Crossfire | Interview with Keeley Hawes (Jo)

Can you give us a brief overview of what Crossfire is about?

Crossfire is a show about a family who go away with other friendship groups on holiday. My character Jo organises a trip for them. They are at a party at Jo’s house on New Year’s Eve and she slightly has an ulterior motive about wanting them all to go away on holiday together… They haven’t been on holiday for very long when the hotel that they are staying in is attacked.

What kind of show would you say Crossfire is?

It’s quite difficult to describe what kind of show Crossfire is because it’s about so many things. There are so many layers, it’s an action-based show. There is a lot of action, certainly more than I’m used to, or have ever really done. However at the same time, what it’s actually about is the human stories and the kind of moral dilemma at the heart of it. Hopefully the idea of ‘what would I have done in that situation’?

What were your first impressions when you read the script?

I suppose firstly it was something quite unusual to have a woman at the centre of a story which is so action-based and at the same time has this moral dilemma with this much emotion. To play a character like Jo who is really imperfect; she’s a messy individual, and I went from sort of liking her and finding her quite endearing, thinking she’s this really interesting, quite complex, quite confused, and then thinking god, I’m not sure I do like her. She’s not straightforward. It threw up lots of questions for me and it really made me think about her and that was really appealing too.

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Could you tell us a little more about Jo’s story?

Jo has three children and she’s married to a man called Jason played by the brilliant Lee Ingleby. She also has a first husband called Paul played by Ariyon Bakare, who is also brilliant. We’ve been so lucky we’ve got such a lovely, extraordinary cast. She and her first husband Paul share a daughter, and then she has got two more children with Jason. 15 years prior to us meeting her she was a police officer which is how she met Paul. She has sort of lived this other life and when we meet her, she has decided she wants to go back into the force. She has made the decision and it is a matter of breaking it to her husband that it’s what she wants to do. You know it’s not easy for her to go back to work because of childcare; two of her children are still quite young, so it’s a big decision to make. It’s also a big decision to make because she left having failed an exam which knocked her confidence at the time as it was really hard for a woman in the force. For all sorts of reasons it became untenable for her to stay and she had a 3-year-old at that point too so she left. But she loves her job and always had her eye on going back.

Could you tell us about some of the action scenes we might expect to see in a Crossfire?

There are lots of action scenes in Crossfire. I think the majority of the scenes filmed in Tenerife are quite action-packed because this hotel has been taken over by gunmen out for revenge.

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Do you think the audience will get a sense of what would I do in this situation?

I think the hope with Crossfire is that it is one of those shows that there is this horrendous question, this awful moral dilemma of, what would I do in that situation. That really is at the heart of the show and what I hope that people are left with. I mean it’s quite a thrilling ride and it’s quite dark in places. It is a show about relationships, friendships and marriages and all sorts of messy stuff. I would be really satisfied if people walked away and were debating what would I do? Because that is where the story came from with Louise. What would I do in that situation? That is what was interesting to me about it and everyone else who had read it. 

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Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.