Created by Paul Rutman, ‘Criminal Record’ introduces us to June Lenker and Daniel Hegarty, two exceptional detectives drawn to an old murder investigation after an anonymous phone call. Lenker, a rising star, believes that there was more to the case than meets the eye, suggesting deeper re-investigation. Hegarty, a celebrated veteran, calls into question the legitimacy of such a claim, considering the evidence to be bulletproof. The case in question was closed with Errol Mathis confessing to murder, but the anonymous call draws Lenker’s attention to overlooked details that may prove his innocence.
As the original investigator of the case, Hegarty cracks down on her attempts at reinvestigation, prompting Lenker to suspect he is hiding information. It is unclear whether Hegarty is guilty of burying the truth or maintaining the status quo for the sake of his stellar reputation and track record. The Apple TV+ crime thriller show guides us through the dark underbelly of London, unraveling a tangled web of hidden agendas and a larger societal issue; thus, piquing curiosity among the audience regarding all the locations where it is filmed.
Criminal Record Filming Locations
‘Criminal Record’ is filmed on location in and around London, capturing the dark and gritty side of the city, as well as its authentic charm. The first season of the series was ordered into production in June 2022, and saw detailed casting declarations being made in August of the same year. Let us take a look at the filming locations used in the eight-part crime drama.
London, the multifaceted capital city of England and the UK, London is the prime filming location for ‘Criminal Record.’ Since Paul Rutman envisioned a noir element to the detective series, much of the investigation takes place at gloomy hours in grimy and gritty environments representing the dark underbelly of London. From skyscrapers and posh offices representing corridors of power, to dim, rundown neighborhoods depicting the marginalized and oppressed, the production department chose its filming locations with great care to authentically portray the mood and message of its scenes.
Ingrained in the mystery of ‘Criminal Record,’ are themes of racism, sexism, and institutional discrimination. Given that London’s police force was governmentally reported to be ‘institutionally sexist, misogynistic, racist and homophobic” in 2023, the city became the ideal backdrop for the series’ narrative to explore and expand upon this discussion through its plot and settings.
Speaking on the issue in an interview, actor Peter Capaldi said, “There clearly are a number of problems, [the police] are unfortunately, recruiting people who are not suitable for that kind of work, and, clearly, there’s a funding issue as well.” He added, “[The issues] had a direct influence on how the show developed, because you can’t do a show about the police in London without engaging to some degree with those problems.”
The film crew tried to shoot scenes of season 1 within local communities, often using their bustling streets without disruption to filming the sequences with utmost authenticity. Cameras were placed at a distance, with actors and extras enacting sequences amongst real-life commuters and pedestrians. A scene of missing-person flyers being handed out, and locals enquiring about them, was shot by engaging regular commuters oblivious of their involvement in the production. The inner city’s atmosphere was recreated in other instances through the use of a large number of extras from the local community, capturing its veritable beauty with a grounded and gritty portrayal.
London’s iconic skyline is visible in multiple cinematic shots throughout the show, giving us a view of many of its emblematic skyscrapers and landmarks. The landscape segments, often shown at night, feature in their background, the Shard, One Blackfriars, South Bank Tower, BT Tower, and the Walkie-Talkie, among other skyscrapers. While highrises, skyscrapers, and modern offices represent power centers in the show, the neighborhood of Errol Mathis and the anonymous caller is shown amidst grimy streets and graffiti-covered walls.
Much of the series is filmed in central London, with groves, streets, and parks of the Walworth, Brixton, and Camberwell neighborhoods distinguishable. The neighborhoods, with their deep-rooted heritage, along with labyrinthine streets and enigmatic corners, foster a sense of suspense and intrigue, establishing ideal settings for the detective show. London’s amalgamation of modernity and antiquity provides a captivating juxtaposition that lends depth and atmosphere to crime-solving stories. As such several prominent detective shows have been shot in the city, including, ‘Sherlock,’ ‘Broadchurch,’ ‘Bodyguard,’ and ‘Unforgotten.’
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