James Nesbitt admits he wished he hadn’t read script for Suspect ‘Very bleak’

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The actor, who is perhaps best known for his roles in BBC drama Bloodlands and Netflix’s Stay Close, is the lead character in Channel 4’s new detective drama, Suspect. The gritty series follows a seasoned detective on a mission to discover the truth after his estranged daughter dies. Ahead of the series landing, James admitted the script was “very, very bleak”.

The 57-year-old actor has gone from playing DCI Tom Brannick in Bloodlands to a veteran detective called Danny Frater in Suspect. 

The series is based on the Danish show Forhøret and is set to be a “tough” and “taut” watch for Channel 4 viewers.

The drama is made up of eight episodes, each just 30 minutes long, set on a single, devastating day.

The series starts when Jame’s character arrives at a hospital mortuary for a routine ID check and discovers that the dead woman is his estranged daughter, Christina (played by Imogen King).

Officially, she’s taken her own life but Danny doesn’t accept that for a second.

James had just wrapped filming for Netflix’s thriller Stay Close where he played a detective once again.

After being sent the script for the new Channel 4 drama, James confessed to Radio Times: “I read it and wished I hadn’t because I thought, ‘I’m going to have to do this.'”

The seasoned actor admitted: “Unquestioningly, it’s very, very bleak.”

He quipped the series makes Bloodlands “look like Some Mother Do ‘Ave ‘Em”. 

James has described Danny as a “flawed” man who has been “beaten by life” and “someone who has made terrible decisions”. 

Each instalment is filmed mostly as a two-hander, with James playing opposite supporting actors like Joely Richardson who portrays pathologist Jackie Sowden. 

Much of the drama centres on Danny’s inadequacies as a father as it soon comes to light that there are valid reasons his late daughter wanted nothing to do with him. 

James said: “I find it quite moving talking about the character because it’s just taken him to get to the worst place imaginable in life for him to have a shot at some redemption.

“He has to look in the mirror and think, ‘Well, what is the point of you?’ 

“The moment he finds the body of his estranged daughter, that gives him an opportunity to actually stand up again. And do something.”

As the series unfolds Danny learns about his daughter’s descent into delinquency. 

The synopsis reads: “He is forced to confront his own failings as a father whilst struggling to make sense of a mass of contradictory testimony and circumstantial evidence.

“He must decide who, if anyone, is responsible for Christina’s death and what he’s going to do about it.”

When the series was announced James said at the time: “I could relate to Danny, with his flaws, vulnerabilities and the devastating situation he faces.” 

Suspect lands on Channel 4 on Sunday, June 19 at 9pm and will be available to watch on All4. 

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