Interview with Holliday Grainger from "CB Strike: Troubled Blood," which premieres on HBO Feb. 6

Holliday Grainger plays the role of Robin Ellacott in "CB Strike: Troubled Blood"



Can you tell us where we first find Robin in this series?
She is in a midst of a divorce with Matthew and it’s not easy but she’s got a new found independence. Her relationship with Matthew was quite restrictive and now she’s autonomous she can really get stuck into her work.

Could you give us some background to the case in this series?

Troubled Blood focuses on a cold case, Robin and Strike are investigating the disappearance of a doctor in the 1970s. A lot of the witnesses and the people involved are old or dead now, so it’s a case of tracking people down and slowly putting together the notes of two different police detectives. For Robin and Strike this case is quite different from the others, in that it’s digging into the past and trying to trace people that are hard to track down.

Did you read the book beforehand?

Yes I always read the books. I really love the books so whenever they first come out, I get stuck in straight away!

You mentioned that Robin is free of Matthew. How do we think this has changed her character in the series?

It feels like Robin’s grown up a bit. She is more confident and is better able to deal with her anxieties. It makes you think a lot of them were intertwined with the pressure that Matthew put on her and now that she’s free she has more autonomy over her life, her work and her social life.

She’s also not restricted in terms of how many hours she puts into work [laughs]. And I think that also goes hand in hand with her career, she’s now a partner in the business with Strike and she’s got much more experience. He has trust and faith in her to make her own decisions too. Obviously they disagree occasionally and Strike’s still protective of her. But on the whole, it feels like Robin is now an equal partner in business with Strike.

We see a lot of Robin’s family over the series, but not really Strike’s. This is the first time that we go to Cornwall and we see a bit of his background. Do you think the family aspects of Troubled Blood widens our understanding of him?

We learn so much more about him, he’s got such a dichotomy in his childhood. He has two mother figures, one of whom brings him up precariously in London squats and the music scene; and the other, Joan, has brought him up with such a wholesome existence by the sea in Cornwall. It is that side of Strike that we get to learn about in this series, which makes a lot of the aspects of his character make a lot of sense. It’s interesting to see that strand of love and care in his childhood and the loss of someone really close to him. I think it will be emotional to watch as Strike doesn’t always give a lot away emotionally, so when you see him break it’s really heartbreaking.

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

I think Strike always recognised Robin’s aptitude for the job and her abilities. I think it’s now developed into a mutual trust and understanding. They’ve got to the stage now where they can bicker and disagree on certain aspects without being quite so defensive. It definitely feels they’re more on an even keel.

Are you ever in a situation where you think “What would Robin do?”

Maybe that’s where I’m failing in life [laughs]. In certain situations, I should just think: “What would Robin do?” and maybe I’d make a better judgement.

How does Strike and Robin’s relationship develop in this series?

I think due to everything that happened in the previous series there’s got to be some sort of mutual understanding and affection between Robin and Strike, as much as they try to downplay that. They are firm friends now and I think that’s the difference from previous series. Now there’s genuine friendship and trust. But it always gets to the stage, where they question if there is anything more and whether they should act on it.

There seems to be a lot more focus on mental health and issues they’ve had to overcome. How important is it that Robin carries that with her?

As people, we are all products of our experiences and Strike and Robin definitely are. They’ve both been through huge emotional upheaval and come through the other side. I think that’s what makes them good at their job, and also what makes them friends. There’s a certain level of empathy within some situations because of what they’ve been through. Robin wouldn’t be who she is without her past experiences and because of the way that she dealt with them.

In Troubled Blood, we see her having come through various different challenges, and she’s able to deal with them a lot better. She still has a burning anger inside of her and a real sense of justice.

What do you think attracts people to Cormoran?

I think Strike’s such an interesting character because he’s led such a fascinating life and he’s got a lot bubbling there under the surface. When we first get to know him, he seems almost aloof and mysterious sometimes, but there’s a real depth to him. His empathy and understanding, and fairness and pathos… and in this series we learn even more about his family history and where he’s come from.


[Press Release First Published on December 14 2022]

Source BBC One

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


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