BBC America’s six-part original co-production, Undercover features lead character Maya, played by Sophie Okonedo, who is about to become the first black woman to hold the highest-ranking public prosecutor role in England. Then she discovers her husband (Adrian Lester), the father of her children, has been concealing a secret for years. It’s based on big news in Britain, about police officers going undercover the past couple decades to form relationships with women, using fake identities, in order to spy on them and organizations for which the women work.
“It’s a big news story in Britain,” Creator Peter Moffat told TV critics at TCA. “It’s incumbent on people like me, who have the great privilege of writing” hours of television “to get on with it and write about it…I feel very strongly about it,” Moffat said earnestly.
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Dennis Haysbert, who plays an American convict on death row for a crime he did not commit, predicted Undercover, “will have a large impact. I hope everybody watches this show…My god, it’s probably the most powerful television I’ve ever done, and I’ve done some powerful television, so it’s going to be very compelling.”
“And there are laughs in it too,” Moffat added. Critics laughed, thinking he was joking. “Seriously,” he said. “And the kids are lovely.”
Moffat then told TV critics about a black teen murdered at a bus stop in London by racists, and how an investigation into why the police “completely failed to investigate” concluded the police department was “institutionally racist,” after which the police then spied on the victim’s family “to find some dirt they could throw back at these people. And, I’m ranting, because I’m angry,” Moffat said angrily. Then, again checking himself, he added, “And, once again, can I please remind you there are a lot of laughs?”
“And, I can listen to this man forever,” Moffat said turning to Haysbert. “Ask him one more question,” Moffat directed critics who did not oblige “No? Just say the alphabet,” he directed Haysbert. “A. B. C. D. E.F.G.,” Haysbert began, smiling.
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