The WOLF Interviews: Ukweli Roach plays Jack Caffery

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Ukweli Roach stars in Wolf.

WOLF is a six part BBC One crime drama based Mo Hayder’s Jack Caffery novels, Ukweli Roach, also seen soon in season two of Annika, plays Detective Inspector Jack Caffery and here he tells us about the character and why he wanted to play him.

Tell us about Jack Caffery?

Jack Caffery is a police detective who lives in London and previously worked in Wales – in Cardiff and Newport. He has a disturbed background with a lot of trauma that he tries to hide, which has made his character quite malformed. As clichéd as it sounds, I would describe Jack as a lone wolf. He’s someone who, because of the traumas in his past, has isolated himself and finds comfort in isolation because he can’t be hurt that way. His trauma essentially shaped his whole personality.

What can viewers look forward to in terms of developments for the character?

Jack goes on quite a journey over the series to get to the answers he wants. That’s really where we see the wolf in him, in the sense that he can’t let go of the metaphorical scent of blood. We see the lengths that he will go to, whether legal or not, to get his man to speak. Jack is driven solely by wanting to find out what happened to his brother and where his brother is laid to rest. There’s a drive for a certain amount of revenge, but behind that revenge is the want for closure.

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With regards to finding the killer of the Donkey Pitch murder case, Jack wants to prove a point to DI Lincoln that she was wrong because there’s also a power struggle going on there. He also wants to prove himself and his instincts right as he had a feeling from the beginning that something was wrong. Deep down there is a good core in Jack and a desire to catch whoever is responsible to prevent anything similar happening again.

What was it about the role that drew you in?

As soon as I read the first script I wanted to be part of this. There were so many things about the series that I felt an affinity with so when I did get the part, I didn’t believe my agent. It was just such a fun part to play as an actor because it involved so many different actions, objectives and conflicts that all play out against each other. There was so much for me to work with and real substance to the character too – Jack is honest, brutally honest at times, and there’s a real root of pain that you can play off. It’s also been brilliant to work with these great directors and such a fantastic cast and crew, it really makes you want to up your game.

Can you elaborate on your approach to portraying the character?

This is the most work I’ve done before filming any job, partly because it’s the best script I’ve ever read and the best part I’ve ever played. There was a lot of digging as I wanted to get to the root of my character to understand why he’s so aggressive in certain situations, when and why he’s become a wolfish character and where the pain is coming from. I think pain is quite a big part of his character and it’s malformed him in certain ways. For me, a big part of my preparation was also music. I made a Jack Caffery playlist that I listened to and there’s certain tracks from a range of different genres that really stick out to me as the lyrics would relate to Jack, his character or what he’s going through in his life. Music is a big way in for me – into the character, atmosphere and mood.

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What makes WOLF worth watching for audiences?

WOLF has something for everyone, especially those who like a great crime thriller. It’s got plenty of horror, plenty of crime and a lot of action. It’s got great dilemmas, interpersonal relationships and lots of twists and turns – everything that you could want. WOLF is unique because the series follows two parallel, quite deep and complex cases. It manipulates time with one storyline happening faster than the other but the two gradually catch up with each other to meet in their final culmination. Some elements are quite fantastical and theatrical which juxtaposes against the grit, gore and the action. I think audiences are really going to enjoy it.

Image Credit: Ukweli Roach as DI Jack Caffery – BBC/Hartswood Films Ltd/James Pardon.

WOLF premieres soon on BBC One.

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.