The Suspect is going to keep viewers guessing

When writer and producer Peter Berry was looking for an actor to play the lead role of psychologist Dr Joe O’Loughlin in the new drama The Suspect, he knew exactly what he had in mind.

He says: “We needed an actor to draw an audience in, Joe had to be someone they wanted to be with. Magnetic, handsome, complex, with a voice you could listen to all day long. That’s Aidan [Turner].”

Viewers who know Turner from his lead role in Poldark are unlikely to disagree, but they may also see a different side of the actor in this series. Berry adds: “From the start the audience would buy into the idea that Joe could never be a murderer – then we needed to turn that around for the audience to see Joe as manipulative, cunning, a dangerous monster. Then to switch it back again.”

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When we first meet Turner’s character in The Suspect, which is based on the novel by Michael Robotham, he seems to have it all – a loving wife and young daughter, a successful private practice and a publishing deal.

Doctor Joe O'Loughlin meets DI Vince Ruiz and DS Riya Devi

He’s also become an online hero after rescuing a young patient who was about to jump from the 10th floor of a hospital.

However, he’s recently being diagnosed with Early Onset Parkinson’s, news that has left him feeling reckless.

Meanwhile, DI Vince Ruiz (Shaun Parkes) is dealing with the brutal death of a young woman, and his new partner DS Riya Devi (Anjli Mohindra) suggests that it might be worth asking the psychologist if he has any professional insight into what kind of person would commit such a crime.

The sight of the body leaves Joe shaken, but is that just a reaction to the horrifying nature of the murder, or is he holding something back from the police? For Turner, that ambiguity was a big draw.

He explains: “This was thrilling for me when I first read the scripts.

“I thought, is he the orchestrater of something dark and sinister here or has he just stepped into a world of paranoia and mystery and needs to figure out his role in it before it’s too late?”

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He adds: “Joe is definitely a flawed character. Which is interesting to play.

“He regularly makes impulsive and risky decisions knowing that there could be consequences for this later. Sometimes this behaviour pays off for Joe and other times it just seems to make things more complicated for him.

“This makes Joe unpredictable and sometimes unreliable which is refreshing to play in a protagonist. If that’s what he is.”

Then there’s the issue of Joe’s recent diagnosis.

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The actor sayss: “When we meet Joe, he has just been diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

“So, you wonder if what’s going on with him is part of the condition.

“Has he been really thrown by the diagnosis and that’s why he’s making these decisions? Or is it a veil to cover something else?”

So, it looks like The Suspect is definitely going to keep us guessing…