Wolfe gives a new spin to the crime drama genre by following the work of a talented forensic scientist who has bipolar disorder.
Sky Max’s darkly comic series is set to fascinate and entertain when it hits our screens in September and stars Babou Ceesay (We Hunt Together, Dirty Money) as Professor Wolfe Kinteh, who tackles a host of grisly cases while dealing with his own personal issues.
Here’s everything you need to know about Wolfe…
Wolfe release date
The first episode of the six-part drama will air on Sky Max HD at 9pm on Friday September 10. All episodes will then be available from Sky and Now TV as a box-set.
What’s the plot of Wolfe?
The series centres on Professor Wolfe Kinteh, played by Babou Ceesay, who works at a university in the north of England as a lecturer. But, along with his dedicated team, he helps the police to examine crime scenes and solve a variety of crimes, beginning with a gruesome incident in which an engineer has been killed while repairing a machine in a meatpacking factory. However, for Wolfe, described as ‘half-genius, half liability’, having bipolar proves both an asset and a challenge.
“Wolfe’s teaching forensics but his lab also does forensics for the police and they use him for complex cases knowing he's going to do it his own way," says Ceesay. “He struggles with bipolar, but because of the way his brain works, he's able to put things together in a crime scene in a way that other people won't. Work is his safety net. But he's willing to cross every line, including breaking the law, to get where he needs to.”
Wolfe is living apart from his estranged wife Valerie, played by Game of Thrones’ Natalia Tena, and their teenage daughter Flick, played by Alex Rider's Talitha Wing, but is desperate to reunite with them.
Meanwhile, working alongside Wolfe to help DCI Betsy Chambers, played by Little Boy Blue’s Christine Tremarco, is a dedicated group of crime scene experts including no-nonsense single mum Dot played by Sherlock star Amanda Abbington. Savvy, ambitious Maggy is played by Chimerica’s Naomi Yang, The Bay’s Adam Long is enthusiastic entomologist Steve and Small Axe’s Shaniqua Okwok is enigmatic rookie Dominique.
“Wolfe, on paper, is annoying! But I tried to make sure he was warm as well, so he can take people along with him and convince them to do things they do not want to do,” says Ceesay. “When they solve these crimes, they’re trying to put families back together again and the team is also a family that Wolfe can depend on. They love him. But there are secrets that threaten the team and its integrity…”
Who wrote Wolfe?
BAFTA-winning writer Paul Abbott has made his name by effortlessly blending gritty reality with a touch of gleeful outrageousness in the likes of Shameless and No Offence and he was keen to bring his unique, blackly comic style to the world of forensics with Wolfe.
“I love watching forensic shows and cop shows, but I wish there was more humour. It’s what I want to watch,” Abbott tells us. “So there’s mischief and delinquency in Wolfe. He’s subversive. There's also the forensic layer. It’s theatrically gory. But you've got to have inventiveness around the way you do it.”
Abbott, whose other credits include Cracker, State of Play and Clocking Off, was also keen to explore bipolar disorder in Wolfe, as he lives with the condition himself.
“I know what it feels like to be there. It's scary to everybody else and I've gone through dark places before I realised that if I was in a manic phase, I threw it into my writing," he explains. "You are weaponising your enemy. I’ve put it to good use.”
Is there a trailer for Wolfe?
Yes, the action-packed teaser, which features an appearance from gun-toting guest star David Threlfall, sees a dapper Wolfe going about his work and introduces us to his team. But the stylised camera shots and jerky voiceover also give a glimpse into his often troubled mind...
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