The second series of The Fixer returns and the hit squad secretly put together by police to eliminate dangerous criminals has plenty of targets this time around, reveals Tamzin Outhwaite
How do you feel to be back doing another series of the Fixer?
“It was the first time I’ve worked since I had my baby daughter Florence so for me it was like coming back to a family who had been very supportive during a very important time in my life. It was just lovely to be working with the boys and the rest of the team again. For me the overwhelming feeling was one of just raring to go.”
Does Rose get far more involved in the team’s missions this time?
“It was clear that in series one she was the team’s honey trap, but obviously that skill isn’t required on every case, so there were times when she just wasn’t needed or wasn’t integral to the plot. But this time out she sees more of the action, and actually totes a gun – you see much more that she used to be a police officer. In the first series it seemed like these were just four damaged characters who just do one thing each, but in this series, you realise that they each have a variety of skills and get to put those to rather effective use.”
Is there a lot more action this time?
“I do feel like we’ve made a faster, more intense and action-packed series. The psychological aspect remains in that everyone is kind of playing with each other, wanting to trust each other, wanting to relax, but not being quite able to. All those relationships are still there but they are now set within an incredibly pacey framework.”
How did you feel about filming with a gun?
“It’s quite a bitter sweet thing, I love doing all the action and because of all the training that I did for Red Cap I don’t feel like I’ve had to call on it that often really so its quite nice returning to something so specific that you’ve had quite a bit of training for and know that you’re able to do it convincingly. Holding a gun and saying you enjoy it feels quite weird especially now as it represents such a dark time in our culture. You’re quite aware that when you’re out filming with a gun in your hand in London that you actually want to be hiding it and there is a real feeling of ‘I hope no-one sees us and thinks this is real’. But at the same time the actual reality living out that film and TV cop dream is quite exciting and a real challenge.”
While the team’s trained killer, John Mercer, still performs the majority of hits, there are some particularly brutal sequences involving Rose taking out a couple of marks. Can she be cold and calculating, too?
“Any kind of question or toying with the notion of right and wrong has already happened by the time the decision comes to kill somebody. And yes, that decision comes from a very cold place within her but once the decision has been made there’s no turning back, no remorse and no regret. There is no room for that with her. She is pragmatic, she’s practical, she gets on with it and she does her job.”
Do you think Rose is quite a unique character?
“You don’t see characters like her very often and it’s not just me saying that as you can gauge it from people’s reaction to her. Everyone sort of stops and says: ‘Gosh, what’s it like to play her’ which I feel is rather indicative of how few roles like Rose there are out there. Really, the only other one that immediately springs to mind is Roz from Spooks. Because so often, in dramas like this, women are the vulnerable ones, they aren’t generally out there toting guns, making hard, horrible, unthinkable decisions. That’s often left to the men.”
Do you like it that The Fixer raises lots of moral dilemmas?
“There is a very fine line to tread and the writer has created characters that while you may not necessarily like what they’re about, you certainly enjoy being around them and want to stick with them. Television is breaking the mould with morally ambiguous characters – you only need to look at something like Dexter. I mean, why should you care for a serial killer? And it’s the same with us. Why should you care for a hit man like Mercer, why should you care for some disgraced ex-copper like Rose or some weed-smoking pick-pocket like Calum? On paper they aren’t attractive in anyway but you want to see that they’re OK.”
What does hitman Mercer (Andrew Buchan) mean to Rose and will get they get a happy ending?
“There is very much an unspoken relationship between these two. Deep down they probably do love each other and should be together but there is no way in this world that they would ever allow that to happen. There are a number of factors keeping them apart – Lenny for a start. They both know that he would never let them be together and work alongside each other. They are constantly playing with each other, always testing each other. They’re not going to ever get on a boat and go to live in Jersey and have a lovely life. The romantic in me would love that, but it wouldn’t be true to either if it did happen.”
How well do you get on with Andrew Buchan?
“Before The Fixer Andy was like a little hidden treasure in Party Animals. Actually he’s not so little now as he has really beefed up! He is lovely to work with. Sometimes I’d go into work and I wouldn’t have slept because my baby had kept me up but I’d still be full of the joys of spring because Andy would be there with a big smile on his face and a cup of tea. I’ve never seen him in a bad mood and I’ve never seen him not have time for people. One of the reasons I really hope we go to a third series is that I don’t feel as though I’ve finished working with Andy Buchan yet.”
How’s life as a new mum?
“I love motherhood. She’s just a delight, and I’m lucky because she’s got no issues just yet, apart from the odd tantrum. I feel quite proud that I’m coping well.”
The Fixer will be shown on Tuesday September 1 at 9pm on ITV1