Line of Duty's Martin Compston teases his 'dark' new crime drama Traces

Traces, starring Martin Compston and Molly Windsor

The tables are turned on Line of Duty’s Martin Compston in a new forensic drama

We’re used to seeing Martin Compston bringing corrupt cops to justice as the uncompromising DS Steve Arnott in hit BBC crime drama Line of Duty. But now the Scottish star is coming under suspicion in Alibi’s six-part forensic drama, Traces.

Written by Coronation Street and Scott & Bailey actress Amelia Bullmore, Traces centres on lab technician Emma (BAFTA-winning Three Girls actress Molly Windsor), who returns to her childhood home of Dundee to start a new job.

A bizarre turn of events at work, though, causes her to start investigating her mother's unsolved murder from years ago. And when she starts dating builder Daniel (Martin Compston), she's unaware that he could be implicated in a fire that her boss at SIFA - the Scottish Institute of Forensic Science and Anatomy - is helping police to investigate.

We caught up with Martin Compston on set to find out more about Alibi's Traces…

What can you tell us about your character?

Martin Compston: “My character Daniel is in charge of the construction of the nightclub that has burnt down after a massive fire that ended in three fatalities. That is when he meets this fascinating young woman called Emma.”

How would you describe their relationship?

Martin Compston and Molly Windsor in Traces

Martin Compston and Molly Windsor in Traces

Martin: “Both of them are lost at the time they meet, so they go quite deep very quickly. They are in this crazy situation – he’s being investigated for culpable homicide, and she’s looking for her mum’s killer. They kind of need each other, but it’s the maddest thing for them to be together!”

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What was it like working with each other on this series?

Martin: “Molly’s got the world at her feet – she’s a stunning young actor. She already has a BAFTA and she’s got everything she needs to go as far as she wants. And she’s always trying different stuff – she’s leading the charge!”

Do you watch a lot of TV crime dramas?

Martin: “Growing up in Scotland, Taggart used to be a big thing for us. And that interview scene between Robbie Coltrane and Robert Carlyle in Cracker was one of the most fascinating things I have ever seen. My mum was big on Prime Suspect, and I love Boardwalk Empire and Peaky Blinders, as I’m fascinated by all that mob history.”

Are people going to learn a lot about forensics from this show?

Martin: “As opposed to a cop show, where they are working on hunches, these are scientists who work with facts. They are not just trying to jump to a conclusion - they are getting everything down to the minutest detail, and laying it out. That was fascinating to see - things like how long hair or bone lasts in the ground.”

How would you describe Traces in one sentence?

Martin: “Traces is a dark, twisty crime drama!”

Traces starts on Alibi on Monday and Tuesday 9 and 10 December at 9pm

Ian MacEwan
Senior Writer

Ian writes about TV and film for TV Times, What’s on TV and TV & Satellite Week magazines. He co-hosts the weekly TV streaming podcast, Bingewatch.