If you’ve been struggling to fill the Line Of Duty-shaped hole in your life since the BBC police drama wrapped up its sixth season last spring, then ITV has just the show for you this weekend.
Sunday sees the launch of explosive new drama Trigger Point, which comes from the makers of the hit BBC series.
Executive produced by Jed Mercurio and written by newcomer Daniel Brierley, Trigger Point turns the spotlight on counter terrorism policing and the work of the Metropolitan Police Bomb Disposal Squad.
Here’s what you need to know…
What is Trigger Point about?
The official synopsis reads: “When a terrorist campaign threatens the capital over the summer, the Expos are at the forefront of urgent efforts to find out who is behind the bombings before fatalities escalate.”
The opening episode sees the explosives officers called to a London housing estate to investigate a potential bomb factory. They successfully defuse an improvised explosive device, but its complexity suggests they’re dealing with sophisticated terrorists. They soon find evidence of an even deadlier terrorist threat and must work against the clock to save as many lives as possible.
Who is in the Trigger Point cast?
Vicky McClure (Line Of Duty, I Am Nicola, This Is England) plays front line officer Lana ‘Wash’ Washington, who is an experienced bomb disposal operative, known as an ‘Expo’.
“When it comes to bravery, you’re talking about Lana,” Vicky says of her character. “She’s carrying trauma and her life is pretty messed up. As we go through the series, she becomes more lost as she tries to work out who is planting these bombs and why it’s getting closer to home. She’s got her own personal issues to deal with, and she’s scared because she’s losing her instinct.”
Adrian Lester (Life, Trauma, Hustle) plays Joel ‘Nut’ Nutkins, who works alongside Lana. Both ex-military, the pair are close, having served together in Afghanistan.
Of his character, Adrian says: “Nut wants to do things properly, to follow the rules. To be safe and do things by the book. You get the sense that he’s a little bit older, he has been doing the job for longer, he goes by the book, whereas Lana’s impulsive.
“Inside this warm, jokey character there is someone who is sad, who has got complicated personal problems to deal with – there’s a lot more going on there,” he teases.
The cast also includes Mark Stanley (Honour, The Bay, The Girl Before) as DI Thom Youngblood, Warren Brown (Luther, Strike Back, Grownups) as Karl Maguire, Nadine Marshall (Time, Small Axe, Save Me) as Marianne Hamilton, Kerry Godliman (After Life, Derek, Save Me) as Sonya Reeves, Cal MacAninch (Des, Vigil, Mr Selfridge) as Lee Robins SCO19, Manjinder Virk (Midsomer Murders, Bad Move, Ordinary Lies) as Samira Desai SO15, Ralph Ineson (The Capture, Game Of Thrones, The Office) as Commander Bregman, newcomer Eric Shango as Danny, Tom Stokes (Equals, The Railway Man) as Pete, Kris Hitchen (Anne Boleyn, Four Lives) as John Hudson, Ewan Mitchell (The Last Kingdom, World On Fire, The Halycon) as Billy Washington, and Pippa Haywood (Bodyguard, Scott & Bailey, Green Wing) as Dr MacAndrew.
How does it compare to Line Of Duty?
It might have one of the same lead actors and the same executive producer, but Jed says that’s where the comparisons probably end.
“We went into the series with our eyes open, because both me and Vicky are involved and we take that on board. It’s obviously clear that I haven’t written it, and Vicky is playing Lana Washington, an explosives officer, not DI Kate Fleming,” he says.
“It’s much more of an explosives drama than a police series, so I think there are plenty of distinctions. I just hope that fans of Line Of Duty give Trigger Point the opportunity to see if it’s their kind of thing.”
Vicky adds: “It’s a very different show… it’s incomparable. There’s a lot more action in Trigger Point, it’s an explosive show. And I don’t really feel anything like Kate when I’m in Trigger Point, we certainly don’t look the same.”
What else is there to know about the series?
The show came about after Jed mentored the writer, Daniel Brierley through the UK ScreenSkills bursary scheme. Jed suggested that the candidates pitch their ideas, which Jed and his team would then help to develop.
Daniel’s idea “stood out as the most commercial” according to Jed, who noted that its topic material “feels like such fertile territory for TV drama”.
“Daniel has done quite a lot of writing, but he’d never created his own TV show before, so it was really about being a facilitator, putting him in touch with the right advisors and talking to him about his plan,” Jed says.
“Daniel did all the writing – he would generate all the storylines and write the drafts of the script, then I would give my feedback, but I wouldn’t interfere too much. I might suggest specific ways to approach a scene, but generally I shared notes with him in the same way that I would like to receive them as a writer, giving my reaction. We talked about the challenges of getting through the story and dealing with the basics of what people expect from a thriller, which is jeopardy, mystery and twists and turns. The art is in making the twists as unexpected as possible,” he teases.
Could there be more than one series?
Jed says that the team “would love the opportunity to do more”, hinting that we could see more from Trigger Point should it perform well for ITV.
“We just feel it’s one of those areas that hasn’t really been explored, particularly in terms of the world we live in now, it feels topical,” he says. “If we’re fortunate enough to be successful, and the audience likes it in sufficient numbers, then we’d relish the opportunity for another series.”
Daniel adds: “Lana is such an involving person and throughout the first series she’s really finding herself. There are lots of places for her to go as a character and I really want to follow her journey. Plus, the world of bomb disposal and counterterrorism is a really exciting one for a drama.”
When can I watch Trigger Point?
Trigger Point begins on Sunday 23 January at 9pm on ITV, continuing each Sunday.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.