Celebrities customarily flock to hit shows; the guest list for Doctor Who--which recently added Katherine Jenkins and Michael Gambon--all but confirms this. Above Suspicion doesn’t rely on the celebrity contingent though, despite being one of the best ITV dramas of recent years. You'd think big stars would be fighting for a spot on the Lynda La Plante show, with its well-rounded characters and biting plotlines, but that doesn't appear to be the case.
Today it was announced that the third instalment of the crime adaptation will guest star Coronation Street's Ray Fearon, The Bill's Robbie Gee, Personal Affairs' Andrew Woodall and Lipstick Jungle's Julian Sands. None of which inspire much excitement. The show doesn't need well-knowns to hook viewers in though; it relies on its plot for that. (The latest season starts with a shooting in a drug dealer's squat.)
Where ITV show Identity fails to utilise its big-named actors, Above Suspicion makes everyone look good. The writing is poles apart, and it shows in the portrayal of its main characters. They've proved their worth in other parts, yet The Wire's Aidan Gillen struggles as a conflicted cop in Identity, while Keeley Hawes (Ashes to Ashes) is wooden as his boss. In Above Suspicion, the previously underrated Kelly Reilly is given (mostly) compelling dialogue as DC Anna Travis, while her colleague Ciaran Hinds shines as DCI James Langton.
It helps that though underestimated, Above Suspicion's cast is supremely talented. It shouldn't be overlooked either that the lead actors are more recognisable than their supporting cast; Ciaran Hinds was in Rome and Shaun Dingwall was in Soldier Soldier. Since the first episode Kelly Reilly has also starred in big films Triage and Sherlock Holmes.
When filming commences on the third series it'll welcome Danish actresses Stine Stengade, and Benedikte Hansen, who are already acclaimed in their home country. It'll be their first time on a British show, and we're sure they'll blow us away with the help of Lynda La Plante and Noel Farragher's writing.