Joanne Froggatt on Liar season 2: 'It's an interesting take on human nature'


The tangled web of lies and deceit continue in the second season of the crime drama, Liar which premieres tonight at 20:00 on BBC First (DStv 119).

In the first season Laura Nielson (Joanne Froggatt), is set up on a date with recently widowed surgeon Andrew Earlham (Ioan Gruffudd) which changes her life forever. Andrew is a serial rapist who hides behind the veneer of the polished, accomplished doctor.

By the end of the season, all of Andrew's deeds have come to light, and with the police after him, he flees.

Three weeks later his body is found in the marshes. Now, Laura's nightmare continues as she is the main suspect in the case of his death.

Although there is a two-year gap between the seasons, season two picks up right where season one left off.

"We were all thrilled to be back. I think it's a very satisfying conclusion," Joanne tells me during a telephone call from London.

"It's just getting back into that headspace, and it's amazing how quickly your brain sort of remembers."

On returning to play Laura, the 39-year-old says she is a tricky character to play.

"She's gone through so much, she's been through this huge trauma in her life, and she's fighting for justice, and she's very angry about what's happened to her and understandably so.

"And in season two she is outraged that Andrew is still adversely affecting her life from beyond the grave, as it were. She's at the end of how much she can handle, I think. She's been through a lot and then to be one of the suspects in the investigation of Andrew's murder. It just adds insult to injury for her. She just wants justice."

Joanne Froggatt and Ioan Gruffudd in Liar season 2
(WHO KILLED ANDREW? Joanne (Laura) and Ioan (Andrew). Photo: Two Brothers Pictures and all3media international)

"It is always a big responsibility when working on a story or a script that has a traumatic experience."

Season one was halfway through when the news of Harvey Weinstein broke. It started a movement across the world where women started speaking about their sexual assault.

"You know, society wasn't talking about sexual assault and rape in the open way that we are doing now. When I was doing press to the lead-up to season one, a few journalists asked me how I felt about doing a thriller about sexual assault - did I think it was appropriate.

"And my answer to that was well, yes. If we accept thrillers and police dramas based around murder and child abduction and even paedophilia and all these horrendous crimes, then why do we still feel that sexual assault is a taboo subject, isn't that part of the problem?

"I think, you know, as long as it's handled with sensitivity and care, which Jack and Harry our writers and producers did, it's important to tell these stories."

"All the characters in season two are either lying about something themselves, or they've been embroiled in someone else's lie unknowingly or knowingly."

The big theme throughout both seasons is lies. All the characters in the show are involved in a lie either about their personal lives or covering up for someone else. In season two it's about who's lying about who killed Andrew.

"It's an interesting take on human nature and what people know, what people could be capable of when they're under extreme pressure", says Joanne.

Joanne Froggatt and Katherine Kelly in Liar season
(THE NEW DETECTIVE IN CHARGE: Joanne (Laura) and Detective Inspetor Renton (Katherine Kelly). Photo: Two Brothers Pictures and all3media international)

"Not many sexual assault cases are brought to trial, and that needs to change."

In both seasons, the theme of justice is explored and playing this character has affected Joanne's view of justice and the justice system in general.

"I think the justice system in general works to the best that it can, in this country at least. It's never going to be a perfect system. I take that separately from how the justice system surrounding sexual assault and rape works.

"The CPS which is our prosecution service here, chooses not to prosecute and far more than they choose to prosecute these cases, which is very telling. And I can't remember the exact statistics, but such a small percentage of cases of sexual assault ever get to court.

"When they do, that process is incredibly traumatic for the individual who brought the accusation. So, I think there's still be a lot of work to do in that area across the world."


Liar season 2 airs Tuesdays at 20:00 on BBC First (DStv 119)

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