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It’s 2013 and DCI Denise Woods has turned her life around and is now interviewing for the Superintendent of Lambeth position. Things are on the up until ex‐husband Ray Deans and his new wife invite Denise to a ‘family’ dinner with news about Denise’s nineteen year old daughter, Charlotte. Charlotte’s pregnant. Wrong‐footed, Denise reacts badly and inadvertently creates even more of a rift between her and her daughter.
Denise throws herself into work, investigating the case of a murdered girl, Joanna Andrews, whose body was found the morning after an outdoor gig. Things take a surprising turn when two things emerge.
Firstly, a broken down van at the gig is connected to none other than Mike Holland. And secondly, the same ‘unknown’ DNA from 1997 and 1985 is found on Joanna Andrews’ body. Has Mike Holland killed again with the mystery man Denise has been chasing? Suddenly Denise has the opportunity to clear her name, put her demons to rest, and get justice for Amy Reid. But will she risk her career, not to mention further traumatizing the victims’ families?
Denise throws caution to the wind and uses her protégé DC Jay Tomlin and a trusted uniform Special Officer Brownlow to run with the investigation ‘under the radar’. The team quickly garners from CCTV that Holland was in the abandoned van with another man. And that swabs from that van match the infamous ‘unknown’ DNA on Amy Reid, Lauren Hinds and Joanna Andrews. So Holland was in the van with his accomplice. Meanwhile, Denise’s daughter calls in a state. She’s split up with her boyfriend and asks to come and live with Denise. Torn, Denise says she doesn’t think it’s a good idea.
Through careful profiling Denise builds a picture of two men, one dependent on the other, raping and killing together at live music events. Furthermore the team learns that Holland’s working at another gig that night. Desperate to prove herself to the boss, Jay Tomlin offers to bait him in the hope of flushing out his accomplice. Denise is unsure, worried about the risk to her team, until she visits Amy Reid’s mother who tells her to make Holland pay.
So Denise, Ray, Jay and Brownlow go to the gig, Jay baits Holland and sure enough reveals the identity of the ‘unknown’ man – a face we recognise from the past! Back at the station the suspect is waiting to be charged pending forensics, but when a text from Holland comes through on his phone, it hits Denise that Holland has snatched Jay from the club and she’s in grave danger. Denise goes back into interview with the suspect and cleverly gets him to open up enough that she learns where Jay is being taken. She sets off in the car, traces Holland’s van, and smashes him off the road.
We’re back to the very beginning of the story and Denise shows Holland Amy Reid’s ‘Catholic Memorial Card’. She distracts him just long enough that Jay is able to break free and Holland is arrested. It’s over.
Denise is called to Scotland Yard and offered the job of Superintendent. And free from her past, Denise goes back to her daughter to say that she would love Charlotte to come and live with her.
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.