Leila Farzad teases 'complex, morally corrupt' character for new crime drama Better

Leila Farzad stars in Better. (BBC)
Leila Farzad stars in Better. (BBC)

In the wake of Happy Valley's finale, BBC One is trailing a brand new Yorkshire-set gritty police drama, Better - but the show's star Leila Farzad says her character is far from being an obvious heroine.

Farzad plays DI Lou Slack, the lead character in the series, and appears alongside Andrew Buchan as old acquaintance Col McHugh.

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Although viewers might be hoping for an alternative to fill the gap left by Happy Valley, Farzad has warned that her character isn't an instantly good, likeable person.

She explained: "Better is a morality tale about a bent DI, Lou Slack, played by myself and her quest for redemption and I found the scripts utterly compelling.

Leila Farzad and Andrew Buchan play people with a dark secret in Better. (BBC)
Leila Farzad and Andrew Buchan play people with a dark secret in Better. (BBC)

"I found the character of Lou to be a brilliant, well-rounded woman, written with humour, wit, and humanity, which isn't always the case."

She continued: "Lou is incredibly complex because she has a completely ruthless, callous side to her. But she's also a loving mother, a loving wife, and a loving friend, and is incredibly bright and good at her job. But she's also a deceitful, manipulative, morally corrupt woman. So, she's multi-layered, I would say!"

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Lou and Col are connected by a dodgy deal from many years ago when she was at the beginning of her career and he had just arrived on the Leeds criminal underworld scene.

The actions they took allowed him to become wealthy and powerful while she turned around a shaky career with the police, but new events force Lou to try to right old wrongs.

The crime drama poses moral dilemmas. (BBC)
The crime drama poses moral dilemmas. (BBC)

Farzad said: "I'm excited for people to see a woman who is unapologetically grappling with big ugly issues and sometimes she's pretty unpleasant and ruthless to watch. I'm hoping that the audience will question their idea of morality and ask where the line is drawn."

Talking about what makes it different to other crime dramas, she said: "It’s not procedural, and it's not black and white. The protagonist is neither fully good nor fully bad, none of the characters are. There’s not a straight line towards an antagonist or a protagonist."

Better begins on Monday, 13 February at 9pm on BBC One.