Gabe is legit in many ways but he has dug his own grave
What happens when you spy on friends, family and neighbours? MARION McMULLEN finds out about Paddy Considine’s role in BBC1’s tense new thriller, Informer
After Peaky Blinders and The Suspicions Of Mr Whicher, you are now playing counterterrorism officer Gabe in Informer. How you would describe your character?
GABE is very secretive and covert. He has worked undercover for many years and most recently with a right-wing gang of skinheads.
Going that deep into his undercover work has left a scar on his psyche. He definitely carries around the weight of the work that he does and is always running away from things about himself. He is actually a bit of a ghost and isn’t particularly comfortable anywhere; not at home or at work.
In order to survive in that kind of world you’ve got to be very direct but I think Gabe sometimes takes himself a little too seriously.
What are the demands of Gabe’s job?
GABE works for counterterrorism, so it is a pretty high alert job. You have to be prepared to show up
24 hours of the day. They are constantly trying to prevent terror attacks on UK soil and so are always on the lookout for suspicious activity.
They have to weave their way through the underbelly of it all, trying to find links and anything that can prevent an attack.
Gabe doesn’t have any superhero delusions about what he does, he’s a realist, and is very aware of what his job is. But there is something very addictive about that kind of work and he just wants to keep on doing it.
What do you think of Gabe?
HE is good at his job and a very singular minded character when he has to be but there is a lot of noise in the background.
He’s a bit of an actor; able to go undercover and take it to an extreme place. But, he does have his limits within that world and finds his undercover life difficult to let go of. There’s a part of him that enjoys letting himself off the hook and being somebody else.
Gabe is so shielded that it’s hard to find something to like about him. It’s only when he starts to reveal his human side that I start to engage with him more.
What is Gabe’s relationship with second generation BritishPakistani Eastender Raza who he recruits to be an informer? THERE are certain rules about how to operate with informers. You can’t be friends because you have to be able to drop them at any moment.
You can’t become intimate and you have to remember there is a professional relationship. But sometimes that can teeter into the personal.
That starts to happen with Gabe and Raza. Gabe starts to respect and feel affection for this young kid when he sees how good he is at getting himself in and a out of situations.
How Ho did you find working with Nabhaan Na Rizwan who plays Raza? Raz
I DIDN’T DID check up on what he’d done before, I’m not that kind of person.pers I just meet people and work with them. It doesn’t matter to me what anybody’s experience is. But I was v very surprised to find out that it was his first job because, as far as I am concerned, he’s a natural.
He is a very talented and instinctive actor. It’s not like he’s even trying to find his way with it, you don’t see him struggling, he has just taken to it.
What were your favourite scenes to film?
I FLOURISH in the scenes of interaction between people who are having a conversation. The scenes where Gabe comes alive are the more personal scenes. Those are also where I feel like I am contributing as an actor. Some of those scenes have been fantastic.
Tell us about the layers of relationships in Gabe’s life? THERE is a whole web of people in Gabe’s life. He is always juggling different elements and playing different roles. He’s entrenched in these worlds and it’s hard to figure out when he is being the most truthful because he’s balancing so many lies about himself.
Over the course of the story things start to fall down and his identity begins to crumble. His covert life starts to infringe on his personal life and it becomes a threat. I think that’s when he finds out how much he really cares about the people at home.
Gabe spots Raza’s potential and, as a result, steals him. He sees himself in Raza and starts to develop an affection for him. He also feels guilty for drawing the poor kid into this world which is like a dark web that you can’t get out of.
Does Gabe value his informers? HIS informers are very important to him. They are the people on the street, in the newsagents, in the butchers or wherever it may be. They are the guys hearing all the talk and comings and goings.
It’s important to have these informers down there on the street level who are in and amongst it all.
Gabe can’t march down those streets and ask questions so he has to have these people around. It is important for him to be able to go to these territories, pay people off and get any tiny bit of information that he can.
There’s this whole other world of informants who are scattered across London and Gabe uses them all the time. It’s important for him to have somebody on the ground who has a rapport with these communities.
Does Gabe go by the rule book? GABE lies to a lot of people, including his superiors, but he isn’t underhanded about it and he doesn’t rough people up for information. He is respectful of his informers.
In a way he does go by the book but there is always that shadowy side of him. He has to balance the lies that he has created in his life and at some point they are going to come back and bite him.
Gabe is legit in many ways but he has dug his own grave.
Paddy Considine is Gabriel ‘Gabe’ Waters – a counterterrorism officer who begins to allow his emotions intrude on vital work
Nabhaan Rizwan as Raza, who is drawn into a murky world of lies and trickery