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.
Here, actor Robert Lonsdale tells us more about what we can expect…
What is the purpose of the UNIT?
The UNIT is specifically designed to follow certain criminals and trace the hierarchy to the top. So instead of just taking out people committing small-scale crime, you follow their boss, and who’s instructing that person and so you’re then following that ladder upwards. There’s nothing to be gained from taking out the small cogs in that system when instead you could use them to get right to the source of the issue.
Who is Tommy and what role does he play in the UNIT?
Tommy is Ash’s best friend and has worked with him in Customs. Tommy’s a bit of a live wire and he lives for the adrenaline of the job. He thoroughly enjoys the danger and the excitement of it but that means he’s probably going to get into scrapes from time to time, and that’s exactly what both he and Ash do on a number of occasions. But once Tommy is asked to join the UNIT, he has to go through quite a renaissance in terms of his character to adjust to what their desires are.
What drives Tommy to want to do this kind of work?
Like Ash, Tommy is driven by an innate sense of justice but he’s also driven by the excitement of the action on the job. However, when one of his scrapes means that he’s forced into staying back in the office, he has to find another way of getting an adrenaline rush from the investigative process. But this in itself also proves to be one of his strengths.
How does joining the UNIT change Ash and Tommy’s relationship?
It puts it under a lot of strain as he’s there initially under Ash’s recommendation after Tommy’s life is drastically altered by an incident. And although Tommy is enthusiastic and committed – like Ash, he’ll be there every hour possible – his cavalier attitude isn’t quite the right approach for the UNIT. It requires a far more softly, softly approach. You’ve got to keep your head low and you’ve got to be patient, something which Tommy soon has to learn. He also goes into a bit of a depression as a result of the incident and I think that also begins to affect their relationship.
How does Tommy get on with the rest of the UNIT?
Tommy comes across as a young new guy who’s seemingly a bit chaotic on the surface. His allegiance is with Ash and although he respects the others, he’s got some way to go to ingratiate himself with them. But Tommy’s very astute and as he has the capacity to see through a lot of the hubris that some of the other people don’t, he starts to prove his worth.
How have you found filming the stunt scenes?
It literally is a dream come true to be filming all the action scenes – running around Waterloo station, whizzing around in a car with someone else driving on top whilst me and Paul Kaye fight inside and all the excitement of that stuff. You set out as an actor hoping you’re going to do that but subtly lowering your expectations thinking that you’re just going to go from job to job if you’re lucky. You never expect that you get to do all the exciting stuff that you see in the films.
What do you think makes The Interceptor different from other crime shows?
The thing that strikes me most is the way we’ve been shooting it – it looks incredible. We’ve got a very traditional feel to this and there’s something almost quite retro in the way that we’ve shot it. But it’s also the approach that Tony Saint’s taken with the scripts, taking drama from our everyday lives and relationships and reflecting this not only with the UNIT but amongst the criminal hierarchy as well.
Has it made you look at the world around you in a new light?
Definitely. It does change your perception of things, of what’s around you but more than anything, it does change your perception of the average person that you meet in the street. As with the case in The Interceptor, some of the most level-headed and personable people are actually the best equipped to be criminals because they’re the ones who you would least expect it from.