Hayley Atwell plays Denise Woods through three elements of her career as a policewoman, from her days in 1985 as a rookie cop, through 1997 as her career stutters, to the present day as a senior police officer. But a dubious decision she made while solving the murder of a young girl in 1985 looks set to haunt her and even threatens her standing.
Life of Crime: ITV crime drama starring Hayley Atwell
Starting on Friday 10 May 2013, a three-part crime drama – Life of Crime – follows the career of Denise Woods during 30 years in London's Metropolitan Police Force.
Hayley Atwell as Denise Woods in Life of Crime
Photo from ITV
The changing nature of the police force is seen through the eyes of policewoman Denise Woods (played by Hayley Atwell) in Life of Crime, a three-part drama due to start on ITV on Friday 10 May 2013. Each episode looks at a different stage of Woods’ career with London’s Metropolitan Police Force, starting in the first episode in 1985 when she joins as a rookie just after the Brixton riots and finds herself subjected to the sexism that was common in the force in those days.
The second episode rolls forward to 1997 against the backdrop of the death of Princess Diana. Woods is now a detective inspector and women’s rights are being championed by the government. While investigating the death of a young girl, she uses the new DNA technology and finds a link to the murder she thought she’d solved in 1985.
In episode three, set in 2013, she is now a senior officer with everything to lose. But while she struggles to come to terms with her daughter’s pregnancy, yet another murder case brings forward the same DNA she had encountered in 1985 and 1997.
“This one particular case haunts her throughout her whole career,” said Atwell. “She’s trying to solve it but it renders her slightly morally ambiguous. She takes the law into her own hands, so it’s about the possible consequences of that.”
Actors in Life of Crime
Hayley Atwell was nominated for a Golden Globe for playing Aliena in The Pillars of The Earth. She also received nominations in the British Independent Film Awards and the London Critics Circle Awards for playing Bess Foster in the 2008 film The Duchess. And she was nominated for a Golden Nymph at the 2007 Monte-Carlo TV Festival for playing Jane in TV movie Fear of Fanny.
Atwell’s TV career started in 2005 with the role of Sabrina Guinness in the TV movie Whatever Love Means. The following year, she had her first recurring role, that of Cat Fedden in The Line of Beauty. She has to wait till 2009 for her next recurring role – Lucy in The Prisoner remake. More recently, she played Freya Deverell in Any Human Heart and Peggy Carter in Captain America: The First Avenger, a role she is due to reprise for the upcoming Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Richard Coyle plays young Detective Sergeant Ray Deans, who Woods works with on her first case. Con O’Neil plays her sexist senior officer DCI Ferguson. Eloise Smyth plays Amy Reid, the girl murdered in 1985. Julian Lewis Jones plays prime suspect Mike Holland. Ruth McCabe plays Woods’ mother Rose. Ruby Thomas plays Woods’ 19-year-old daughter Charlotte in the third episode. DC Jay Tomlin is played by Lara Rossi.
Team behind Life of Crime
The three-part drama was written by Declan Croghan. It was produced by Emma Kingsman-Lloyd, executive produced by Douglas Rae and Michael Parke for Ecosse Films, and co-produced and co-created by Oliver Frampton. Jim Loach was the director.