By Any Means: Blurring the lines of the law

Actress

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By Any Means is an action crime drama which focuses on the dealings of an underground justice department operating covertly within London.

The exact identity of the team is deliberately unknown, it's anonymity is a privilege which allows the team to function so freely.

They are called into action and briefed by Helen Barlow (played by Gina McKee) who is connected with the police but they come into their own when police powers have somehow failed.

It's never specified who employs them or how they get paid and even though it often blurs the lines of the law this clandestine outfit definitely holds true morality at its heart.

Jessica (Shelley Conn) has no qualms about how the team deals with crooks

This monochromatic approach to right and wrong is something that really appealed to me about the character I play, Jessica Jones.

She never questions the need to lock these criminals away and can be pretty ruthless, often joking about a nastier punishment for the team's subjects. In fact I sometimes think she's not joking.

It’s interesting to play someone with unwavering determination, but for me the really interesting thing is to discover the character's secrets, why she relishes the demise of the criminals.

Role-playing is Jessica’s particular skill, she adopts different characters with ease and enjoys the process.

She's the only female within the team so there are certain tasks only she can undertake and this is fine by Jessica.

She can keep up with the boys' banter but also feels secure enough with them to be vulnerable. My personal experience of working with the other actors wasn't too dissimilar.

We were like siblings and found a shared humour and love of music that created a pretty unique bond. Get Lucky by Daft Punk featuring Pharrell will always remind me of summer on the By Any Means set in 2013.

This camaraderie is something I think the writers warmed to and began to weave more banter through the script as the series progressed.

The unique dynamic of the team is where much of the programme's originality lies and I'm sure the creators will continue to develop this. I'd also hope the show would see more action sequences.

The gang's daring plan receives a brutal setback

The physical aspect of the team's story grows as the series develops and it's something we all enjoy and feel pretty capable of making work.

There was a scene in episode five where Jessica is attacked by the criminal the team is pursuing. She holds her own, fights back and regains control.

This physical capability adds another layer to Jessica's character. It empowers her and as an actress this is a great discovery and fun to play.

I felt very honoured to be asked to be part of this production, it's been a while since I'd done a series for British television and it's a comfortable, familiar place to be.

It's always fun to go wherever your work takes you, but it's lovely to be home!

Shelley Conn plays Jessica Jones in By Any Means.

By Any Means continues on Sunday, 13 October at 9pm on BBC One and BBC One HD. For further programme times please see the episode guide.

Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.

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  • Comment number 40. Posted by Stop_it_Aggers

    on 15 Nov 2013 14:47

    There's a reason why they've gone with a formula of 3 parts Hustle, 1 part Spooks, with a splash of the A-Team and Charlie's Angels - it's a formula that works. In this case most of the ingredients are there but the recipe still isn't quite right. The basic problem is that BAM can't quite work out what it is - is it a light-hearted caper like the A-Team or Hustle, or is it trying to Be More Serious?

    If the former then you can get away with implausible plotlines because you're having so much fun, but they jar in the context of something grittier. Since the writers aren't clever enough to do a Christie/Conan Doyle and leave all the clues in plain sight, they're probably better off going the caper route and leave the more Spooksy stuff to the likes of Hunted. Shame in a way, because there was the germ of something with the whole corruption in high places thing, but I'm not convinced these writers are good enough to pull it off, they rely too heavily on deus ex machina to resolve the plot holes. Oh, and Gina McKee's dourness is another thing that jars, compare with the barman in Hustle who bookended each episode with a lighter moment.

    Another thing that jars is the gratuitous violence (particularly in the last episode). I'll watch Tarantino films with the best of them, but look-away gore just doesn't really fit with the tone of BAM - and I'm not sure it's really right for the time slot either, it's not what I'm looking for on a Sunday night. It's worrying that the BBC's sensibilities seem to be moving towards those of Alabama - quite extreme violence is tolerated soon after the watershed, but nudity in the White Queen gets bowdlerised in the same timeslot. Might I remind those who decide these things that viewers see a naked body every time they get in the shower, and may even have sex occasionally - but most of us don't beat people to a pulp. Guess which we're more comfortable with seeing on screen?

    The sense of camaraderie is vital to this kind of show and it did get noticeably better through the series. The script lets down some decent actors - perhaps they need a woman on the writing team to make Shelley more than just a redshirt in a frock? Could do with another strong woman character along the lines of Jaime Murray in Hustle - or Kelly Adams would do. And if viewers want to see someone looking at a screen, they can just look in a mirror - hacking is pretty dull at the best of times, and too much abracadabra network access just grates. TomTom needs to get out more, give him some gadgets in the field. Fact is often stranger than fiction in this area, for instance TV people really don't seem to have grasped the dramatic possibilities of the civil use of drones. The Army has hundreds of finger-sized Black Hornet helicopters for surveillance, and a British spy "rock" caused a diplomatic incident in Moscow. There must be lots of potential in that kind of thing, given the BAM team's access to the authorities.

    I'd also second the comments about embracing Brum a bit more. I understand the pressure to make overseas sales by setting series in "Everyville", but you don't achieve that by making the setting too generic, the great series from Cheers to Taggart used their very specific locations to impart a realism that allowed them to say something universal.

    Sure it's hokum, and it needs to work out what it's about, and the scripts need work, but it's not irretrievably bad - there's the kernel of something decent in there.

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  • Comment number 39. Posted by pipandtinker

    on 7 Nov 2013 09:46

    This is one of the best series I've seen for ages. It taps into the, largely unspoken, view of what we'd all like to do to drug dealers, rapist, murderers and so on. Every day we listen to the news we cry out in despair at the paltry sentences criminals seems to get these days, exacerbated by the fact we know they will only serve a fraction of the term. I can't believe previous posters think it better than Whitechapel, which for my money is a load of tosh. Hope there is a second series, and third, and.....

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  • Comment number 38. Posted by Fiona Wickham - BBC TV blog editor

    on 4 Nov 2013 11:41

    Hello martin,
    Your comment at #22 was initially removed by the moderators because it appeared to be offensive at first sight. Thanks for flagging it to us. I've since reviewed your comment along with the episode and asked the moderators to reinstate it. I'm sorry for the inconvenience - thanks for posting.

  • Comment number 37. Posted by bill

    on 30 Oct 2013 01:43

    this is a great series its a shame theres no real life team like this or is there lol ,great acting guys oh and girl lol

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  • Comment number 36. Posted by pat

    on 28 Oct 2013 19:36

    This series was one of the best programmes ive seen in a long time. The characters were all brilliant and the story lines really great. i hope well be seeing another series .

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  • Comment number 35. Posted by Mike

    on 28 Oct 2013 18:14

    Best new BBC series for a long while, pity it was only 6 episodes. Hope for more soon.

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  • Comment number 34. Posted by Byanymeans9585

    on 28 Oct 2013 17:44

    last episode dose the drug dealing die

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  • Comment number 33. Posted by RLFielding

    on 28 Oct 2013 16:43

    I really hope you run some more 'By any means'. My wife and I enjoyed all of them, and found every one was quite different, particularly the last one, which blew us both away. I took from it the message that with some criminals such as dealers, the law is inadequate to deal with such ruthlessness. Unfortunately, I found myself shouting 'Shoot the bast**rd' at the TV, which isn't the reaction of a rational person. We should leave these people to the due process of law, shouldn't we? However, I thought the despicable side of these people was amazingly well written and portrayed. I congratuale all concerned and can't wait for the next series. Many thanks

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  • Comment number 32. Posted by csm

    on 28 Oct 2013 16:36

    I have really enjoyed this programme. Great for a Sunday instead of another period drama. Love the humour and one liners - please commission another series.

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  • Comment number 31. Posted by Cindy

    on 28 Oct 2013 10:39

    I love "By Any Means", it is very watchable. Both the story lines and the acting are really good. The actors in this programme are great and I have seen them in many other programmes. BBC please do another series - don't give up like you did with Spooks (also an amazing series with fantastic acting, although I was somewhat annoyed when you 'killed off' Rupert Penry-Jones).

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