I’m sorry (not really, because its not my fault) if you haven’t become an overnight, binge watcher of the ‘gripping’ new BBC One Drama – Undercover.
The series introduces us into the life of Maya Cobbina(played very convincingly by Sophie Okonedo OBE – as in you forget she’s in character) who is a defence lawyer trying to bring justice against unsolved cases, while her husband – Nick Johnson (Adrian Lester), whom she believes shares a transparent marriage with her, is concealing a very shady past. But as we all know, the truth has to eventually ‘uncover’ its self in the end. Literally.
So what’s the story so far? (A very succinct summary)
Episode 1 – We are thrown straight into action with Maya and her client Rudy Jones who has been falsely imprisoned for 20 years in Louisiana. Quite distressingly, we join Rudy on the day of his execution, which takes a turn for the worst.
Episode 2 - Maya continues her fight to ‘Go big’and pursue justice. We also go back to 1996 where we discover who husband Nick really is – an undercover officer (yes, the po po!). We also see the story behind one of Maya’s unsolved cases – Michael Antwi…Get your tissue’s ready, it will be very emotional.
Episode 3 – A mystery witness for Michael Antwi comes forward and makes contact with Maya – forcing her to re-examine the case. Whilst fighting the US authorities on Rudy Jones’ behalf, she is hit with an unexpected blow to her marriage. Meanwhile Nick makes a decision to protect his family that leads to the murder of his former co-worker. DRAAMA!
So while I (as well as 5 million other viewers) wait in great anticipation for Episode 4 tonight, we thought we’d get a head start with cast member and Birmingham’s own – Daniel Ezra who plays Daniel Johnson, the son of Maya and Nick. Believe it or not, we went to school together!
How does it feel to be a part of such a thrilling series?
Undercover is the proudest achievement of my career so far. I think, during filming, we all felt that we were creating something special and it’s good knowing it’s being received so well. The love it’s getting is amazing.
It addresses a lot of controversial issues including racial injustice and inequality. How do you feel about topics like this being explored through drama?
Art, in my opinion, remains one of the greatest devices we can use to bring about change and progress. The issues in the show are sadly very relevant and I applaud the BBC for being brave enough to give their prime time slot to something that seeks to address some pretty controversial and often uncomfortable stuff.
You play a very convincing character of ‘Daniel Johnson’ who is autistic – how did you prepare for this role?
Autism’s a very broad spectrum. Fortunately for me, our writer Peter Moffat wrote Dan so beautifully all I had to do was meet him half way. The single biggest influence, however, came from the National Autistic Society in London. I’m deeply grateful to them for allowing me to come in and chat with their kids in preparation. I got to sit down with three incredible boys and I was able to walk away with a far deeper, real life understanding of what this often misunderstood condition is. I can’t thank them enough.
What is your favourite episode of the series…And about tonight’s – Will Maya be okay…Is it the end of her marriage?
I loved episode three. All the episodes are special in their own way. My favourite is the final episode though, which of course I can’t say anything about. What I will say is that there’s still a ways to go. Don’t think the it’s going to let up! As we go into the second half you’ll start to see the real effects of building an entire life on deception and it’s not pretty. Especially for the family. Hope you enjoy it!
It may be a bit early in the day to ask, but will there be a Series 2?
I can’t say too much about a future without giving away the ending. I think everyone was so focused on making this series as powerful as possible, those conversations, if they happen, probably won’t happen till later on.
Catch Undercover Sunday 24 April on BBC One, 9pm