CRIMINALLY GOOD: Interview with Jed Mercurio, screenwriter, LINE OF DUTY

jed-mercurio1) So, who are you and what have you written? 

I’m Jed Mercurio . I’ve written three novels, but I’ve mainly written for TV, you can see my IMDB page HERE. My current series is LINE OF DUTY.

More links: Jed Mercurio on the BBC Writersroom (VIDEO) and here’s Jed Mercurio in conversation on The BBC Academy Website.

2. Why do you write crime fiction? 

LINE OF DUTY is my first foray into crime fiction. Originally I wanted to write about the Police as a social institution. I discovered the opportunities of the thriller — the high stakes, the jeopardy, the pull of mystery. Crime fiction possesses all the attributes compelling TV drama strives for. That makes the job a lot easier!

3. What informs your crime writing? 

I worked as a hospital doctor before I became a writer. I suppose I’ve got a technical mind. The kind of crime writing I do takes a deep interest in procedure and protocol, particularly in the technical aspects of evidence gathering. Also I read articles about issues affecting policing, as these can add a political dimension to the story.

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Lastly, I’m very fortunate to work with advisors. Our principal advisor on LINE OF DUTY is a serving Inspector who guides me through police procedures in minute detail. Often they’re details that other cop shows omit or simplify, which gives our series its own unique identity.

4. What’s your usual writing routine? 

I don’t have a writing routine. As I’m involved in TV production, I write in the gaps in my work schedule. Generally I prefer to work in my home office, although on certain occasions I’ve been known to find a quiet part of the set to flip open my laptop.

5. Which crime fiction influenced you as a writer? 

In terms of influences, I go back to programmes I admired before I became a writer. The one that had the biggest impact was HILL STREET BLUES. In homage, some of the police stations referred to in LINE OF DUTY are actually ones from HILL STREET BLUES!

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2 Comments

  1. Line of Duty Fan

    Lucy,
    Jed Mercurio sounds like he has the perfect background to be a crime writer. He must love his work because of his dedication. A noisy set wouldn’t be the easiest place to write. I know. I have to be able to space off noise because my husband watches TV where I work and he likes it loud. Jed seems to flourish working in his job atmosphere Your interview Is excellant and I enjoyed reading it. I wish we could get In The Line of Duty here, because anyone who is inspired by Hill Street Blues must be good.
    Pauline Hetrick

  2. Mark Hone

    I spotted the Hill Street Blues references in the latest series of Line of Duty: Hill Street and South Ferry were mentioned in episode one and Polk Avenue was referred to twice later on, once by Dot when he was in the car with Lyndsay Denton. Were there any others? Hill Street is my all-time favourite tv series.

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