Created and written by Tony Saint (Margaret Thatcher: Long Walk To Finchley, Strike Back) and directed by Farren Blackburn (Luther, The Fades, The Musketeers), The Interceptor is a gripping eight-part series about a state-of-the-art law enforcement team whose unswerving mission is to hunt down some of Britain’s most dangerous criminals.
The Interceptor delves into the adventures of a dedicated surveillance team known as the UNIT. Keeping their quarries under ultra-tight surveillance, they take us into the real world inhabited by the criminals of today. And it’s easy to recognise because it’s the same world the rest of us inhabit.
O-T Fagbenle (Looking, Thorne, Walter’s War) leads the cast as Ash, whose dream of bringing down the biggest fish in the criminal underworld comes a step closer when he's recruited to the UNIT. His knowledge of the street could be priceless, but with it comes an uncompromising way of doing things, and it ultimately forces Ash into a life-changing predicament: how far is he prepared to go to keep the streets safe for others at the risk of causing irreparable damage to his own life?
Jo Joyner (Ordinary Lies, Trying Again, EastEnders) plays Lorna, Ash’s feisty wife and mother to their two children, while Robert Lonsdale (From Here to Eternity) plays Tommy, his irreverent and adrenaline-loving partner and best mate. Anna Skellern (Heading Out, Lip Service), Charlie De Melo (Innocence), Ewan Stewart (Titanic), Lorraine Ashbourne (Playing The Field, The Selfish Giant) make up the UNIT.
On the other side, Trevor Eve (Death Comes To Pemberley, Waking The Dead) stars as ruthless criminal Roach, Ash’s ultimate target, working alongside Docker and Xavier, played respectively by Gary Beadle (EastEnders) and Lee Boardman (Da Vinci’s Demons, Inspector George Gently).
The Interceptor is co-produced by BBC Drama Production and BBC Worldwide Productions for BBC One.
The Executive Producers are Sarah Brown (Oliver Twist, Lark Rise To Candleford) and Tony Saint. The series is produced by Patrick Schweitzer (Doctor Who, Whitechapel).
Ash Ash is a committed individual – it’s only our good fortune that he falls on the right side of the law. He would have brought just as much commitment to being a wrong’un if that’s how the chips had fallen, and they came pretty close. Trouble at home, bad associations and adolescent skirmishes with the law were taking Ash down a well-worn path. But it was getting together with his feisty but responsible girlfriend Lorna that straightened him out and helped him channel his energies into a career with plain-clothes Customs. There’s no question that Ash has put his background on the wrong side of the tracks to good use. His antenna for the street, the ability to know what crime looks and smells like, is unparalleled. It’s his ‘special power’ and the single biggest asset he’d brought both to Customs and now the UNIT.
Ash loves the job. In the early days it was about the excitement, but over time, winning the game and securing convictions has become more and more important, the terms by which he defines himself. Joining the UNIT makes the dream of catching the big fish a reality and the bigger the fish, the more Ash instinctively wants to haul it in, despite the personal compromises it might entail. With his obsession must come some difficult choices. He’s about to find himself accelerating headlong into the unavoidable truth. By the time he knows it, is he in too deep...?
Tommy Tommy and Ash have plenty in common. He loves the craic of their Customs work, the physical side of the hunt and the banter, but worries less about the big-picture crime that consumes his older colleague. When an incident leads Tommy to follow in Ash’s footsteps and join the UNIT, he’s grateful for the opportunity but it soon turns out not to be an easy decision. He’s one of life’s doers, not eavesdroppers, and it especially hurts when he has to look on as Ash integrates himself well into the ground surveillance team.
However, there’s an absorbing side to the work that Tommy’s surprised to find he enjoys, making sense of the backslang and piecing together the complex network of players and pawns. There’s no killing the boy racer off completely but gradually his role in the UNIT, and the work it requires, begins to change Tommy. But he’s surprised most of all by the question that he’s asking himself. Is life in the UNIT with all its risks what he really wants? After everything’s that happened to him, does he still have the bottle for it?
Kim All-action and attractive with it, Kim can more than handle herself. The daughter of a senior NATO officer and sister to three soldier brothers, she spent large parts of her childhood on bases abroad and disappointed her father by rejecting an embryonic military career to join the Flying Squad. Having to compete with the boys has forged a confidence and self-assurance that nobody can knock. She puts men firmly in the ‘fun’ compartment of life and her critics would say she understands what men want for a night but that’s where it ends. So it’s not surprising that she tends to favour the ‘bad boy’ types – it’s easier to start and end something with that kind of guy.
Her attitude is consistent, with a straight, sometimes dogmatic approach to nearly everything, and she can act pretty tough towards people who she thinks deserves it. Even so, anyone who knows her, recognises a softer side, even if it’s something she doesn’t like being pointed out. Kim acts on instinct and that’s what makes her a brilliant partner in the field when split-second calls have to be made. If you’re on her side, she’ll lay it all on the line for you. But her instant decision-making doesn’t necessarily translate to her private life - she doesn’t always think about the longer-term ramifications of what her heart tells her to do.
Martin Martin is Ex-MI6 but became disillusioned with a service that didn’t live up to his romantic idea of it. However, his training and acumen as a surveillance officer caught Cartwright’s attention and an opportunity at the UNIT followed. That said, burdened with all the comfortable certainties of his middle class background, Martin was always going to find the transition to a street-level team like the UNIT challenging, maybe more because of his colleagues than the marks they’re after. But he’s committed, and with his close surveillance and technological skills, he became an invaluable member of the team.
However, he’s not pretending that the UNIT is the be-all and end-all of his career. It’s a rung on a ladder. More than any other member of the team, he sees a life post the UNIT. It’s that approach that contributes to the initial character clash with Ash. Not a natural improviser, he’s prone to criticise Ash as ‘reckless’ but he holds his own and maintains respect thanks to giving as good as he gets and a courage when the chips are down. But for Martin, life with the UNIT is eye-opening as he starts to share an understanding of the ‘real world’ that the others understand more implicitly. Martin is quite the romantic when it comes to the right girl and he’s more than just smitten with Kim. Most importantly, he’s prepared to say the unsayable - impossible to win, is the war on drugs even worth fighting?
Valerie Ex-Customs, Valerie was there on Ash’s first day in Customs, and operated as his mentor during his training. For commitment and ability, she’s never met anyone like him. It didn’t take much time for her to recommend her old charge to Cartwright when Ash and Tommy stumbled into the middle of a UNIT operation. Catching Cartwright’s eye, Valerie was the first recruit to his new cause and can be fearless in sharing a few home truths with her boss. She’s de facto leader of the audio surveillance group but she’s certainly savvy and experienced enough to work in the field. She’s by no means a shrinking violet but does believe in manners and berating the others to keep the place tidy.
Valerie’s intuitive skills make her a natural shoulder to cry on. With her antennae always finely tuned, she often steps in to remind the UNIT members of each other’s value when feelings run high. Unmarried, Valerie’s bedrock is work, finding a family at the office on which to direct her maternal instincts. She’s proud of her colleagues’ strengths, and understanding of their weaknesses. She, more than anyone, knows that a team requires different characters with different skillsets and that it needs to be greater than the sum of its parts. With her natural optimism and commitment, nobody chooses to question her staying late every night, ignoring the possibility that it hides a melancholy life beyond the walls of the UNIT.
Cartwright Cartwright has one true belief - as long as there are drugs, there’ll be criminal activity around them, and he believes the law as it stands makes targeting the entity a more viable proposition than targeting individuals in order to make a serious dent in the drugs business. He knows it’s virtually impossible to get the big hitters at the top, but Cartwright envisages another kind of justice - the law of the jungle. If they can identify a network, hit it and keep hitting it, taking down product and the money that circulates it, then the process of natural selection that dictates the underworld will kick in. An organisation that loses its money and product will wither and die. The UNIT can make their lives tough, unbearable even, and keep doing it. But this strategy is contentious and it’s not one he necessarily shares with his team.
His focus means that he’s not above using people others might see as victims in order to further his aims, and that’s one area where conflicts can arise. This apparently ruthless streak is a symptom of battles fought and lost over the years. One in particular that’s still echoing saw him lock horns with senior Met officer Alistair Stannard. The recriminations between the two men have very much informed Cartwright’s view that certain elements of law enforcement are actually a hindrance to getting the right thing done. The establishment of the UNIT is also part of that philosophy but if it goes down, and Stannard for one would love to see that happen, then Cartwright goes down with it…
Lorna Lorna and Ash married young. She fell for the good-looking bad-boy Ash pretty hard when they were both at school. The fact that he was a wild child was almost certainly part of the appeal, as she spent much of her formative years in studied rebellion, trying to pull the rug out from under the certainties of her policeman dad, Ralph. Lorna and Ash got together at a time when he was close to falling into more trouble than he might have been able to get himself out of. But Ash was smart enough to realise that if he was lucky enough to get a girl like Lorna, he’d have to change his ways to keep her.
Lorna has the innate confidence not to need Ash by her side all the time, learnt from her experience of her parent’s relationship. She’s always understood his need for a buzz in his working life and has an unerring trust in his desire to do right by the family. She’s even daring to think that Ash will be slowing down. If only she knew the truth about what the UNIT means for Ash, she’d realise that Cartwright’s offer has come at the worst possible time. But the old spark is never far away; he can still make her laugh and that counts for a lot. She’ll always want to be with Ash, unless it reached the point where she stopped recognising him as the boy she fell in love with, or when he stopped being the man that her smile could still pull back from the brink...
Roach Existing in the vast hinterland between anonymous criminality and apparent respectability, Roach is the mystery face at the top of the board - the face both Ash and the UNIT know is there and are desperate to bring down. Roach is charismatic, ruthless and dangerous. Born in the East End before moving at a young age to the suburbs, Roach grew up with the duck-and-dive aesthetic of the East End securely hard-wired in. Roach likes money and what it could get him. And he likes it in his pocket, rolled up tight - no debt, no credit, no taxman. As with many before him, he drifted into the drugs business almost unwittingly, learning fast just how big the profits were. It didn’t take long for him to see that taking a piece of the action was a no-brainer, a way to make money with little risk.
His tentacles spread to dozens of front businesses, all used in the movement of drugs and money, and creating a tangle of paper trails which make his interest in them utterly untraceable. He never uses phones, only doing pre-arranged face-to-face meetings with his senior lieutenants. As long as they can be trusted, then he’s insulated. And that’s the beauty of the pyramid which the UNIT deduce – the more complicated the structure beneath him, the further any suspicion is removed from the man at the top. But the real key to Roach’s success is to remain unsuspected precisely by hiding in plain sight. He’s a model businessman with a high profile, and protects himself with the veneer of respectability. But despite everything he’s achieved in ‘business’, Roach still has ambition – something that pits him against Ash and sets them on a collision course across the series. It comes down to one thing – who’ll go further to come out on top?