‘Line of Duty’, which made its startling debut on BBC One earlier this week, is arguably best known for two distinct tropes in its story-handling - impeccable acting and knife-sharp dialogue, aside.
The first is the capacity to shock its audiences with twists that we couldn’t possibly have predicted, including killing off some of the screen’s most familiar faces long before their agents would have liked.
The second is its extraordinary, extended - unblinking, in Vicky McClure’s case - interview scenes, in which writer Jed Mercurio’s anti-corruption team AC-12 dance around the subject of their investigation, often a worthy adversary, hoping to catch them in a lie, and bring a proper case against them.
We’ve seen actors such as Lennie James, Mark Bonnar, Daniel Mays, Keeley Hawes and even ‘The Caddy’ himself, Craig Parkinson as the double-dealing Dot Cottan, weave and wave in a web of lies, and the actors have all described the scenes as the most challenging of the entire series to do.
In Sunday evening’s Series 3 opener, we were introduced to DCI Roz Huntley, played by Thandie Newton, the latest subject of AC-12’s interest after her arrest of a suspect for abduction was found to be flawed. Thandie is yet to have her extended moment in the interview room, but it must surely come before too long.
We also met her husband Nick, played by actor Lee Ingleby, who we might think is destined to play a supporting role in the series.
However, the actor, seen previously in ‘The A Word’ and ‘Inspector George Gently’, tells HuffPostUK he was dreading his own interview scene - which seems to imply his role is set to expand in coming weeks.
He doesn’t give us much more than that for now, saying only “it was a mini-one. I felt bad moaning about it because the other actors had a big one coming up the following day, about three times as long”.
Wow! How long’s a mini-one, Lee? “10 pages, which roughly translates to 10 minutes.”
That sounds pretty intense for a minor character, from where we’re sitting. It seems as though Nick Huntley will have a bigger part to play in proceedings than we might have anticipated. And we did see him fail to come home during the night of the arrest - has he blotted his copybook already, without anyone noticing?
Never mind that, though. “The others had a big one coming up... three times as long.” Even if Lee is exaggerating slightly, that still sounds like a whopper of a scene coming our way in the next few weeks. Stay tuned.
The other thing to note from this is that Martin Compston, who plays DS Arnott, is actually Scottish, but manages to stay in London accent the entire time.“It’s like a muscle you work, like going to the gym,” he explains. “We have these long interrogation scenes, I can’t be worrying about my accent, it has to be tuned.”
Lee also reflects on the difference between working on ‘Line of Duty’ and any other drama - “It’s the level at which the script is presented, the amount of detail. You really don’t have to do very much, it’s all on the page.
“However, you can’t lose your focus for a minute. You have to stay very, very sharp.”
‘Line of Duty’ continues on Sunday evening at 9pm on BBC One. Catch up on BBCiPlayer.