15 Jan 2014

Interview with Martin Compston

Source: BBC

How are we re-introduced to Steve in series two of Line Of Duty?

He has cemented himself a bit more into the job. There was a conflict at the start in the first series where he didn’t like the idea of investigating other cops. But the first series opened his eyes to the importance of this role. He comes back as a bit of a bloodhound again! The thing I like about Steve and what I enjoy playing about him is that I don’t think he is completely likeable. He is very arrogant at times and a bit of a smart arse! People around him, especially his boss, can think he is a bit of a wonder-kid though. Steve is a bit more confident in this series – maybe too confident for his own good!

What is his relationship like with Kate in this series?

I think we can pick up that they have worked together on a few cases now and they are a proper partnership. They are a team and they trust each other. And I think what is really refreshing about Jed’s writing is that there is a male and a female lead character but there is no sexual chemistry - it’s just two people who trust each other.

We don’t have Lenny returning this year, but we do have a new DI Lindsay Denton, can you tell us about her, their relationship and how they first meet?

Lenny is hugely missed as he is such a star in the first series – he was our leader on set too. What’s great about Line Of Duty is the plot twists which it sets it up in a way where you never know which was it is going to go and whether it’s going to go into the same formula as the first one. These shades of grey, which Jed writes so well, mean that you don’t know who is on whose side or who is cleverer than the other. Lindsay is a tricky customer and you need to watch her from the off. You are never sure if she is guilty. What is great about the show developing is that you can delve a bit more into the returning characters and their personal lives. You can see all their flaws, and there are quite a few!

In the first episode, we find out that Steve has a new partner – can you tell us about how this comes about?

There are conflicting reasons for Vicki’s character as to why she doesn’t feel comfortable about working on the case that they are about to take on, so someone else has to be drafted in to help Steve. Again, she is a very clever girl right from the offset. I think it is a bit of an eye-opener for the police to come and see the tactics that the anti-corruption force use to try and get information – it’s not very nice. When Georgia joins, Steve puts the case to her and asks her if she wants to do it or not. She is quite a feisty character as she has come from armed robbery. So she knows stuff and she settles in quite well.

You said earlier that we see a little more into the characters’ personal lives - what does this mean for Steve?

We find that Steve is a bit of a ladies' man – he thinks with his trousers and gets carried away quite a lot! Jed always says that he bases this factor on me – cheeky! It’s something that Keeley’s character exploits very well.

In between series one and two, did you have many conversations with Jed about the route and the direction your character would go in?

This is the most amazing thing about Jed – he does most of it on his own. I was quite nervous about coming back as the first series did so well, I didn’t think it would live up to it! Jed’s scripts are phenomenal – he would give you the script, you can have a read of it and then go back to him. He is very open to ideas. He listens and realises that you know the characters so well. He argues his point but he does take everything on board. He will come back to you and give you direction on anything you don’t quite understand - he’s brilliant to work with.

Was there anything in particular that you worked on together in this series?

There was one major event that happens quite early on with Steve and I believed that it would affect Steve a lot more than what was maybe coming across throughout the series.

We have moved location this time around - can you tell us a little about the new location?

There were a few teething problems as coming back to a returning series, we are all in a rhythm – moving location felt like starting all over again. So it was a bit tricky! But it’s a great set in Belfast and everyone has come a long way. If we do go back, I will really look forward to it.