Anne-Marie Duff (Susannah)
Why did you want to get involved in Suspect?
It was such a good idea – and also, just being a greedy actor, everybody wants to do more of what they do. I’ve also known Jimmy Nesbitt (playing Danny) for a super long time, so it was lovely to think we could work together at last. I was very quick to say yes.
How was James to work with after all this time?
He was great, very focused because of the nature of what he had to do and his huge workload, which was not to be underestimated. He just had to stay as focused as he could and conserve his energy. It was heroic.
How would you describe Susanna?
She is Danny’s ex-wife and a psychologist who works with different techniques like hypnotherapy. They have a daughter together, Christina (Imogen King) and their relationship is complex. When they see each other in the series, they have two tanks: one full of grief over the loss of their daughter, the other full of all kinds of unresolved issues around failing relationships. When he walks in and they see each other, you know they haven’t seen each other properly for a while, so it’s swollen with all kinds of energy.
Why did their marriage fail?
It feels like it was a lot to do with his line of work and the fact that he’s quite emotionally unavailable, especially given that she is articulate in that language. Susanna also really feels that Danny failed Christina because of his absence, physical and emotional, although she has learned to live with her anger.
From their chemistry on screen, it looks like it was once a good marriage.
The challenge with stories about divorced or separated people is that you should be able to still see that they were once married. Trauma is profoundly intimate. Nothing glues us together more than going through something, even though it might then render us completely separate afterwards. When we’re in the eye of the storm, we are glued to each other, aren’t we? The things that draw us to each other cannot necessarily always be joyful things.
How was Susanna’s relationship with Christina?
Good, I think, although it wasn’t a fairy tale – it had its own complications. Susanna is very vocational, too. She is very devoted to her own work, so that might have been tricky when Christina was younger, but it doesn’t feel like she feels she has a debt to her. They were definitely the more successful parent- child relationship.
Was it a particularly intense shoot?
It was a concentrated environment because there was just two actors, which I guess did mean it was more focused. But that helped, because it was a bit like doing a play, staying in the zone because you needed to. And because we rehearsed and played it chronologically, you never had to be reminded of where you were or lost sight of yourself. You knew and felt every moment. It was a real luxury.
How did you enjoy working with the director, Dries Vos?
From the top down, everyone felt absolutely invested in the project, all the more so because we had that rehearsal time. It was a really specific and forensic approach, which is my cup of tea, and it was shot sumptuously, very different to a lot of crime drama.
Where did you film your scenes?
In an old building that had been used for medical testing. It had that municipal vibe. You could film anything in that building: a council office, a hospital… It was nobody’s home, so you came in and felt like you were passing through, which was very appropriate for both of us in that storyline.
I’m in rehearsals on a brilliant new play at the Almeida that I was supposed to do at the beginning of lockdown called The House of Shades, and I’ve got a 10-part TV show called Bad Sisters from Sharon Horgan coming out on Apple TV+ later this year.
When veteran detective, Danny Frater, turns up at a hospital mortuary for what he thinks is a routine ID check, he gets a devastating shock; the deceased – a young woman – turns out to be his estranged daughter, Christina, and according to the post-mortem report, she’s taken her own life. Although the medical evidence points overwhelmingly to suicide, Danny refuses to accept the findings of the autopsy, and he sets out on a chaotic and often agonising crusade to discover what really happened to his daughter. Over the course of 24-hours, and through a series of intense exchanges with those
closest to Christina – her partner, her best friend, her business partner, her godfather, her mentor, and her mother (and Danny’s ex-wife) – he learns about her increasingly dark and complicated life comes face-to-face with his own failings as a man and a father and the part they may have played in her demise. Struggling to make sense of a mass of contradictory testimony and circumstantial evidence, Danny must decide who, if anyone, is responsible for Christina’s death and what he’s going to do about it.
Suspect kicks off with a double bill on Sunday, June 19, 2022, at 9pm and 9.30pm on Channel 4.
Each episode is half an hour long, with each one featuring a different character as Danny tries to unravel the truth about his daughter’s death.