"The thing you hate the most is the thing you fear in yourself"
Conviction, a pacy, dark and innovative new drama, is one of three
new dramas commissioned by BBC THREE - alongside Bodies and Outlaws
- that challenge popular genres and turn them inside out to give a fresh,
new and thought-provoking perspective on life in the police force.
It is also the latest in a long line of critically-acclaimed dramas
from the Red Production Company stable, including The Second Coming,
Clocking Off and Queer as Folk.
Conviction explores the notion that everyone has the ability to kill
and what it is that can trigger that reaction in any of us.
Brothers Chrissie and Ray played by William Ash (Burn It) and
Nicholas Gleaves (Playing The Field) are part of a team of CID
officers who have a constant battle against a growing sense of vigilantism
on their patch.
However, the murder of a 12-year-old girl heightens the tensions and
leaves her local community shell-shocked and intent on revenge.
As the public clamour for justice, the distinction between right and
wrong becomes all too easily blurred.
Those involved in the murder investigation take ever more dangerous
steps in their efforts to bring it to a conclusion, until two of them
take things a step too far
This is the hothouse environment where we meet Conviction's central
family. Both Chrissie and Ray are on the team investigating the murder
of 'Little Angela'.
Their sister Beth (Zoe Henry, Emmerdale) is the single-minded
lawyer representing the prime suspect, whilst their father Lenny (David
Warner, Titanic) is a retired police officer who berates the political
correctness of their modern methods.
He is in the early stages of Alzheimer's, which adds extra pressure
to the hectic lives of his family as he struggles to come to terms with
the fact that he can no longer be the strong and authoritative head
of the family.
The rest of the investigating team comprises the reckless Joe (Ian
Puleston-Davies, My Beautiful Son), an 'old school' CID officer
and committed family man whose loving family are the only restraint
on his barely contained temper.
He bullies the younger, impressionable Chrissie and runs into conflict
with Ray, who prefers to run things by the book.
Insightful loner Robert (Reece Dinsdale, ID) is mocked as 'Obi-Wan
Kenobi' by the others, but he often comes closer than anyone to discovering
Completing the team, the feisty and determined Lucy (Laura Fraser,
He Knew He Was Right) wants to prove herself and play by the rules,
but is on the brink of a dangerous relationship with a police informant.
Both blackly humorous and at times disturbing, Conviction is written
by Bill Gallagher (Clocking Off and Out Of The Blue) and has
bold storytelling at its heart.
Using flash backs and fast forwards, interlinking time and obscuring
the line between reality and fantasy, it is driven by a daring and inventive
Conviction uses the volatile and dangerous world of the CID as a backdrop
to show how a group of very real characters are affected practically,
mentally and emotionally by what they have to face on a daily basis.
It's also about the resilience and humour of family and friends as
they too deal with the psychological fall out.
Producer Ann Harrison-Baxter explains: "The difference about Conviction
to certain other police shows lies in the story telling and the characterisation.
"As much as it is about the group of detectives, it is also equally
about these people's families and their friends.
"We go outside of the work place and look very closely at how
the work of a detective, and more specifically Joe and Chrissie's part
in the investigations, impact on their home life.
"They are detectives, they work for the police force, but first
and foremost they are human beings like you and I and although they
are meant to be the upholders of morality and good, they are human and
they do have emotions and sometimes those emotions get the better of
"The majority of crime dramas are very black and white, good versus
evil, and the police represent good. But life isn't actually like that
it's very grey in all those areas of morality.
"Bill has taken a genre and a group of characters that are portrayed
in a particular way in British drama, and turns it all on its head."
Executive producer of Conviction and founder of Red Production Company,
Nicola Shindler, agrees: "I think that Conviction is more of a
'whydunnit' not 'whodunnit' because it looks at people's psyche.
"It takes apart the idea that there are 'good' and 'evil' people
in the world - it shows that things are not as black and white as that.
"Bill and I worked on Clocking Off together and we both talked
about our desire to make a really good, really different cop show.
"I admired a series that Bill co-wrote called Out Of The Blue.
"We talked about the American series that had influenced us and
Bill came up with a basic idea about an incident involving two policemen
which severely affects their life both at work and at home and, from
that, we developed the idea about a family who worked in the police
Writer and creator Bill Gallagher continues: "I wanted to write
a police drama that I would like to watch. One that would thrill me
and disturb me. One that would shake me up and be about subjects that
really matter, not just the stories, but the way that the stories are
"I tried to take the characters to places that they wouldn't want
to go, were scared to go and to see what happened. I wanted to try and
take a daring and confrontational approach."
"This wasn't me and Marc (Munden, the director) indulging some
arty idea but looking for ways to crank up the tension, to delight in
the storytelling and keep the thing moving at a real pace.
"Sometimes we have to hang on for two or three scenes until it
adds up, 'till the pieces slot together. But when we get there, it's
more fulfilling than having it handed to us on a plate.
"This series isn't based on any particular crime or case, but
on what I feel is in the air, how we react when awful crimes happen.
"We live in angry times and I wanted to build Conviction around
how people feel, how they react, how they relate and why.
"I hope it's authentic - we have done our research - but more
than that I hope this stirs our emotions and our thoughts."
Conviction follows hot-on-the-heels of BBC THREE's two other new genre-busting
dramas Bodies and Outlaws.
Over the past 18 months, since its launch, BBC THREE has developed
a reputation for innovative and groundbreaking comedy and now hopes
to do the same for drama.
BBC THREE Controller, Stuart Murphy, explains: "I hope our new
dramas for the autumn will continue to demonstrate that on BBC THREE
we aim to bring much more complex, sophisticated and involving British
drama to digital audiences and our ambition is to explore characters
and issues in an utterly distinctive way."
Gareth Neame, Head of Drama Commissioning at the BBC, adds: "Conviction
- like Bodies and Outlaws is perfect for a BBC THREE audience.
"Like a House Of Mirrors, each of these dramas takes a familiar
subject matter and inverts and distorts it, resulting in a fresh, edgy
and innovative approach."
Conviction is a Red Production Company production for the BBC, written
by Bill Gallagher (Clocking Off, Out Of The Blue), directed by Marc
Munden (Vanity Fair, Canterbury Tales: The Knight's Tale) and produced
by Ann Harrison-Baxter (The Second Coming, The Cops).
The executive producers are Nicola Shindler for Red Production Company
and Gareth Neame for the BBC.