Hot on the scuffed sensible heels of Happy Valley comes another mini-series about another beleaguered British policewoman.

The focus on Detective Sergeant Susan Reinhardt (Rosie Cavaliero) in the second season of Prey came out of necessity.

John Simm was the star of 2014's acclaimed season one. He played a Manchester-based Detective Constable whose wife and children was murdered, who had to prove his own innocence while on the run. Making him do it again was a problem for a second series says writer-creator Chris Lunt.

Jules (Myanna Buring) and Murdoch (Philip Glenister) in television series Prey. Photo / Ben Blackall
Jules (Myanna Buring) and Murdoch (Philip Glenister) in television series Prey. Photo / Ben Blackall

"We realised early on we couldn't bring back the character of Marcus Farrow - it would feel very contrived. That's not to say we didn't explore various possibilities, but we felt we were doing a sequel to Prey, not another version of the first series.


But there is a lateral connection between Simm and the guy getting chased this time - he's played by Philip Glenister, Simm's co-star in Life On Mars, the time-travel cop series also set in Manchester.

Glenister plays Prison Officer David Murdoch, who goes on the run with a woman prisoner under his charge (played by MyAnna Buring) after he gets a phone call threatening the life of his pregnant daughter unless he helps the inmate escape.

It's Reinhardt's job to figure out why Murdoch has gone on the lam, in between dealing with some troublesome colleagues, including an underling who thinks nothing of taking selfies with the body at a crime scene and a superior promoted to the top job ahead of her, as well as a boyfriend wanting a long-term commitment from the workaholic cop.

Like Happy Valley's Catherine Cawood, Reinhardt is a flawed, jaded character who takes some warming to.

"The funny thing was, a lot of people didn't initially like my character but they liked her by the end," says Cavaliero.

"After the first episode they'd say 'I don't really like her, she's horrible, she's not very good at her job, she's not very sympathetic', which I thought was great. It's nice to play someone who's not particularly liked.

"But by the end of the series they'd all grown to like her and were really rooting for her."

Says Lunt: "Susan Reinhardt is such a flawed character. After the first series I had quite a few police officers contacting me to say she was very true to life.

"We didn't necessarily adhere forensically to police procedure. But my view of that is I don't want people studying for their sergeant's exams, I want viewers on the edge of their seat.

"Officers like Reinhardt do make snap decisions, they do have personal problems. They are human beings."

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The chase begins again in second instalment of three-episode Mancunian cop thriller