“I try and make the job work.” So says the title character of BritBox’s new six-part police drama The Responder, which stars Sherlock Emmy winner Martin Freeman as worn-out patrol officer Chris Carson.
Working nights and responding to emergency situations that range from neighbor disputes to acts of violence, Chris is struggling mentally with the stress of the job and its effect on his family, including wife Kate (MyAnna Buring). In our video interview, Freeman tells TV Insider he was drawn to the role on the strength of the writing by former police officer Tony Schumacher.
“He wasn’t trying to please me as a reader,” Freeman says. “He was writing what he wanted to write, and I always respond very favorably to that ’cause he wasn’t trying to grab my attention and impress me with loads of stuff going on. He got you to the inner life of this person very quickly.”
Chris definitely isn’t a poster boy for the model police officer, and that challenges his rookie partner, Rachel (Adelayo Adedayo), to rethink some of what she learned in her police training. “She’s suspicious about Chris because she’s partnered with this seeming lunatic who is just totally going rogue and doing his own thing,” Freeman says. “And from Chris’ point of view, it’s like, ‘You’ve done your little exams and now I’m telling you how to apply it in the real world.’”
One downside to filming during the pandemic: Freeman didn’t get to interact as much with real-world police officers in Liverpool, where the series was shot, as he would have liked. “I wanted to spend way more time with cops — in drive-alongs, all that sort of thing — to get a firsthand experience. We weren’t allowed to.”
Perhaps he’ll have his chance yet. The Responder has been renewed for a second season.
The Responder, Season 1, Streaming Now, BritBox