Holliday Grainger plays Robin Ellacott
Holliday Grainger plays Robin Ellacott in Strike - Career Of Evil, the third story in the BBC One Strike series, based on J.K. Rowling’s best-selling crime novels written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.
Career Of Evil is a lot darker and this time it’s set on the London streets. We’re not in the publishing houses or lofty supermodel apartments - we’re in bedsits in Catford
At the end of The Silkworm, Robin finally get the partnership with Strike - where is she in Career Of Evil?
Strike pays for her to do a surveillance course, between Silkworm and Career Of Evil, so by the time we’re in Career Of Evil, Robin has some more detective skills than she had in the beginning. So she’s come on in leaps and bounds in her aptitude for the job. Within that, as a detective partner, she has the freedom to make her own decisions in the business. But Strike is the boss it’s his company, but he’s also been doing this for years and years and Robin’s only just started.
Because she’s passionate and because she’s got strong morals she has a tendency, in Career Of Evil, to feel she isn't able to follow what Strike’s saying, because she wants to be able to do what she feels is right.
What do you think makes Career Of Evil different to the other two stories, in terms of narrative?
All three books are set in London, but they focus on different aspects of London, and therefore how Robin and Strike fit in to those worlds. Career Of Evil is a lot darker and this time it’s set on the London streets. We’re not in the publishing houses or lofty supermodel apartments - we’re in bedsits in Catford
Through that story, a lot of Strike’s and Robin’s back stories come out and Strike’s involvement with the Army and the various men that he’s met throughout his career. The same with Robin, her past history comes out, so it feels a lot more personal and a lot darker. Career Of Evil feels closer to the bone.
Do you think that the scene where the leg arrives sets the tone for the audience?
Yes! Straight away there’s a severed leg in the post, a woman’s severed leg. You can’t get much more threatening than that. The way in which Strike and Robin deal with it definitely sets the tone for the rest of the story.
Was it interesting to take the show out of London and did it change the dynamic between Robin and Strike?
On our first week we went up North on a road trip, and so it broke us into the tone of a new book, by giving us that break while we were shooting. Strike and Robin, outside of that London world, do feel very different, and that’s where they learn more about each other. Their relationship dynamic changes once they’re out of the office.
And you get to do a bit of driving?
Yes oh I love that Land Rover, I fell in love with it.
That’s a great description in the book, where it says Robin was the only person whom Strike could stand to be driven by.
That’s what you really love about Robin even more, she’s really practical and she can drive really well. She took an advanced driving course, she’s so cool.
The Land Rover that she has in Career Of Evil is fantastic. Every detective series has to have a cool car. Robin brings it to Career Of Evil in the shape of a battered old 60s Land Rover. When we opened it, it literally did have straw on the floor and did smell like dogs and horses.
It’s really hard to drive because it’s so old, but once I got the knack of it I loved it. I loved it more because Robin’s supposed to be a great driver. I’m not. But this Landrover was very specific in how you drove it and the gears were quite difficult. If anyone else would get into the car to re-set it, they couldn’t put it in reverse. I was like, don’t worry love, I’ll re-set the car!
It made me feel one step closer to Robin, bonding with her car.
What were your favourite scenes in Career Of Evil?
There’s something quite fun about going from long, emotional scenes where you’re sitting crying, and then the next day you’re doing stunts and running through the streets and driving a car around, like you’re doing an action movie. That kind of juxtaposition is fun.
Are you excited that a fourth book in the series has been confirmed?
Yes! Definitely about the Robin and Strike dynamic and their relationship, where does it go next?
All three books so far have been set in very different worlds, but all in London, it’ll be interesting to see where the next one is.