Created and written by Paul Rutman, Apple TV+’s ‘Criminal Record’ follows two police officers who find themselves at complete odds as they embark on an investigation that will change everything for them. For one, it’s about getting to the bottom of the truth and reversing the injustice that might have happened a decade ago. For the other, it’s a matter of reputation and saving face and his own selfish interests rather than justice. As we see the characters collide with each other, we wonder if they were inspired by real-life police officers. SPOILERS AHEAD
Daniel Hegarty and June Lenker Based Are Entirely Fictional
‘Criminal Record’ comes from the mind of Paul Rutman, who has previously created hit crime dramas like ‘Vera’ and ‘Inspector Lewis,’ among others. When he was approached with the idea of writing a new crime series, the hook was on the main characters, and the conflict between them would take center stage. It was essential, then, to focus more on the characters than the mystery of the crime itself, and that’s what the show turns out to be all about. The audience becomes more invested in the characters of Hagerty and Lenker and the tug of war between them, in the way they interact with each other and guess who is right and who is wrong.
To make Hegarty and Lenker so unique in their approach to solving the crime, Rutman made them polar opposites. He is old and set in his ways, unwilling to admit, let alone correct mistakes. She is young and enthusiastic, dedicated to doing whatever it takes to save innocent people, no matter how many feathers she ruffles along the way. But while she has the conviction of youth, he is made shrewd and calculating by his experience, and that’s what makes things more interesting. It is the push and pull between the characters and the tension between them when they are together on the screen that gives the show the aura of a standoff taking place between two characters.
If you get a Michael Mann vibe from the series, you should know that Rutman was heavily influenced by his movies, particularly the likes of ‘Heat’ and ‘The Insider.’ Instead of two cops working together and delivering a buddy cop story with both of them sitting on stakeouts together, Rutman was more fascinated by the idea of two cops working against each other with two different goals in mind. It is this tension and conflict that he infused in Hagerty and Lenker that makes them so great together.
When it came to the individual parts, Rutman put a lot of work into making Hagerty a mysterious character, where the audience is constantly wondering whether he is a good guy or a bad one. It is more mysterious than the case itself, and it keeps viewers on the edge because they don’t know what to expect from him. Actor Peter Capaldi fits seamlessly into that role partly because the role was written keeping him in mind.
The ‘Doctor Who’ actor revealed that he and Cush Jumbo were brought on board pretty early in the project, when the scripts were still being written, and as executive producers, they had a say in the way their characters were shaped and molded throughout the series. He also revealed that Jumbo was focused on keeping things about the darker themes of the show a bit subtle by presenting through the lens of day-to-day life rather than hone in on them through big, dramatic scenes.
She also put in a lot of physical work as her character had some physically daunting confrontations in the show, which required a lot of stunt work from her. Jumbo revealed that she loves bringing that kind of physicality into her role and loved doing her own stunts. All of this goes to show that while Hagerty and Lenker might not be based on real police officers, the writer and the actors have tried to keep them as grounded in reality as possible.
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