Grace: Cast, plot and filming locations of the adaptation of Peter James’ bestselling novels

Peter James has sold millions of his books about detective Roy Grace – and now the first two stories are coming to TV. Find out who stars alongside John Simm in the ITV drama.

By Becky Gamester-Newton Published: 14 March 2021 - 5.23pm

With more than 18 million copies sold, readers all over the world have been hooked on Peter James’s Roy Grace crime fiction series since 2003. The books have been translated into 37 languages, and with book number 18 currently being written, their popularity shows no sign of waning.

As ITV brings the first two stories to the small screen in a feature-length film, discover who’s taking centre stage and everything else you need to know.

7 Questions with… Grace author Peter James - exclusive interview

Screenwriter Russell Lewis on filming Grace during Covid

Meet the Grace cast

Detective Superintendent Roy Grace – John Simm

John Simm as DS Roy Grace ITV

Where have you seen him before?

Life on Mars, Doctor Who, The Lakes, 24 Hour Party People.

John Simm on DS Grace

“He’s pretty inscrutable. He’s a brilliant cop. He’s had a wonderful career and also has been visited by a tragedy with his wife going missing. For such a brilliant detective it’s sort of ironic that he can’t solve that. So that’s always hanging over him.

“He uses strange methods. If it works, it works – he goes for it. He just wants to get the result, that’s it. He doesn’t care about what people think. Having said that, he’s not maverick or anything, he’s just a really good police officer.

“When we meet him he’s really down on his luck, he’s in the middle of a trial. He went to see a medium to try and help him, a friend of his called Harry Frame who’s helped him before. And this was picked up by the media and it’s been brought up in the trial.

"So he’s in the middle of a really stressful trial, he’s been demoted while this happens – he’s been demoted to cold cases. He’s in an office doing paperwork and pretty down on his luck when we first meet him.”

Detective Sergeant Glenn Branson – Richie Campbell

Richie Campbell as DS Branson ITV

Where have you seen him before?

Liar, The Bill, Waterloo Road, Anuvahood.

Richie Campbell on DS Branson

“Branson enjoys watching Grace get back into the swing of things, especially after what Grace has been through. Branson has moved up the ranks and is ambitious to prove his worth but he is taking a risk by bringing Grace back.

“I think taking that risk demonstrates how strong their friendship is. There is a lot of heart towards who they are as people besides the police work. They started off as Grace, maybe being a mentor figure for Branson, but now they are real friends. Branson has learned from Grace and goes on gut instinct rather than necessarily playing by the rules.”

Assistant Chief Constable Alison Vosper – Rakie Ayola

Rakie Ayola as ACC Vosper ITV

Where have you seen her before?

Holby City, Maisie Raine, Black Mirror.

Rakie Ayola on ACC Alison Vosper

“She’s managerial, she’s in that sort of organisational role. And she admires and respects Grace very, very much. She knows that he’s a good detective.

“What she doesn’t love is his unorthodox methods because she has to explain them to the people upstairs and to the press. Even when they work, even when he’s made the right call, policing as far as she’s concerned is not a spiritual, new agey, other-worldly profession and so she has no way of spinning the fact that he often does what he does. She has no procedural way of selling that.

“That frustrates her… but she knows that he’s a great detective. She knows that he’s also going through something emotionally as well so maybe it’s all too much – she’s asking too much of him and he’s asking too much of himself. He’s brilliant at his job but he’s infuriating.”

DS Bella Moy – Laura Elphinstone

Laura Elphinstone as DS Moy ITV

Where have you seen her before?

Chernobyl, Line of Duty, Game of Thrones

DC Emma Jane Boutwood – Amaka Okafor

Amaka Okafor as DC Boutwood ITV

Where have you seen her before?

The Split, Des

Ashley Haynes – Played by Alisha Bailey

Alisha Bailey as Ashley ITV

Where have you seen her before?

Save Me, Strike, Chewing Gum

What is Grace about?

John Simm as Roy Grace ITV

The first film is an adaptation of the first novel, called Dead Simple. DS Roy Grace – who is tormented by the disappearance of his wife six years ago – has been demoted and should be working on cold cases. However, when a local property developer goes missing on a stag night, Detective Sergeant Branson comes to Grace for advice, prompting Grace to join the investigation.

As Grace’s instincts help unravel the events of the fateful stag night, it becomes clear that some know more than they are letting on – and a missing persons inquiry may be something more sinister.

Where is Grace filmed?

Like the books, Grace is set in the south-coast city of Brighton and the entire production was created there.

“I knew Brighton fairly well before this because we’d visited many times,” said John Simm. “I’ve always loved Brighton and it was a lovely place to film.

“It’s a beautiful place which we see in these films, but Peter James also shows us a dark underbelly in his novels.”

Is there a trailer for Grace?

Watch the trailer for the first Grace film, Dead Simple, below:

Watch the first episode of Grace at 8pm on Sunday, March 14, on ITV.

The second film, based on the book Looking Good Dead, will air later in 2021.

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