Line of Duty

A hard-hitting new thriller series explores the world of police corruption

Interview with Vicky McClure (DC Kate Fleming)

Category: BBC Two
DC Kate Fleming is on first appearance an ambitious and dedicated officer intent on joining TO-20. However, her motive for getting close to Gates is not all it seems.

How are we first introduced to DC Kate Fleming?

My character starts off by basically trying to edge her way into Gates’ unit – TO-20. It’s a very heavily male based team and she knows she’s got to work her way around it, but she wants to become part of TO-20. There’s another girl there that got the same intentions but she just doesn’t have the kind of balls that Fleming has to do it, so she beats her to it. And that’s just another way of showing the difficulty of being a woman in that team. They need to even it out a bit, so it gives her more of a chance to get in there and she uses her charm and intelligence to push her way through.

What do you think Gates sees in Kate? Why does he give her the opportunity?

I think he can tell that she’s strong and she could actually be quite useful to the team, but I think in the long run he basically just needs a woman on the team because he’s been told that it’s quite sexist that TO-20 is heavily male based. So it’s convenience that she sort of pops up, but I think he can tell that she’s got a bit of an edge to her too and that she’s intelligent enough to take on the job. I think ultimately he doesn’t see anything else in her other than that at that point.

How much research did you do into the part?

I didn’t do masses of research because Jed’s writing is so strong. For me to research and understand the police force to that extent, you can’t do in a couple of sessions by talking to a few police officers. Also for me I think Line of Duty is character based. There is a little bit of spiel and police talk, and obviously the whole drama is set around fighting crimes, but ultimately it’s the characters that you’re following. And I just wanted to keep Fleming as real as possible - not confuse her too much with the intentions and all the jargon. But funnily enough, I’ve done some work with Nottingham police just before we started shooting, and I said that I was going to do the show. So they gave me a few little hints and tips.

How did this part come about?

I auditioned at the back end of the auditions, so when I went in to audition, they were recalling the Arnotts. I went in and read with a couple of the people who were recalled for his job, and I got it after that audition. When I watch cop shows, I really enjoy them because you can really follow the story and get involved, and the characters are always really interesting. What I tried to do in my audition with Fleming is just not be too complicated in terms of putting on that police act. I kept it really natural knowing that she has just got a job to do and like everybody else, she goes to home at night.

What Fleming’s relationship like with Gates?

She is a player. He’ll be slightly flirtatious towards her and she’ll basically just go with it because she knows she’s got to play him at his own game really. You know she’s a clever girl and she uses her womanly ways I suppose to her advantage. There’s a really good scene with Fleming and Gates in the bar where he’s being quite open with her and she puts her guards down a bit. I think then you see she has a little bit of empathy for him, but ultimately she’s got her job to do.

How was it working with the other cast?

I can’t even tell you how much fun we had. I don’t know if we were allowed to have that much fun but we did. It was Craig, Neil, me, Martin and Lennie - and it was like boys - I did turn into a boy for three months. There were a lot of beers and curries and football banter and I just had the best time. I just became one of the lads, and yeah we had a lot of fun on set. A lot of people try and keep in touch after work ends and often you don’t because there’s just not enough time, but we have all stayed in touch.

How did you find working with Jed Mercurio who was the creator as well as the producer?

I just found it really helpful having him around. The scripts were so strong; there was never really any need, for instance, to challenge them. There were no sorts of gaps in a way when you thought ‘well I’m a bit confused, why is that happening?’ It was more a case that he could give you a little bit more insight to his vision and how you get there - and just pick you up on certain things. Jed’s an extremely talented guy and he’s really good fun to work with as well.

Was playing a police officer always something you’d wanted to do?

The reason I took the part wasn’t actually anything to do with that. I mean, every job I take, I never think ‘oh I want to play that or I want to play that’, it always comes down to the part, the script and what part I play in it - and I just really liked Fleming. She’s the sort of character that I’d like to play in a cop drama, and the script was just amazing, the cast is amazing, and it was a no brainer. It really was a no brainer.

And finally do you get to do a lot of action stunts?

I get a few! There’s one that I really enjoyed where it involved me throwing something and there was quite a lot of shattered glass. I was told that I’d get a few takes because there was so many glass panels that we got made, but I believe we did it in one take - so that was good!