sta­tion af­ter be­ing ar­rested for sup­ply­ing Class A drugs, she thinks the counter-ter­ror­ism unit can per­suade Raza to work for them. ‘They want lever­age on him to make sure he helps,’ says Bel.

Maybe get­ting him off the drugs

charge will en­sure he plays ball. Or is there some­thing more se­ri­ous lurk­ing in his back­ground that they can use? Holly, de­spite be­ing new to the job, proves sur­pris­ingly re­source­ful in en­sur­ing that Raza is obliged to do ex­actly as he’s told.

It’s only at the end of the first episode that the story re­turns to Jes­sica Raine’s char­ac­ter Emily and we see her con­nec­tion to Gabe. ‘We see her in a very dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tion to the start of the se­ries, a col­lat­er­ally-dam­aged vic­tim of Gabe’s life,’ ex­plains Jes­sica, who was drawn to Informer by its de­pic­tion of Lon­don.

‘It’s the city I see when I travel on the Dock­lands Light Rail­way. It’s in­ter­est­ing to see this part of Lon­don por­trayed in a fresh way on screen.’ Informer, Tues­day, 9pm, BBC1.

DS GABRIEL 'GABE' WA­TERS Psy­cho­log­i­cally scarred by years of un­der­cover work, he’s pre­pared to bend the rules to get the results he needs. EMILY WA­TERS (Jes­sica Raine) Well heeled, she seems like just an­other in­no­cent by­stander caught up in a cof­fee shop shoot­ing, but then she slowly emerges as a key char­ac­ter.

(Nab­haan Rizwan) Sharp and in­tel­li­gent, he likes to work hard and play hard. He earns a liv­ing pack­ing boxes in a fac­tory and work­ing in his fam­ily’s beauty salon. (Bel Pow­ley) A rookie, she ini­tially seems a lit­tle over­awed but quickly be­comes an im­por­tant and vi­tal mem­ber of the team.

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