The Shadow Line is a major new drama serial created by Hugo Blick for BBC Two. A sophisticated conspiracy thriller in seven parts that brings to life a cinematic world of blurred morality and the conflicted characters who inhabit it, it features a star-studded cast, including: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Christopher Eccleston, Sir Antony Sher and Stephen Rea.
When police officers discover the body of a man, shot at close range, they soon realise the victim is Harvey Wratten, head of one of the UK’s largest crime organisations. Having served two years of an 18-year sentence for his part in importing £11m worth of heroin into the country, Wratten had only just been released from jail under the very rarely obtained royal pardon.
Assigned to investigate Wratten’s death is Detective Inspector Jonah Gabriel (Ejiofor), in his first case since being shot during a botched police operation that left his partner dead. He has amnesia, caused by the bullet still lodged in his brain, which leaves him doubtful of his own moral compass and his colleagues regard him with suspicion. Gabriel has to follow an increasingly complicated line of investigation, all the while wondering whether he can trust anyone, not least, himself.
On the other side of the line is Joseph Bede (Eccleston), an associate of Wratten’s, who has built up a legitimate fruit and flower business during Harvey’s time in prison. Now, driven by a profound personal tragedy, Joseph finds himself planning one last deal: a massive drugs operation that he is desperate to see through, so he can retire and step out of the business for ever.
Watching from the shadows is the brilliantly lethal puppet master – Gatehouse (Rea). He knows how to find people. He knows their secrets and he’ll find them when they are at their most vulnerable.
As Gabriel begins to unravel the threads around Wratten’s organisation, the web of intrigue becomes more complex – and the line that divides the players becomes increasingly blurred.
Hugo Blick’s unique style has brought together a star-studded cast including: Chiwetel Ejiofor (American Gangster, Endgame), Christopher Eccleston (Lennon Naked, Doctor Who), Sir Antony Sher (The Wolfman, Primo, God On Trial), Stephen Rea (The Crying Game, Breakfast On Pluto), Rafe Spall (Pete Versus Life, Desperate Romantics, He Kills Coppers), Kierston Wareing (Fish Tank, The Take, Five Daughters), Lesley Sharp (Afterlife, Clocking Off), Sean Gilder (Shameless), Freddie Fox (Worried About The Boy), Malcolm Storry (The Knock), Richard Lintern (The Bank Job), David Schofield (The Take, Pirates Of The Caribbean), Stanley Townsend (Zen, Sherlock Holmes) and Eve Best (The King’s Speech, Nurse Jackie).
Hugo Blick says: “The Shadow Line is about a murder investigated by both sides of the line – cops and criminals – and the opposing methods they use to solve it. But the real line is the morality within each character and how far they will go before they cross it”.
Ben Stephenson, Controller, Drama Commissioning, says: “As we continue our drive to build a bold and exciting drama story on BBC Two with commissions like Crimson Petal and The Hour, I am thrilled that we have attracted such world class talent to Hugo Blick’s thrilling scripts. Chiwetel and Chris are two of our finest actors and we couldn’t be more excited to have them, and the rest of the amazing cast, on board for this original and epic seven-hour series.”