Gemma Whelan in The Tower

Interview: Gemma Whelan talks The Tower

From writer Patrick Harbinson (Homeland) and director Jim Loach (Save Me Too) comes the new, gritty crime drama, The Tower. The three-part series is an adaptation of Kate London’s popular debut novel, Post Mortem, and follows detectives Sarah Collins (Gemma Whelan) and Steve Bradshaw (Jimmy Akingbola) as they uncover the truth behind a shocking, fatal incident involving police in south London. Two people have died after a plunge from an apartment tower: a young Muslim girl and a veteran police constable. Collins sets out to find out what really happened on that roof and finds herself drawn into the dark, corrupt side of policing and the grey moral area between right and wrong.

The Tower is the kind of riveting British crime drama fans on this side of the pond have grown to expect and love and, thanks to Whelan’s strong central performance, viewers can add DS Sarah Collins to their list of incredibly strong, intelligent and layered female detectives. With a surety of purpose and a strong sense of justice, not to mention a less-than-supportive male superior, Collins brings to mind a particular icon of the genre—Prime Suspect‘s Jane Tennyson. In both cases, they’ve allowed themselves to become isolated from the world around them—shoring up their personal walls while pursuing the bad guys. Neither is without flaw either, but that’s what makes them so inherently interesting and watchable. With a strong supporting ensemble that includes Emmett J. Scanlan (The Fall) and Tahirah Sharif (The Haunting of Bly Manor), ITV has produced another must-see series for mystery fans.

That Shelf had the chance to sit down with Whelan to talk about the new mystery, what it was that drew her to the role of Sarah Collins, and just which detective shows Whelan herself returns to again and again. Watch the interview below and keep an eye out for a very special (and very tiny) guest:

The Tower is now streaming on Britbox.