Make no mistake — Global’s Prime Suspect is not a remake of the classic British crime thriller starring Helen Mirren.
Aside from title, what it borrows from its overseas counterpart is a strong, yet flawed, central character determined to prove she’s a damn good homicide detective, no matter what the men in her squad think of her.
On the eve of the big premiere, we caught up with star Maria Bello, who plays Detective Jane Timoney with an absorbing wit and attitude.
Does the title Prime Suspect help create buzz or draw criticism from fans of the British series?
You know, we’ve been so lucky in a way. People have recognized immediately that it’s a way different show. So then the comparisons stop.
Did you have any apprehensions stepping into this role?
Before I took the job, I said no to it. I was scared of being put in some sort of a box and not being able to be collaborative or creative, which often happens in TV. I didn’t want to not see my son; my friends who work on these kinds of shows sometimes work 14 or 5 hours a day.
I met the producers — Pete Berg, Sarah Aubrey, Alex Cunningham, they’re so brilliant — and they said to me, “It won’t be like that. We trust you to create this character how you see this character and collaborate with us. And you’ll never work more than 12 hours a day and you will have a life.”
And they’ve lived up to their promises and it’s just the most extraordinary job I’ve had.
Can you talk about making Jane Timoney your own character? Details like her scarves and the hat and smoking — how much input did you have in those little things that are so much a part of her?
The brilliant Amy Stofsky, the costume designer, she and I had the exact same idea for the clothing, which is an updated Katharine Hepburn. You know, that kind of male-female look that she’s really feminine, but at the same time wears these kind of sexy men’s clothes. And I went in that direction and at first the (producers) were like, “Well, uh, I don’t know.” But I really fought for it and said, “Listen, she has her own style. I know great policewomen, as well as men, who have great style.”