The Suspect bosses on portrayal of female murder following Sarah Everard case No words
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The opening episode of ITV thriller The Suspect sees police officers, DI Vincent Ruiz (played by Shaun Parkes) and his young partner DS Riya Devi (Anjli Mohindra) assigned to an investigation involving the murder of a young woman found in a shallow grave in a West London cemetery. Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk and other media, the cast and producers talked about covering the subject and why the murder of Sarah Everard remained in their minds during production.
At one point, DI Ruiz is talking about “another case” of a young woman being murdered, and says: “I don’t have the words anymore”.
Discussing this quote, screenwriter and executive producer Peter Berry explained why he included it.
“When I came to write the scene where Shaun’s character is looking at the body, I think I spent a few days on it.
“And I realised that I just didn’t have the words anymore, and so I just gave that to the character.
“What I love about the performance was the authenticity of anger and of hopelessness in that situation.
“But then that kind of character who is a dog with a bone – he’s going to solve this.
“We just know as the series builds that I think that drive springs from that hopelessness.”
On the theme of violence towards women, Peter continued: “Spoilers – this is not completely a female revenge piece, although our first victim is a woman.
“But nevertheless, I think the images and stories that we have heard in the press over the last year, like Sarah Everard, I think it shows the way in which emotionally, we must be affected and we have to be affected by that.
“I think it’s interesting with Shaun’s character, so often you have the cliche of the hardened cop who’s seen everything – but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t feel anything.
“And I think also, especially at the moment with the sort of repetition of that, I think sometimes you can take that into a genre and you can forget what it’s like for the audience and what the reality of what we’re talking about is.
“And while we don’t she away from the story and who it’s about, I wanted to humanise the victim how she’s talked about but also make sure that the idea of the crime is not something that the audience would take for granted because ‘it’s another muder mystery and that’s what it’s about,’ I think we’ve gone beyond that a bit.
“Without getting too preachy, I think the audience is on a slightly different emotional level and as television, we need to catch up and listen to that.”
James added: “It’s about being responsible to the bigger picture, and with that body scene, we shot a version of it and then we went back and we went further to actually acknowledge exactly what it was and that reaction – it had to be done properly, it acknowledged that this is what’s happening and however many times it’s happening, you can’t get used to it and it’s not acceptable even for serving police officers to have to see, and it’s all about being aware.”
Anjli stated: “With the Sarah Everard case and then Sabina Nessa, we all know how it feels to be a woman in this country or on this planet at the moment, with things like that happening – or at least we’re talking about them more.
“And it was interesting to think how a woman police officer would be in that situation, and you’re not hardened by it, even though she is also quite new to it.”
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