Senior Crown Prosecutor James Steel is on a quest for the truth says Law & Order UK star Ben Daniels…
Tell us about your character…
“James Steel is a Senior Crown Prosecutor who has worked in the CPS for about eight years and previous to that he was a brilliant defence counsel.”
What is he like as a barrister
“James is quite absolute in the way he sees the world; it is all black and white, good and bad, right and wrong. He is so blinkered in his quest for the truth that it even destroys his personal relationships. It is justice at whatever cost for James.”
Why did James defect to the Crown Prosecution Service?
“He had managed to get a man off a rape charge three times in a row; that as well as his son being born made him rethink his whole life. Apparently many defence barristers end up doing that.”
How did has working at CPS changed James?
“Once he changed sides, James is completely consumed by his job to the point where his wife leaves him, taking their son to live in Scotland. With his family gone there is an empty hole to fill with his work.”
During your research you met the head of the CPS in London. What advice did he offer you?
“He explained to me that you have to have the ability to switch off emotionally but James doesn’t; he gets too involved. He never wears a watch so he can’t tell how late he’s working. He is immersed in his work.”
What is James like in the courtroom?
“When he is trying to nail someone in the witness box and he veers away from what is written down that is when he is at his best. He knows what angle to take and depending on how the witness reacts he tries to nip in like a terrier and hold on.”
The cross examination scenes are very intense. How did you film them?
“We came to an arrangement early on that I would have a camera on me and the person in the witness box would have a camera on them so we would both be able to talk and overlap each other which gives a real energy to filming.”
What was it like wearing the obligatory barrister’s wig?
“It is made of horse hair and is very uncomfortable. My wig has its own TV career, it has been worn by so many different actors. There are loads of names in it that have faded away from the sweat including Alan Davies from when he did The Brief…”