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Above Suspicion interview: Kelly Reilly
Kelly Reilly as DI Anna Travis
You're back as Detective Inspector Anna Travis in Above Suspicion: Silent Scream. Tell us what viewers can expect from the new series?
A young actress - a movie star - is murdered. Travis and the team go after the suspect for this murder, but what's different about this one is that there are many, many, many suspects. We basically have the leading men that our actress had affairs with - their wives, her father, the driver, the director, the agent...
There are lots of different, very colourful, quite dramatic characters who all have some level of motive for the murder. And it's much more of a bigger piece this year, I think.
Your character is an ambitious female detective in what's still a man's world. Are you ever worried about comparisons to Dame Helen Mirren as Jane Tennison in Prime Suspect?
No. I mean, in my mind, the fact they are female detectives of crime, and the fact they are from Lynda La Plante's imagination, they're the only things they have in common.
Tennison was the first of her kind; she was fighting sexual politics, a woman doing a man's job in the minds of some of the people she worked with; Travis isn't fighting that. Travis is working in modern times. Jane Tennison was the early 1990s; they were still smoking in the offices and it was full of filing cabinets!
It was really old men she was working with. Almost like she was a very modern day police woman, dragging the Metropolitan Police murder team into taking things a lot more seriously. Now Travis is a young, rookie detective who isn't fighting any of those things.
She has a nose, a real sense, and instinct. She's fast, she's quick, she's smart, she's learning and she makes mistakes. Lynda has drawn a completely different character, with completely different characters around her.
Crime drama, as a genre, seems to be very popular in the USA and in the UK. Why do you think this is?
If you think about what really is popular on TV, it's all stuff that is voyeuristic. We like to peek into worlds that we don't live in. Being on the other side of crime, especially murder, there is something slightly dark about it.
A dark side of you wants to know about these things; to hear some of the gory details. It's kind of a natural darker instinct that we have, to be intrigued by these things. I mean, not everybody is - I can't stand horror movies or anything with too much blood.
But if they're well written, and they're smart and intelligent - and with crime dramas they constantly unravel, and you have to do some work as you're not provided with everything - you are invited to pick up the clues yourself. I think it's intrinsically because of that - it's a quite stimulating genre.
Kelly Reilly as DI Anna Travis and Ciaran Hinds as DCS James Langton
Do you think American actors and British actors approach this particular TV genre in the same way?
Urmm, that's a good question. I live in New York, and it's so nice to be part of the English tradition of actors because I think they are probably the best actors in the world.
The key actors, the character actors, who come in and don't necessarily take the lead roles, we have such great character actors in England, it's so wonderful when you have so many different people come in and take one or two or maybe three scenes and turn them around.
They take my breath away.
Is there anyone on your wish-list for Above Suspicion?
There's not one particular person who I would name that I want to work with. I feel really lucky that all the people who have come into Above Suspicion have wanted to play those roles.
You live in New York. What do you think the key differences are between drama in the US and drama in the UK?
I have to honestly tell you, I've only just got a TV in America. There is so much here, and there are like 1,000 channels. Now I don't know about you, but I don't need 1,000 channels; I'd be very happy with five.
But they do make such great TV here, and I love Mad Men and Breaking Bad. There are a few bits here that I've caught, but there's so many like CSI and I can't even remember the names of them!
Everything is very beautiful here; there isn't a hair out of place on American TV; I don't like that. I don't want a police officer who looks like they've just walked out of a salon. I lose interest, I find it incredibly boring.
Whereas, you watch English TV, and everyone's got great faces. I'm really glad that I come from that world, rather than perfection. It's just not real, it's boring. I long for English TV.
We're in awards season, do you ever stress about winning Baftas or any other accolade?
No, I couldn't care less! I mean, really. I'm just glad that we have a very loyal following and such great ratings. It's not glittery, it's not glamorous and if we're producing entertaining work for people, then that's all that matters. I don't think awards are a substitute for good work.
Above Suspicion: Silent Scream starts 9 January at 9pm on ITV1 - full transmission times here