COVER story New cop drama is on The Level

TV Times - - Front Page - Re­becca Ma­honey

On the set of a busy po­lice head­quar­ters in west Lon­don, TV Times has taken over an in­ter­ro­ga­tion room and is pre­par­ing to grill its prime sus­pect.

We’ve had a tip-off that

ITV’S new six-part thriller, The Level, fea­tures a ma­nip­u­la­tive, com­pro­mised cop. And while an ex-eas­t­en­der and a Down­ton Abbey favourite are among those un­der sus­pi­cion, we’re con­fi­dent Karla Crome is our woman.

‘I play DS Nancy Devlin, who works for the [fic­tional] Na­tional Crime Divi­sion [NCD] in Lon­don,’ re­veals for­mer Mis­fits star Karla, 27. ‘When she’s sent to in­ves­ti­gate a mur­der case in her home town of Brighton, Nancy’s forced to face demons from her past and ar­eas of her life col­lide in an un­wanted way.’

The fiercely in­de­pen­dent cop, who has an hon­ourable ca­reer that she’ll do any­thing to pro­tect, is se­cretly pro­tect­ing drugs traf­ficker Frank Le Saux (Ashes to Ashes star Philip Glenis­ter).

‘She had a volatile up­bring­ing,’ Karla ex­plains. ‘Her par­ents were in an abu­sive re­la­tion­ship and she found a fa­ther fig­ure in Frank, who’s the dad of her child­hood best friend, Hay­ley [Laura Had­dock]. He was some­one who could al­ways pro­tect her, so she has a huge amount of loy­alty to him.’

But when the cop’s mis­guided feel­ings lead to mur­der, she des­per­ately tries to cover her tracks. Will she fi­nally be ex­posed?

‘Nancy is sly in terms of how she han­dles le­gal pro­cesses. She’s also smart about her

al­le­giances and changes, de­pend­ing on who’s around.

‘We see a sweet, in­no­cent Nancy when she’s with Hay­ley, whereas she’s guarded with her col­leagues.’

She’s par­tic­u­larly de­fen­sive with her new part­ner, DS Gunner Martin (for­mer Doc­tor Who star Noel Clarke).

‘They’re like chalk and cheese, but their re­la­tion­ship changes through­out the series,’ re­veals Noel, 40. ‘Ev­ery­one is un­der sus­pi­cion with Gunner, though. He doesn’t care if you’re a crim­i­nal or a cor­rupt cop; once he’s on the scent, he goes for it. He’s the edgi­est in the team.’

And he isn’t happy when the NCD’S DS Kevin O’dowd (for­mer Cor­rie and Down­ton Abbey star

Rob James-col­lier) is also sec­onded to the sea­side town.

‘O’dowd and Nancy have his­tory and he sees Gunner as a threat,’ says Rob, 39. ‘There’s ri­valry go­ing on.

‘O’dowd has an af­fec­tion for Nancy and wants to look af­ter her, so he watches over her more than a nor­mal col­league would. He knows there’s some­thing go­ing on and tries to dive in, but it’s murky wa­ters.’

Rob is joined by fel­low for­mer soap star Lind­sey Coul­son, aka Easten­ders’ Carol Jack­son, who plays Nancy’s boss, DCI Michelle New­man.

‘Michelle is au­thor­i­ta­tive and con­fi­dent. I’m a bit bossy my­self, so it works!’ ad­mits Lind­sey, 56.

‘It’s in­ter­est­ing be­cause I’ve found that the more you stride around with that air of power, the more

pow­er­ful you feel. I prob­a­bly shouldn’t be a po­lice­woman be­cause that power would slightly cor­rupt me!’

But it seems Karla, who drew in­spi­ra­tion for Nancy from the poise of The Killing’s jumper-lov­ing Sarah Lund, was born to play a de­tec­tive.

‘I’m re­ally into this genre and this is the type of show that I would watch.

‘The direc­tor didn’t want us to know who the killer was, so I didn’t find out un­til halfway through.

I didn’t want to know, re­ally, but I guessed right! ‘I sup­pose it’s be­cause I was so closely in­volved with it that

I was ask­ing spe­cific ques­tions. Plus, I was in­ter­view­ing the cast, even when the cam­eras stopped rolling, to try to work it out!’

NEW drama The Level FRI­DAY / ITV / 9.00Pm

Child­hood ties un­ravel when ds devlin (Karla Crome) in­ves­ti­gates a case linked to Frank Le Saux (Philip Glenis­ter)

Noel Clarke and Lind­sey Coul­son are a force to

be reck­oned with the level is pre­viewed on pages 82-83

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