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Killing it

David Hennessy spoke to award-winning crime author Jane Casey as The Killing Kind, based on her novel, comes to Paramount + starring Emma Appleton and Colin Morgan.

“You have to enjoy it when it’s happening,” Jane Casey tells The Irish World.

It has been a busy time for the Dublin author with not just the adaptation of her book The Killing Kind coming to Paramount + but also the paperback release of her latest Maeve Kerrigan novel, The Close.

Jane Casey is an international best selling author.

Her series of books about the London- Irish Detective Maeve Kerrigan has won and been nominated for many awards.

Since the first book The Burning arrived in 2010, Maeve Kerrigan has won her author the Mary Higgins Clark Award for The Stranger You Know, and Irish Crime Novel of the Year for After the Fire.

Just in 2019 Cruel Acts would win Jane Irish Crime Novel of the Year again.

Jane, originally from Castleknock in Dublin, lives in southwest London with her husband and two children.

Jane’s 2021 book The Killing Kind has just been brought to the screen by Paramount with a cast that includes Emma Appleton, Colin Morgan and Kerr Logan.

The Killing Kind depicts female barrister Ingrid Lewis (Appleton) who defends a man on a charge of stalking only to become stalked herself.

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She suspects it is her former boyfriend John Webster, played by Morgan, who is making her life a misery but he says he is the one looking out for her.

The sudden death of Ingrid’s friend Belinda causes Ingrid to descend into paranoia.

She doesn’t know who to trust. With police not taking her seriously, she thinks Webster ironically could be the only one she can trust.

One thing that strikes anyone who watches The Killing Kind having read the book is that the adaptation is a completely different animal and not any kind of beat by beat transformation to a new medium.

From the outset, it is obvious that there is a new approach and the story is being told in a different way.

All done with Jane’s blessing, she was happy to let the writers tell it their way just like she did with the novel.

They have thought outside the box, haven’t they?


“We started off by talking a huge amount about the book, about the characters and the plot and everything else.

“And we had months of talking about that and they really understood the spirit of the book.

“And that’s what they’ve taken.

“You can’t tell 110,000 words of book in six episodes.

“You can’t go from one to the other directly, and I wouldn’t want to either.

“They’ve done something new that I think is fantastic.

“I said to somebody it’s like taking a jigsaw puzzle and throwing it up in the air and then making a whole different picture out of all the pieces.

“All the elements are there but they’ve made something different out of it.

“Everybody sort of thinks, ‘Oh, you must have wanted it to be exactly the same as your book’.

“But again, that kind of creativity is just so amazing and such an honour really, to have someone think about your work like that, in that level of detail.

“I think when the first bits of filming happened, and they have these rushes where you get the early bits of filming.

“When that was coming back, all the people at Paramount and the people at 11th Hour (Productions) got really excited because they could see the chemistry between the actors was brilliant and the atmosphere was so good.

“The way that it was filmed is amazing.

“So they were happy to do it and then they got really excited about doing it too.

“So everything kind of speeded up.

“Emma Appleton is in every single scene in the show and she is so hypnotic to watch.

“She just does such an amazing job of showing you what Ingrid is feeling.

“So you get these moments that only take 10 seconds but it would take me, I don’t know, 3,000 words to give you the same impact as a reader.

“And then they really took full advantage of that.”

Emma Appleton is recognisable from the series Everything I Know About Love. Her other credits include The Witcher, the film The Last Letter from your Lover and the Ireland- shot LOLA.

She is already being lauded for her portrayal of Ingrid in The Killing Kind.

“I don’t want to sound patronising but I think it’s a big opportunity for her and she really went for it. She was incredibly committed.

“I visited the set on one day.

“I only went once because I kind of felt like it was such an intense environment.

“I am a writer, I’m a total introvert.

“I like to be on my own. I like kind of spending time working away by myself until I’m happy with what I’m doing.

“Acting is just the total opposite of that, you make your mistakes in front of everyone.

“You have to do things over and over again in front of everyone, there’s 50 people waiting for you to get it right.

“The pressure on her must have been unbelievable.

“She had so much grace and good humour and she was incredibly dedicated and would get it right the first time more often than not.

“She’s really such an accomplished person.

“I talked to her about it and I said, ‘I would have been terrified to take on a part like that’.

“And she said, ‘I was just so excited to do it’.”

That’s the difference, she loves it..

“Exactly, it’s a totally different mindset.

“But I just found being on set was so intense.

“I remember coming home from visiting and just going to bed.”

Colin Morgan was an apt choice for the part of John Webster as Jane Casey told The Irish World before that while she was locked down with her children and writing The Killing Kind, they were also watching Merlin so he would have been in her subconscious when first writing the story.

“I think he just brought an amazing energy to it.

“He really engaged with the character and really understood the character and how he related to the other characters that he was playing against.

“I honestly couldn’t be happier with him.

“I think he just really captured that quality of dangerous but charming, which is difficult to walk that line and not kind of go over the top.

“But he just is such a phenomenal actor and I think it really shows an amazing ability of his to embody this person who’s not very nice, but also incredibly charming.

“I also want to mention Kerr Logan, he plays Luke Nash and he’s phenomenally good, I think.

“He’s another Irish actor and I hope he gets the attention he deserves for his part because he’s just brilliant.

“He really blew me away when I saw him on screen.

“I think the contribution from Ireland for this has been very, very important.

“Lots of very key roles so, yeah, we’ve been very lucky.

“I think there’s a brilliant moment in one of the episodes where the police officer Luke Nash challenges her about what she’s done.

“She turns around and says, ‘I’d do it again’.

“And I love that moment.

“I think that’s a really key moment for her character.

“She has seen what the consequences are, but she still feels it was the right thing to do.

“So I think I do find that a very interesting and insightful moment in the plot, that even though it all went horribly wrong, she still believes in herself. She’ll still back herself.”

The relationship between Ingrid and John is fascinating.

He is literally the man of her nightmares but she finds herself having to trust him against all her instincts.

You’ll laugh at this, Jane but I think it’s like the Sarah Conner/ Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator relationship in Terminator 2.

Morgan’s Webster is almost saying, ‘Come with me if you want to live’.

“I’m not laughing, I think this is a genius observation.

“That is fantastic. Yeah, exactly that.

“It’s like, do you trust this person who you know is bad? You have no reason to think that they will do anything good for you but at the same time, you’re depending on them.”

It is also not a far fetched story. There are probably cases of barristers becoming targets..

“That’s right. It’s not based on a single incident but there have definitely been times that I’ve talked to barristers and they talked about having confrontations with people.

“One of the most difficult things that you can do is if you lose, and your client is going to prison, then you have to go down and see them in the cells.

“So you have that kind of like, ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t win, and now you’re going to prison’.

“So you’re very close to people who are going through something extremely traumatic.

“So I think it’s just a very high stakes environment and when you put people under pressure, they behave in odd ways.

“And that’s what I’m always looking for as a writer.

“It is where the idea of the book came from.

“I think the way they’ve taken it into the television show and the way that they show that kind of growing obsession, the resentment and the contrast between her before when she’s so confident and upbeat and feels like she has the world by the tail and then afterwards when she’s so vulnerable.

“I just love the way they bought that out in the show.”

There are times in the show when Ingrid speaks about winning. She speaks about the court and its trials like it is a game. This story shows it is a very dangerous game to play…

“That’s right.

“The stakes are so high.

“And for Ingrid, winning turns into losing.

“And that’s a very tough thing to have to deal with.

“But it’s so competitive, they all want to win at all costs.

“But then what are the consequences of winning?”

That’s another thing. Ingrid is encouraged to deal with the consequences of her work.

What if a barrister looked at what they had done whether it be guilty people walking free or a victim they destroyed on the stand taking their own life?

“Yeah, where’s the responsibility?

“Where’s the line that they’re crossing?

“In real life, barristers are so professional.

“They want to win but they do it within the confines of what’s legal and proper.

“And you have a judge who will intervene.

“People can’t go over the top as you might see in an American crime drama.

“But at the same time, just being put on the spot like that and being asked questions in public, we’re not used to it. It feels threatening and I honestly can’t think of anything worse than having to give evidence and being challenged on what I say because I’m a fantastically vague person in real life, and not necessarily going to be absolutely spot on on the details.

“And that’s where you really lose out in court.”


Could there be a second series? Obviously The Killing Kind is a stand alone book but is there still a consideration of taking the series further? “I think in TV they always have it sort of in the back of their minds.

“I’ve been talking to the producers about it and I gave them what I would have written if I had written a follow up to The Killing Kind, which could happen at some point.

“So we’re just discussing it at this point.

“A lot depends on how viewers feel about it obviously.

“But it’s a possibility. There’s definitely more to say about those characters, I think.”

What would your follow up to The Killing Kind be like, can we ask? “Well, I don’t know if they would go with my idea or not, that’s the other thing.

“Because at this point, they could take it in lots of different directions.

“But what I personally would like to see is the situation turned on its head where the power shifts from one to the other and see what happens there.

“I know that’s very vague. It’s just because I have to be so careful.

“I would be literally shot if I gave away anything about the ending.”

It would be great to see Maeve Kerrigan come to the screen too, wouldn’t it? I can actually see Emma in that role also as I think the roles have a lot in common..

“That’s right, they definitely have some DNA in common which does make sense considering where they came from, from my head.

“But I would love to see what they would do with the Maeve series.

“It hasn’t happened yet but I hope that at some point, we will kind of look at doing that or working on something else together.”

I can imagine Maeve and Ingrid being cousins or something, do you ever think of them meeting each other? Say Maeve crossing into Ingrid’s story or Ingrid popping up in a Maeve book?

“I’ve never even thought about having the Jane Casey universe.

“I’d love to do it for a short story.

“That actually has given me a really good idea.

“You never know.

“If I do it, I will definitely credit you or maybe dedicate it to you.

“I think it could be fascinating.

“That is brilliant.”

So what’s next for you? Apart from a Kerrigan/ Lewis crossover story..

“Exactly. Now I’m totally distracted (by the crossover story).

“The next thing that I’m going to do is I’m going to write my first novel set in Ireland, which is very exciting.

“It’s going to be a crime novel.

“It’s going to be set in and around Dublin and I’m just so excited to start writing that.

“It feels like it’s the right time for me to do something that’s set there.

“I hope I’ll do a good job on it.

“That’s next on my agenda, that will be hopefully coming out in 2025.

“I’ve written the book for next year.

“It’s another Maeve Kerrigan so that’s in the bag.

“That’ll be coming out in March next year and it’s called A Stranger in the Family.

“It’s about an elderly couple that are found dead in a luxury flat in Battersea. They are a husband and wife and it looks like a murder/suicide.

“But then, when they start investigating, they discover that it’s actually a murder and a murder and they are the parents of a little girl who disappeared 16 years before and has never been seen since.

“So Maeve begins to put together that this disappearance somehow connects with this double murder and if she can solve the disappearance of the daughter, she can work out who killed this couple.

“It’s book 11 in the series and I said to somebody yesterday, I’ve turned everything up to 11.

“Things are moving forward which I think readers have wanted for a long time, to see what will happen next. So definitely things are developing.”

The Killing Kind is available to stream on Paramount +.

The Killing Kind, The Close and many more of Jane’s books are available on Harper Collins.

For more information about Jane search Jane Casey author on social media.

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