Focussing on tough-talking Jo McDonagh, crime drama Red Cap provides a gritty insight into the Army's elite Special Investigation Branch (SIB).
The SIB is charged with one of the most sensitive and demanding military jobs: the investigation of serious crimes committed by or against members of the British Army.
And, as Jo (Tamzin Outhwaite) soon finds out, the SIB is very much a man's world.
Jo has a task proving her worth in the SIB, with her tough and cynical boss Sergeant Major Kenneth Burns (Douglas Hodge) and Staff Sergeant Philip Roper (James Thornton) seeming keen to reinforce the macho stereotype. At least understanding team player Sergeant Bruce Hornsby (Gordon Kennedy) cuts Jo some slack.
But these obstacles only make Jo's desire to impress and succeed more acute.
During the two series of Red Cap, Jo and the SIB team find themselves involved in the murky underworlds of drug and gun-related crime, murder and human trafficking, espionage and political cover-up, and terrorism.
Running alongside the crimes and the investigations are the continued tensions and power struggles within the SIB itself.
The challenges of playing Jo proved a far cry from Tamzin Outhwaite's role of Melanie in EastEnders. She spent a week familiarising herself with Army life at the Reserve Training and Mobilisation Centre in Chilwell, Nottingham. Training included unarmed combat, 9mm pistol training, driving, drill, and understanding the Army's labyrinthine hierarchical structure.
Red Cap's creator and writer, Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Patrick Harbinson, was in the army himself and wrote 15 episodes of the hugely popular ITV series Soldier Soldier. He has also worked on ER, Hornblower and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.
With such experience, Patrick infuses Red Cap with a tangible sense of realism.
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