Adrian Lester dead in Trigger Point, he was killed in the first episode

Few names are as ubiquitous on prime-time, acclaimed British TV as Jed Mercurio, the ghostwriter behind suspenseful shows like Line of Duty and The Bodyguard . But recent projects, aside from the latest season of The Mission, have seen Mercurio take some creative steps instead of opting to go behind the scenes with puppets like the Bloody Land starring ITV’s limited series Stephen and James Nesbitt .

The latest is Trigger Point, which centers on a tight-knit exposure group: Hardened police officers led by Lana Washington (Vicki McClure) and Joel Natkins (Adrian Lester) are called upon to deal with explosive threats. Although not written by Mercurio himself, the show has all the tactile beats one would expect from his work, beating audiences with a relentless rhythm.

First, Washington nearly detonated an improvised explosive device via a light switch with a booby trap; later, some poor dude emerged from the trunk of a car with a suicide vest, even though the threats were capable , if a bit close to the wires. But just when you think it’s over…for those of us who are well versed in the trends of Mercurio production, the eerily quiet moments of the last ten minutes sounded the death knell. When getting out of the car, Joel instinctively inspects a suspicious van and it all explodes (literally) in his face. It’s our fault for being so naive.

After that explosive climax, GQ called Lester to talk to him about Joel’s shocking death, knowing you were an early man, and filming it all on a real estate in north London.

Let’s start with the big ones: When did you know Joel was going to be killed so early?

Oh, before I read the script – when it came out as an offer, my agent just said ‘this is a character that only appeared in the first episode’. At the time, I was playing with something else, and I thought: Actually, this might work. I can finally work with Jed [Mercurio]. I’m going to do an episode. So as soon as I said, ‘Yeah, show me the script’, I knew this guy was going to disappear right away. So this is no surprise to me.

Getting into a character must be a whole different challenge knowing that your screen time is limited – building a rapport with the actor and making sure his character builds are strong enough that the audience actually cares about him when he dies.

Yeah, it also depends on Vicki [McClure]’s portrayal of Lana Washington, because what happened was created between them. Even with Eric Chango – we have two kinds of assistants (on the team) – from fistfights, jokes, timing and a little camaraderie between us, we all have to build a feeling that we’ve known each other for years, work for many years.

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Vicky was happy to improvise, and I loved it, so we just improvised the lines and the beats and the moments. The point we’re at in the apartment, we’re trying to diffuse secondary detonators — light switches — and find wires: we improvise. We knew what the lines were, but as soon as the words fell, we made a joke.

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