Criminal launches on Netflix today and sees a highly ambitious crime drama brought to life. Creators Jim Field-Smith and George Kay have chosen to only have one piece of the police procedural airing throughout: the interview process. Each episode is roughly 45 minutes, but it packs a full punch. However, one thing fans will pick up on is the lack of information about any character at all.
Criminal’s lead star Katherine Kelly, who plays Natalie Hobbs, has spilled on how fans can get some secrets about the characters seen in the police force.
When asked to spill on some secrets about the making of the police leader, the former Coronation Street star remained coy.
Katherine, 39, teased: “I think we shouldn’t say because it spoils it. The point is you don’t know anything about them, you just get little things about them through their interview techniques and little things they say in the corridor. The corridor is where you will get your major clues.
“They’ve lit it as a bright uplands so you get a lot of truth. The observation room is dark for your team talk. The corridor is where you might get a sprinkling. It spoils it if you know.”
READ MORE: Criminal on Netflix review: Katherine Kelly leads Line of Duty rival in unique wayCriminal on Netflix: Katherine Kelly reveals big character secret and how to find out more (Image: NETFLIX)Criminal on Netflix doesn't give fans much about the characters (Image: NETFLIX)
In fact, Criminal is set across three rooms, incidentally the same three rooms which are used throughout each of the versions of the European show. France, Spain and Germany all make use of the same space the UK does and it means certain spaces become known for certain reasons.
Writer George said of the unique production: “After chatting we had the idea to film it in three rooms because one room would have been just too crazy. We had this really neat situation where we’ve got the action in the interview, the irony in the observation room and the corridor which links the two.
“We made a rule that’s where they tell the truth. That unofficially became a space for people to breath and react honestly.”
Building on that approach, it seemed the production team used some pretty neat tricks to convey which space was being used and for what function.Criminal on Netflix star Katherine Kelly liked the format (Image: NETFLIX)Criminal on Netflix is streaming now (Image: NETFLIX)
Delving more in to the secrets from set, Lee Ingleby, who plays Tony Myerscough, revealed: “The camera moves in the corridor whereas you don’t get that so much in any other room. Jim and George really thought out what picture to paint for the subtleties.”
Katherine agreed, sharing: “[Criminal] is definitely not something you can watch while you’re doing something else. It deserves the attention you’d give a theatre or a cinema. You would just miss all the juice.”
Perhaps the most refreshing part of the new Netflix drama is how little it gives away. Viewers learn what the case is, who the suspect is and whether they’re guilty throughout the course of each 45-minute episode.
Speaking about the unusually nuanced format, Katherine reflected: “There’s a lot of action in a lot of crime dramas - we all love a good chase down and a gun - whereas this is all the psychological warfare which is the bare bones.
“The way that we and police interrogate is completely different to the shows we used to watch when we were younger. It’s a completely different. There were so many false confessions - so many weren’t getting the result when they went to court because there was reasonable doubt. If you push someone far enough they’ll say anything, so it’s backing off that, in the long run it wasn’t working out. There’s been a re-jig in the way policing takes part.
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“I haven’t seen a real investigation of that on screen. We see it for 10/20 minutes in other shows, but this is about how you get someone to talk. We’ve all watched hours on YouTube of people getting confessions and it’s fascinating. They will go on for two, three, four hours. The breakthroughs come just by getting them to talk.”
Lee added: “It’s the cat among the pigeons. There’s techniques that are based on the reality of an interview with drama - it’s good.”
“It’s the sort of thing you could watch a few times,” Katherine insisted. “There’s nothing plonked on top, it’s mining deeper and deeper.”
Three of the episodes are set in the UK - London, to be exact - and sees a plucky bunch of cops try to work out whether the suspect in front of them guilty or not. Criminal has even bagged huge names from the world of acting for the guest roles.
David Tennant stars as Edgar, a man being questioned over the murdering of his step-daughter. Hayley Atwell takes on Stacey, who comes across as bold and brash, but cracks when emotionally pressed. Meanwhile. Youssef Kerkour’s Jay refuses to say anything at all… at first.
Each detective gets their own go at nailing down the suspect and it quickly becomes apparent they all have their certain specialities.
Rochenda Sandall, who plays Vanessa, spoke about Hobbs’ choice of teams, explaining how they are a carefully crafted bunch. “[Lee’s] character is very private and much the same with Hobbs. Whereas Vanessa is one of those people who people just tell them personal secrets, but is then being told off about the structure in the next moment.”
Katherine added: “Hobbs has picked a particular team who don’t double up. Everyone is there for a reason. A good detective knowns what they’re lacking in. It’s interesting to see who she puts in.”
Speaking about the second UK episode in which Hobbs interviews Stacey, Katherine reflected: “Usually a boss like this wouldn’t go in, she would always be in the observation room watching. The fact she chooses in to go to talk to Hayley Atwell’s character is a big decision in itself. It’s like a chess game.”
Criminal is available to stream on Netflix.