'The Red Line' star Elizabeth Laidlaw reveals how far Vic will go to protect her on-duty partner Evans
The most exciting part about watching police procedural shows is the camaraderie between police partners. It could be a love-hate rapport, an only-hate relationship or a matter-of-fact one but usually, in such cases, police partnerships always dictate the flow of the show.
CBS drama 'The Red Line', however, is not exactly a police procedural show. But it tells a lot about the relationship that two police officers share when they are made partners.
'The Red Line' begins with the shooting of an African American doctor by a Caucasian Chicago police officer after a convenience store robbery. What follows next is the story of three different Chicago families, connected by this tragedy, moving towards hope against hope, healing, and forgiveness.
Officer Victoria 'Vic' Renna and Officer Paul Evans are partners on 'The Red Line'. Officer Vic was with Evans on the night of the fateful shooting and reacts - rather emotionally and even illegally - to protect him. Officer Paul Evans (played by Noel Fisher) wrongly shoots Harrison Brennan and he is only a conviction away from paying the true price of his actions. When everyone else is waiting for his conviction, there is one person who not only believes in Evans but goes out of her way to protect him - and that is his partner on duty, Officer Victoria “Vic” Renna.
Younger officers are typically paired up with an older, more experienced officer, Elizabeth Laidlaw, who plays Officer Vic tells MEA WorldWide (MEAWW): "In some sense, she [Officer Vic] was part of his training," she says. Finding the dynamic of “partner” among law enforcement to be fascinating, Laidlaw explains how partnerships are a critical element of training. "Protect your partner, have your partner’s back” [is an important part of police training]. It’s similar to the emphasis on loyalty and teamwork you find in the armed forces. It supersedes any personal feelings. Even if you don’t like your partner, you work as a team, you protect them with your life. It’s a complicated and profound relationship to be in with someone," she says.
Then, it is no surprise that when Officer Vic discovers the mess that her on-duty partner has made, she is ready to act - by tampering with evidence. She doesn't think twice either - Vic is a loyal cop who, one may say, even considered it her duty to protect Evans.
"Add to that, I think Vic and Paul really do like each other," says Laidlaw. "[They] have always gotten along, becoming friends very quickly in their knowing each other." The actress says sometimes that is all that is required. "It’s just like that. How much more profound is a police partnership when that person is someone you actually like and feel a kinship with? You become family."
But there is no justification, not even this one, for Vic's actions.
"Her decision is wrong. Legally, procedurally, ethically. She’s tampering with evidence - plain and simple. There’s a reason that it is against the law. Evidence influences an investigation or trial, tampering with it changes the outcome," she says, and Vic singlehandedly did change the course of the trial. "I honestly think it’s a very rash, protective impulse on Vic’s part. Once it’s done, there’s no way to undo it, so she gets herself and Paul caught up in an even more serious situation."
Vic's relationship with Evans is that of loyalty and duty - she tells Evans she would do it again. But Laidlaw thinks otherwise. "In playing her, I think the regret keeps her up at night."
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