Actress Thandie Newton has admitted she was suspicious of police before taking a leading role as DCI Roz Huntley in crime drama Line Of Duty.
The star said her views on the British force changed completely after she learnt how officers often risk their lives in dangerous situations.
She told Radio Times: “Like any good old leftie – and also being a person of colour – I was very suspicious of the police and I feel very apologetic about my cynicism because I think many people go into the police with a sense of duty very firmly implanted in their motivation, and I think that’s gone from society in many ways.”
— Line of Duty (@Line_of_duty) March 12, 2017
Explaining how she researched for the BBC part by reading Ben Ando and Nick Kinsella’s Beyond The Call Of Duty: Untold Stories Of Britain’s Bravest Police Officers, she continued: “The thing I was most struck by was how the police in this country put themselves into incredibly dangerous situations without weapons – sometimes without realising it.
“That’s the big difference between here and the United States … Without a gun, you use your mind to work out what to do.
“If you have a gun it creates fear in the person you’re investigating, which creates fear in you.”
Thandie, 44, has joined the BBC drama for its fourth series, which begins on Sunday.
She said she was “thrilled” by the third season, which investigated the cover-up of sexual abuse at a boys’ home, because of the way it publicised the dark subject matter.
“I understand that because I’m someone who has spoken out about my abuse (as a very young actress) and people didn’t like it one bit,” she said.
“People have told me to stop – ‘It’s not seemly’ – and I have felt it did affect whether I was getting employed or not.
“But I hope that somewhere a mum taking her kid to the set will just be that little bit more aware.”
Thandie was first approached about the role while filming American TV series Westworld.
Pointing out more differences between working in the US and the UK, the Cornwall-raised actress added: “It’s very civilised here.
“There’s something about the English not wanting to offend anyone – and egos don’t go mad the way they can do in America.”
Read the full interview in this week’s Radio Times, out now.