'London Kills' season 1: Writer Paul Marquess on Amber's evolution from eyewitness to psychopathic murderer

In a MEA WorldWide exclusive, Marquess says there were hints of Amber being more than just a harmless eyewitness, especially since she was there all through the first season


                            'London Kills' season 1: Writer Paul Marquess on Amber's evolution from eyewitness to psychopathic murderer

Acorn TV's first ever murder mystery drama, 'London Kills,' premiered at the end of February, and we are still reeling from how the show managed to turn a seemingly harmless eye witness into a devious psychopath murderer. Called Amber, and played by the exceptional talent that is Jennie Jacques, the character was introduced to us in the first episode of the just released first season, and for the longest part, she seemed to have had no connection with the murders.

But soon we find out that is not the case, and it is this gradual build-up to the intense season finale that manages to leave viewers a little unnerved.

The official synopsis of the show describes it as: "The world’s most exciting city is the backdrop for each of the murders investigated by an elite murder squad. This specialist group is headed by hugely experienced Detective Inspector David Bradford (Hugo Speer). He has just come back to work after compassionate leave – his wife has been missing for three months."

And it is this very missing wife, whose case ties up with Amber, as we soon find out that the latter knows more about her than she's letting on.

In the beginning, Amber is nothing more than a shaken eye witness who has found a man hanging from a tree on her usual morning jog.

She reports the crime and even agrees to give a statement, and then we only see her when she asks one of the trainee detectives, Billie Fitzgerald (Tori Allen-Martin), out for a drink.

In fact, it is not until the end of the third episode of the five-part first season that the red flags start to appear regarding Amber, which really makes one wonder why this sudden twist in the tale?

Luckily, writer Paul Marquess has some light to shed on this. As he beautifully pointed out in an exclusive interview with MEA WorldWide, the reason a potentially harmless woman was meant to be the main psychopathic killer all along, is out of "the assertion that there are no female serial killers and that is the truth."

Marquess also addressed a particular case in the UK (details withheld) where one woman deliberately went out and killed many and that was it. It is almost as if the notion of women as notorious killers hasn't been explored in movies and shows per se, so definitely making Amber a dangerous criminal, is a refreshing take.  

L-R: Billie Fitzgerald (Tori Allen-Martin) and Amber (Jennie Jacques) in a scene from London Kills season 1. Source: Acorn TV
L-R: Billie Fitzgerald (Tori Allen-Martin) and Amber (Jennie Jacques) in a scene from London Kills season 1. Source: Acorn TV

 

At the same time, Marquess remarks that there were hints of her being more than just a harmless eye witness all along. And the fact that she was elevated to such prominence later on, also hints at the possibility of her being more than she was letting on. "She sustained across five episodes, so she couldn't just be a psychopath. She should be more interesting than that," says Marquess, before stating that aspect of her increasing presence throughout the season is what is supposed to intrigue viewers more.

"It makes you look into who she is, and where she's coming from," remarks Marquess about how the build up of the character from potentially harmless to murderous came about. This really makes one wonder what is her connection to the detectives solving the murderers, especially when it comes to Bradford. But once we see that Amber was spotted with his wife's purse, suddenly it all makes sense.

There are more suspicious instances and appearances of Amber that the viewer can recall having passed off as innocent behavior, and that is the best part about the whole build up, believes Marquess. 

Jennie Jacques as Amber in London Kills season 1. Source: Acorn TV
Jennie Jacques as Amber in London Kills season 1. Source: Acorn TV

With Jacques' striking appearance and impeccable acting, Amber truly stands out in the very first episode, even if it's not for all the twisted reasons that come later. "From the very first episode, you think there is somebody to watch and that's exactly what I wanted to say to the audience up front. Watch this girl!"

But the biggest element that works for the show, according to Marquess, is definitely how as a viewer you are allowed to feel a bit smart about her motives, even when it's taking the cops a long time to work out that she's dangerous. "She's being too dangerous to the viewer, and you just know there is something deeply wrong about this character," he adds.