ITV’s major new drama series Identity launches next Monday (July 5th) with former Ashes to Ashes star Keeley Hawes and Queer as Folk’s Aidan Gillen starring as detectives working for an elite police unit tasked with combating identity-related crime.
Hawes plays team leader DSI Martha Lawson who hires Gillen’s ex-undercover cop John Bloom – the unit’s “secret weapon” – who knows first hand what it’s like to pretend to be someone you are not and is only too aware of how easy it is to lose your own identity when you’re living a lie.
The series was created by Ed Whitmore (He Kills Coppers, Waking the Dead) who also wrote it alongside fellow Waking the Dead writer Edward Bennett.
Kate Bartlett, Controller of Drama at ITV Studios, describes the show as “a unique crime series, with an exciting cast, that explores the theme of identity.”
The series also stars Holly Aird as IT expert Tessa Stein, Shaun Parkes as DS Anthony Wareing and former Casualty actor Elyes Gabel as DC José Rodriguez.
As the six-part story unfolds Wareing becomes more and more concerned about Bloom’s methods and frustrated by what he sees as Martha’s blind and foolish indulgence of him.
Bartlett says: “the psychology behind the issue of identity opens up a whole world of stories. We take for granted that people are who they say they are and a person’s ID is sacred. However, when that trust is violated it can provoke a special kind of fear, one that cuts to the heart of our sense of self and the world around us.”
On speaking about the thinking behind the series, Whitmore says: “the whole proposition of identity has never felt more fluid, fragile and perilous and obviously that’s reflected in the burgeoning identity fraud crime stats. But it also poses deeper questions such as what does our identity really mean to us? Superficially we define it by our names, fingerprints, DNA etc and yet it clearly means so much more to us than that. The whole theme of identity just seemed to organically throw up so many compelling and dramatic questions.”
Whitmore says there’s “a real conundrum in creating cop characters. You want them to be good at their job so we can savour their investigative ingenuity yet you don’t want them to be blandly heroic – in essence you want that investigative ingenuity to COST them something.”
Of the two central characters and the actors belong them he says: “The paradox of a man who’s more comfortable in anyone’s skin but his own is really compelling and moving and Aidan Gillen said that’s what fundamentally grabbed him about the character of John Bloom. The conceit of Bloom’s perilous double life gave us an underlying tension that perfectly amplified the excitement of the stories of the week and located the theme of identity right at the heart of our story.
“In Keeley Hawes we were blessed to have an actress who could perfectly encapsulate the character of Martha Lawson’s mixture of single mindedness and vulnerability, professional dynamism and private weariness.”
Identity, ITV1 Monday 5th July