Aidan Turner on filming terrifying scenes in his psychological thriller The Suspect

Aidan Turner stars in new psychological thriller, The Suspect, on ITV.
Aidan Turner stars in new psychological thriller, The Suspect, on ITV. (Image credit: ITV)

Aidan Turner stars as a clinical psychologist who's hiding some VERY big secrets in ITV's gripping new five-part psychological thriller, The Suspect. 

Poldark star Aidan Turner plays Dr Joe O'Loughlin, who appears to have it all; a successful career, a devoted family and a beautiful home. However, things are not as they seem. 

The first episode saw the drama get off to a heart-racing start when Joe, who has recently been diagnosed with early onset Parkinson's, put himself in extreme danger. 

Meanwhile, some shady revelations emerge about Joe's past and when a woman was found murdered in a west London cemetery, leading to Joe quickly going from hero to murder suspect!  

We met up with Aidan to hear why viewers are going to be kept guessing and to chat about parenthood, James Bond rumors and filming scary scenes...

What can you tell us about your character Joe? What's he like?

Aidan says:  "Joe feels like the unreliable narrator. There are so many moments when we trust him and then he’ll do something and you go, ‘ Christ! Why did you do that? Are you going to make sense of this for us?' Sometimes it feels like there isn't a reason. He's very a layered character, he makes some very questionable decisions and he lies to the police. When I read the script I thought, 'Yes! This guy has everything',  because there is so much ambiguity around him." 

What was it like filming those opening scenes?

"Terrifying! I’m petrified of heights. There was a stunt double for the super high bits but they recreated the hospital building for my scenes and I was still two floors up hanging 15 metres in the sky. There were cranes, hooks and a crash mat but even though your head knows that your body doesn’t. It’s a great way to open a show though. Viewers are plunged straight in."

Aidan Turner plays doctor Joe who has to rescue a patient from a hospital window ledge.

Aidan Turner plays doctor Joe who has to rescue a patient from a hospital window ledge.  (Image credit: ITV)

Aidan Turner stars in The Suspect on ITV

Cancer patient Malcom is about to throw himself off the side of the hospital in The Suspect.  (Image credit: ITV)

In his role as a psychologist we see Joe treating patients who have phobias. Do you have any phobias yourself?

"I have a thing about lint. I carry one of those lint rollers around with me most of the time to get rid of it. One of the costume designers noticed the other day and said, ‘That’s a really weird thing to have!’ and I said, ‘I just hate lint. It drives me crazy.’ I wear quite a lot of dark colours and we have a dog who sheds hair but even if we didn’t I would still be lint rolling. I wouldn’t call it a phobia as such but it’s definitely a thing!" 

Are you someone who likes everything neat and tidy then?

"Yes, I’m a pretty tidy guy. We’ve got a baby now and babies have a lot of gear so I’m tidying that stuff up constantly. It’s neat for five minutes then it’s everywhere again."

Anjli Mohindra (Vigil) and Shaun Parkes (Small Axe) star as detectives DS Riya Devi and DI Vince Ruiz who think Dr Joe could be a murder suspect.

Anjli Mohindra (Vigil) and Shaun Parkes (Small Axe) star as detectives DS Riya Devi and DI Vince Ruiz who think Dr Joe could be a murder suspect.  (Image credit: ITV)

What’s important to you when choosing whether or not to take a role?

"When The Suspect came up I was looking to do something contemporary that  I would really want to watch myself. I love psychological thrillers, that’s my jam!  Ever since watching Broadchurch years ago, I've wanted to work with the director James Strong who directed this. Plus it was  a huge bonus to be working in London where I live.  Because I’ve got a young family now it was great to be going home every night and be in my own bed. Being close to home isn’t the only reason you choose to do a project but it definitely helps."

Aidan Turner stars in The Suspect on ITV.

Dr Joe's erratic behaviour arouses a lot of suspicion in The Suspect.  (Image credit: ITV)

What do your legions of fans want to ask you when they approach you, are they all after selfies?

"Yeah, it's usually for a selfie but what I find funny is they’ll often say, ‘It’s not for me. It's for my mum who is a big fan', or 'My little brother loves that thing you were in…’ , which is cool but it's just bizarre. I know it happens to a lot of other actors too. It's vaguely insulting! (laughing), it's like going, I haven't seen anything you're in, or I'm not into what you do but can I have a selfie?'. But people are always lovely and I've never had a bad experience." 

Were you worried about getting typecast after having such huge success with Poldark?

"It’s such a double-edged sword. You want whatever you’re in to do really well and be popular. You’re not going to be typecast from something that no-one watches!  So after Poldark the offers were there for more costume dramas and when I was in Being Human I got a lot of offers to play other vampires. It’s flattering but it can be frustrating too."

Aidan Turner in Poldark.

Aidan Turner became a household name following his role in Poldark (Image credit: ITV)

Which of your Poldark co-stars are you still in touch with?

"With actors it’s like passing ships. Heida Reed (who played Elizabeth) is a really close friend of mine and I’m pals with her husband Sam who is a filmmaker, we hang out quite a lot. I saw Ruby (Ruby Bentall who played Verity Poldark) recently and we had a good craic and John Hollingworth (Captain Henshawe) is a good mate. John and I clicked the moment we met." 

Aidan Turner in The Suspect

Aidan Turner starring in episode one of The Suspect.  (Image credit: ITV)

Is there a genre you feel you’d like to do more of?

"Comedy!  There was comedy in Being Human. Russell (Tovey, who played werewolf George Sands) and Leonora (Chrichlow who played Annie) would dial up the scenes and make them funny. And I was in Toast of London which was great. I’d love to do more comedy, maybe that’s the next turn." 

You always seem to be in the running for becoming the new James Bond. What can you tell us?

"Genuinely, I’ve never been called up about it, it’s something the newspapers have ramped up. I get pals taking screenshots of Paddy Power saying , ‘Look, you’re in the top five favourites’. Maybe some of the other actors on those lists have been approached.  I’m very happy with the way my career is going right now, I can walk into places, beard or no beard and it’s no big deal. Bond is a super-high profile role, it changes things forever but if I did get called up about it it would be an interesting phone call that’s for sure!"

The Suspect airs on Monday evenings at 9pm on ITV. 

Tess Lamacraft
Senior Writer for What's On TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite week,

Tess is a senior writer for What’s On TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite and She's been writing about TV for over 25 years and worked on some of the UK’s biggest and best-selling publications including the Daily Mirror where she was assistant editor on the weekend TV magazine, The Look, and Closer magazine where she was TV editor. She has freelanced for a whole range of websites and publications including We Love TV, The Sun’s TV Mag, Woman, Woman’s Own, Fabulous, Good Living, Prima and Woman and Home.