The second season of “Crime” is slated to launch Nov. 23 on the streaming service BritBox. The show’s creator, author Irvine Welsh, got to produce another series of episodes featuring the magnificently flawed Detective Inspector Ray Lennox – as played by Dougray Scott – dealing with another heinous crime as well as his own demons.
Welsh, who is best known for his book Trainspotting, has created a tale that is as strong a personal misery as it is a whodunit. These tangled threads start with a central mystery idea for the story and then add the personal problems.
“The thing is that we are operating in two different traditions. We were very conscious of the two different elements – the procedural part of solving the crime and the existential as to what is happening to him as he is moving through this journey,” Welsh says. “The British cop drama is very much a standard police procedural thing. I spent 10 years in the States so I got immersed in all kinds of stuff there. There was also the Scandinavian stuff which is much more about the character.”
His approach to writing the book on which the series has been based was to start with the human element. Then the police elements were mixed in to make a well-balanced story where both sides are believable.
The result for the second season of “Crime” features a detective battling his own massive emotional barriers as he works to crack a cold case that has started to have present-day ramifications. Lennox (Scott) who is not content with just solving crimes wants to root out evil wherever he senses it. However, his passion comes with a cost as his investigations often push him to the breaking point which forces him to turn to drugs and alcohol as a remedy.
Lennox is ready to return to the Edinburgh Serious Crimes unit to prove he is fully recovered from his breakdown that was the aftermath of events of the season one finale. However, he’s surprised to find the police station he is returning to has changed with new additions, promotions and other shifts.
Welsh, an Edinburgh native found writing success with his first book. Trainspotting sold more than one million copies in the United Kingdom and was adapted into a film. He has written twelve further novels, including Crime and the number one bestseller Dead Men’s Trousers. His work also includes four books of shorter fiction; and numerous plays and screenplays.
He wrote Crime 15 years ago. Welsh would have written the Lennox character differently if he was creating the character today.
“The original book was about him being a fish out of water. He has stumbled into something. But he has stumbled into something because of the energy he has about the job that he does,” Welsh says. “I think that template was kind of set for this man who was trying to keep a lid on and driven by the things that happened in his past.”
Welsh has been able to fine tune those elements through adapting the book into the television series. He did most of his writing renovations in the first season and that helped make the second season far easier than the first.
One of the reasons Welsh could make changes to the character was the casing of Scott. The Scottish actor came to the series with a long list of acting credits that include “Mission: Impossible 2,” “My Week with Marilyn,” “Enigma” and “Ever After.”
The key to the second season – and possibly a third – was to concentrate on Lennox’s flaws but always keeping in mind that the character can’t become so broken the audience will no longer sympathize with him.
Much of the hard work had already been done when Welsh started work on season two of ‘Crime.” He had established the characters that included his flawed central figure. The world where Lennox works has changed but, in many ways, has stayed the same.
“In season two you get to have more fun. You get to make it more interesting,” Welsh says. “You give the non-Lennox characters some kind of arc. You have put down the bones in season one and established them. Then you get to flesh them out and make them more interesting.
“And the more interesting you make them the more interesting you make Lennox.”
The cast of “Crime” that gets an upgrade to their characters in the second season of “Crime” includes Ken Stott, Joanna Vanderham, John Simm, Derek Riddell, Gabriel Scott, Rebecca Root, David Elliot and Gordon Morris. BritBox is a digital video subscription service offering the largest collection of British TV in the U.S. and Canada. Programming includes exclusive premieres and current series and soaps.