Combining sci-fi, action and, of course, laugh-out-loud moments, the first two series of Code 404 gained a real fan following.
So they’ll be thrilled to know that the crime caper returns for its third series [starts in the UK on Thursday, August 4 at 9pm on Sky Comedy, currently no US release date], as Daniel Mays’ A.I-enhanced detective DI John Major and his sidekick Roy Carver — played by Stephen Graham — take on their toughest case yet.
As the series — showing as double-bills — begins, Major and Carver have been put on limited duties by DCS Dennett (Rosie Cavaliero) pending an inquiry into their last investigation, which ended with Major’s gangster father Clifford being shot dead.
However, when one of the Special Investigations Unit's own officers is murdered, the duo soon discover they’re dealing with a twisted serial killer and are determined to solve the case and prove their worth. However, it doesn’t help that "RoboCop" Major has been hacked with spyware, leading to crucial evidence in the case being leaked!
As both Carver and Major try to move on from Major’s psychotherapist ex-wife Kelly (Anna Maxwell Martin), forensic psychologist Professor Sarah McAllister (Doctor Who’s Vinette Robinson) is brought in to work the case — will she cause a rift between Major and Carver?
In an exclusive interview with What to Watch, Daniel Mays, 44, and Stephen Graham, 48, reveal more about Code 404 season 3…
What’s Major and Carver’s friendship like as series three begins?
Daniel: "Major and Carver have survived the trials and tribulations of season two and this time around they tackling their most dangerous adversary yet as they go on the hunt for a serial killer. At the same time, Major being part human/part A.I., has his usual ‘technical’ problems and is freaked out when he learns he’s got spyware located in his brain, which means other people can see things through his eyes. With Major having been ‘hacked’ while he hunts for this serial killer, whoever is watching from inside his head, gets to see all the evidence… and all his mishaps!"
How does Carver feel about being put on light duties?
Stephen: "Carver’s annoyed with Major for being an idiot and getting him into trouble last series, so they’re not the best of mates. Carver's miffed about having to do safety briefings in schools; he’s a very pro-active detective so, for him, there’s nothing worse than being on the sidelines and he’s itching to get stuck into a case. As they hunt for the serial killer, Major and Carver come to understand they need each other. So they start off poles apart but are soon back in Lethal Weapon mode!"
How was the spyware effect achieved?
Daniel: "The production team put a weird helmet on my head with this GoPro camera attached to the front of it. I’d act out a scene but then we’d have to do it again, this time with the camera on my head, and re-create the scenes I’d just shot. Then special effects were added in post-production."
What does Major make of Professor Sarah McAllister (Vinette Robinson), the psychologist who’s brought in to work on the case?
Daniel: "Just like the earlier love triangle between Carver, Major and Kelly, this is a ‘love triangle’ of a different kind. McAllister represents a threat towards Major because she's got all of Carver’s attention and affections — that doesn't sit well with Major at all."
Stephen, you worked with Vinette on the film Boiling Point, didn't you?
Stephen: "I did, yeah. It was lovely to work with Vinette again. When she got the role, I phoned her up and said: ‘Come and play with us!’ In terms of the characters, Carver's initially a bit unsure about Professor McAllister but he soon realises she’s really good at her job. However, when it comes to flirting with women, Carver hasn’t got a clue. So, there is chemistry there but he just can’t read the signs. Then he does and things get interesting…"
Do you both really enjoy working together? And who's the biggest corpser on set?
Daniel: "Oh, we’re both as bad as each other! What’s wonderful is Stephen and I know the material so well now and we know the characters inside and out. We’ve been friends for years and we have a shorthand with each other now; we’re really not afraid to ad-lib, play around with scenes and find out what works best. We don’t stop laughing all day. It’s a joy to work with him."
Stephen: "I LOVE working with Danny! It's always the most fun I ever have on a set and I’m surprised we get through a day’s work because I do nothing but laugh. I’m definitely the biggest corpser by far! I’ve known Danny for over 20 years and we’re really good friends, so to work with him is such a buzz."
Major is part human/part A.I. If you could "upgrade" any part of yourself what would it be?
Daniel: "Well, I’m 44 now and, when you get to mid-40s, your body never really feels like it used to anymore. So I have to walk around for five minutes before my feet start feeling normal. So I would upgrade my feet to make me feel like a 21-year-old again!"
How does this series compare to series one and two?
Daniel: "There’s still all of the slapstick, energy and comedy of errors that Major brings plus moments of real pathos, fantastic action sequences and, at its core, a relationship drama. But this series also has a real thriller aspect to it, as we have one overarching narrative with the serial killer. Actors always say their latest series is ‘a lot darker’ but I do think that’s the case with series three and I hope people enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed making it. I’m ridiculously proud of Code 404 — I will hang my hat on it and say this is our best series yet!"
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With over 20 years’ experience writing about TV and film, Vicky currently writes features for What’s on TV, TV Times, TV & Satellite Week magazines plus news and watching guides for WhatToWatch.com, a job which involves chatting to a whole host of famous faces. Our Vicky LOVES light entertainment, with Strictly Come Dancing, Britain’s Got Talent and The Voice UK among her fave shows. Basically, if it’s got a shiny floor, she’s all over it! When she’s not watching TV, you might find Vicky in therapy… retail therapy that is!