Ciarán Hinds plays Detective Chief Inspector James Langton

Look at me, DCI Langton!

..."I have never done anything within this genre apart from Prime Suspect".

Ciarán Hinds was lured back to British television drama by the offer of a leading role in Lynda La Plante's latest drama.

He returned from the Broadway stage where he had been starring in The Seafarer to take the role of the tough talking detective James Langton.

"I have known Lynda La Plante for many years and I was in one of her early Prime Suspects. She is a prolific writer.

"I played Edward Parker-Jones, a character on the opposite side of the law in Prime Suspect 3 in 1993. Most of my television work has been the classics like Thomas Hardy, Bronte and Austen.

"I have never done anything within this genre apart from Prime Suspect. It is good to be in a different genre, a different rhythm."

Working on Above Suspicion also meant Ciarán was reunited with Kelly Reilly who he had starred with on the Dublin stage in Anton Chekhov's Lady with Lap Dog, and director Christopher Menaul who had directed the first Prime Suspect.

"Kelly and I met and worked closely together on a Chekhov play, a two hander, in Ireland. It was a delicate, sensitive piece, and we performed it in Dublin for four weeks. We kept in touch after finishing the play.

"Who'd have thought we would be playing coppers together six years after doing Chekhov."

Ciarán's last performance in British television drama was playing Julius Caesar in the BBC series Rome.

"It is a shame I had to lay down my wreath – the emperor's laurels as Julius Caesar. It was a great role but then you had to go home to normal things like putting on the kettle. The fantasy of the day job compared to the reality."

In Above Suspicion Ciarán plays the headstrong and volatile Detective Chief Inspector James Langton, who is leading a major inquiry into a series of murders of prostitutes. He is convinced a serial killer is on the loose, and adamant that the death of a pretty young student is also linked to the crimes.

"Langton is a very confident man, unlike us most of the time. We pretend to be confident. We have all these devils in us! He has a certain arrogance about him because he is a detective chief inspector so he is very confident about what he does.  He is very determined to get to the root of what he believes is a serial killer.

"He doesn't pull any punches. He is a strong, direct man. So when he goes in, there is nothing particularly subtle about his ways."

Neither is Langton particularly sensitive towards rookie detective Anna Travis as she tries to cope with her first murder inquiry.

"Langton asks for Anna Travis specially to cover for one of his team who is off sick, because she is the daughter of a very well respected detective.

"But there's no words of welcome or showing Travis how the team operates. He puts her straight to work. He puts her into situations that you look at and think they are a bit extreme, and you think why would you put your trust in somebody who would do this?

"But he is using his instinct, believing there are things that are handed down, and she will be able to cope.

"He even makes light of the fact that she is sick when she sees her first body. He is saying 'get over it because you haven't seen anything yet'. It is about what people have to go through to be able to look at things in a professional and analytical manner. But this goes way beyond what anyone can deal with.

"This suspect has been preying on older women, prostitutes. There is something which has psychologically damaged this guy. But Langton knows when a young student is killed that it touches the core of the man he once was before he became a hardened professional cop.

"They have a time frame on this investigation. If they don't sort this out straight away the finances will be pulled. All those cases will be packed up and put away. Langton's sense of pride drives him to get a result."

...Ciarán welcomed the opportunity to play such a ruthless character.
Ciarán welcomed the opportunity to play such a ruthless character.

"It is strange because it is not my usual sort of role. I usually play characters who move around a bit more, asking if everyone is OK. But in Above Suspicion I stomp into offices and order people around. It is quite intense.

"The job is to put yourself into a frame of mind and hope that you are in the right place.

"I once played the president of Russia in a film The Sum of All Fears. I got a message on my answer phone from a friend who said 'do you not think the poor people of Russia have suffered enough without you as their president?'! That sort of summed it up. It is that fantasy and you have to convince people, that is your job."

After starring in The Seafarer on Broadway Ciarán went on to make a Disney film, Race to Witch Mountain.

His other film credits include Calendar Girls, The Road to Perdition. Lara Croft Tomb Raiders, Miami Vice, Munich, and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day.

Ciarán's recent television credits include Rome, The Mayor of Casterbridge, Jane Eyre and Cold Lazarus.

Source: ITV official press-kit
Date: November 7, 2008

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