Interview with Tom Burke who plays Strike in CB Strike: Troubled Blood, which debuts on HBO Feb. 6

CB Strike Troubled Blood cast and creatives on Robin and Strike's relationship, Cormoran's childhood and a challenging cold case

Strike and Robin come up against a fiendishly complex case with a psychopathic serial killer and witnesses who cannot all be trusted



Where do we find Strike at the start of this series?
The series starts in Cornwall and there’s a family situation going on. His Aunt Joan has cancer so he’s dealing with that and it’s there that he meets Anna Phipps who brings a cold case to him, her mother disappeared when she was a baby and was never found. He’s immediately quite cynical about being able to solve it given the amount of time that has passed.

What do you think the introduction of Cormoran’s family life in Cornwall tells us about him?

At first glance, the family life that you see in Cornwall looks rather idyllic but we know enough about what happened with his mother and his absent father to think ‘thank God he had these two’.

However, we soon realise it was quite a complicated situation for him to be in because of the divided loyalty. It was a gradual journey and it would have been incredibly confusing for a child to immediately slot him into this new family set up.

How much do you think Strike’s time in Cornwall informs his character now?

I wouldn’t be able to pin it down exactly how it affects him but I think there is a different sense of periphery when you spend your life in a city to when you spend your life in open places. There is something about his physicality, you feel like he’s spent a lot of time strolling along the beach or over some cliffs. There’s just something about his line of sight and the way he takes in a room.

I feel he’s been shaped by so many things, growing up in squats, living in London, the whole Cornwall side and then there’s his university life which helped shape his intellect. I feel like it all fits together.

Can you tell us about how Robin and Strike’s relationship has evolved in Troubled Blood?

There is something very strong between them but he’s also processing a lot about his Aunt and Uncle in this series. He allows himself to be a bit more vulnerable around her and he’s a little freer with how he feels about her too, partly because he’s been encouraged to by his family. It’s a weird mixture of feelings, he thinks it is incredibly dangerous for him and he is trying not to feel those things.

There is a tense moment in this series when Strike meets convicted serial killer Dennis Creed. What does this scene say about his ability as a detective?

One of the things about Strike I particularly find endearing is his humanity and even when confronting killers he takes a big brother approach and he’s always shocked when they spin around and lash out at him.

In that scene I was thinking about what expectations he would have of Creed but inevitably when somebody is a certified serial killer you would be on your guard. He was very aware of Creed’s vanity and his ego before they met so I was mindful of the flow of communication between the two characters. There’s the cadence and rhythm in reflecting the person and it’s also about knowing when to confront them as well.

This series gives us a great insight into Robin’s strengths. What qualities do you think Strike recognises in her now?

I think he’s often floored by her empathy and the way she gets so caught up in a case. He’s very humbled by her capacity for that.

I think there’s also moments where she’s very instinctive and intuitive and able to think about things with a kind of fuzzy logic. She’s not afraid to challenge Strike if she thinks there’s something they’re missing.


Private detective Cormoran Strike (Tom Burke) is visiting his family in Cornwall when he’s approached by a woman, Anna Phipps (Sophie Ward) asking for help finding her mother, Margot Bamborough (Abigail Lawrie), who went missing under mysterious circumstances in 1974.

Strike’s never tackled a cold case before, let alone one forty years old, but despite the slim chance of success, he’s intrigued and takes it on, adding to the long list of cases that he and his partner in the agency Robin Ellacott (Holliday Grainger) are currently working on. Robin herself is also juggling a messy divorce and unwanted male attention as well as battling her own feelings about Strike.

As Strike and Robin investigate Margot’s disappearance, they come up against a fiendishly complex case with a psychopathic serial killer and witnesses who cannot all be trusted. They learn that even cases decades old can prove to be deadly.

[Press Release First Published on December 14 2022]

Source BBC One

February 6, 2023 4:00am ET by BBC One  

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