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It’s 1997 and Denise Woods is now a successful Detective Inspector at Brixton. In an era of ‘cool Britannia’ and ‘Blair’s babes’ she’s ideally placed to climb the ranks, but is struggling to find time for husband Ray Deans (Richard Coyle) and their young daughter. A functioning rather than loving relationship, we get the impression that Denise is spending most of her time at work and that Ray and Denise’s mother, Rose, are handling most of the childcare and keeping the family home together.
Denise is investigating another rape-murder, this time of a young girl called Lauren Hinds, whose body is found on an estate. Denise’s world turns upside down when DNA on Lauren Hinds is cross-checked on the ‘all-new DNA database’ and matches unknown samples found on Amy Reid back in 1985. Samples with no name attached.
Suddenly Mike Holland’s legal team is able to push to make his original conviction ‘unsafe’ and he’s released after 12 years in prison. As her world starts to crumble, Denise is forced to admit to Ray that she planted evidence back in 1985. He feels utterly betrayed. Things worsen for Denise when a DPS enquiry is launched into her actions in 1985. And she’s even further exposed in a court case for Holland’s financial compensation. The trial brings out certain secrets from her past, tearing her apart in front of the jury, and threatening to expose the truth that she planted the evidence against Holland to avenge vulnerable, young Amy Reid.
While the court case rages, Denise continues to look into Lauren Hind’s rape and murder. And eventually arrests a club bouncer called Stephen Forester, who quickly admits to rape and murder. But though forensics confirm he was with Lauren, Forester’s DNA does not match the ‘unknown’ DNA on Amy Reid from 1985. Furthermore, evidence suggests Forester is physically impotent and whilst he undoubtedly murdered Lauren he would have been unable to rape her himself. Denise realises there may have been two people involved in Amy Reid’s and Lauren Hind’s deaths.
The court case closes with Denise’s professional reputation in tatters. Despite no official findings against her, Denise is demoted to Detective Sergeant and told not to pursue Holland. Worse still, as the news of Princess Diana’s death shakes the country, Ray asks for a separation and insists Denise’s beloved daughter stay with him. Denise is forced to move out of the family home, into a cheap hotel, and pull the broken pieces of her life together.
Life of Crime is a new three-part police drama, commissioned by ITV and produced by Ecosse Films.
Golden Globe nominee Hayley Atwell (The Duchess, Any Human Heart, Pillars of the Earth, Captain America) leads the cast as risk-taking policewoman Denise Woods. Life of Crime explores Denise’s career over three decades as she progresses through the Metropolitan Police Force and how choices she makes as a rookie officer have long lasting and explosive repercussions on both her professional and personal life.
In her twenties Denise starts her career as an idealistic WPC, fighting sexism and ignoring her mother’s disappointment at her career choice. She’s seconded to work with handsome young plain clothes Detective Sergeant Ray Deans (Richard Coyle). One September morning she accompanies him to a crime scene in a narrow lane behind a Brixton nightclub where the battered and strangled body of teenager Amy has been discovered.
Having had a previous encounter with the teenager, Denise is determined to bring Amy’s killer to justice. She works against the clear instruction and advice of her senior officers and follows her own lines of enquiry. As the investigation progresses Denise’s fervour for the case leads her to fall foul of her senior officer, DCI Ferguson (Con O’Neill). But Denise stays single-minded in her pursuit of the killer and at that point makes her fateful decision.
Set against the backdrop of iconic moments in British history, the drama unfolds over three decades. We meet her first against the backdrop of the Brixton riots in 1985, and then in 1997 as she rises through the ranks and again in 2013 when she is a senior officer with everything to lose.
Life of Crime is the examination of one woman’s personal and professional life over three decades.
The three-part drama was written by Declan Croghan. (Waking the Dead, Ripper Street, Taggart).
Life of Crime 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 (DCI Banks, Oranges & Sunshine) directs.