THE BEST TV LISTINGS
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
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.