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We Hunt Together creator: ‘I wanted to write a twisted love story’ – How I Made It
BT TV talks exclusively to Gaby Hull, the writer of new crime thriller We Hunt Together, about the making of this boundary-pushing story.
Influenced by twisted classics such as True Romance and Killing Eve, writer Gaby Hull’s new crime thriller We Hunt Together explores the darkest side of the human personality.
Gaby describes his series as a “twisted love story”. It pushes and nudges viewers to consider concepts like criminality and free-will, while we follow two thrilling relationships.
A dysfunctional detective duo thrust together to solve a violent crime and a pair of loved-up killers, who also intoxicate the viewer, despite their awful actions.
BT TV spoke to Gaby about the process of writing the series and how he developed the idea for this disturbing and thought-provoking drama…
The show is a scary watch before bed. Do you enjoy going to extreme and dark places with your writing?
I do enjoy writing dark material. I enjoy testing boundaries of what we can watch and enjoy as an audience. But also as the show goes on, although it does go to some dark places, there are scenes of compassion and empathy. There is a real warmth going through it as well. And hopefully it’s quite funny in places. It doesn’t take itself too seriously. We’re trying to get the balance of the dark and the light.
We’ll try marry those things together in the most entertaining way possible.
The shows doesn’t follow the standard cop thriller format. Were you deliberately avoiding that?
Although it is a cat-and-mouse thriller, because we know who the killers are, we spend equal time with the criminals as we do the cops. So I think it’s as much a relationship drama as a cop thriller.
You have three relationships, the twisted love story, the cop buddy movie with mismatched world views and then the cat-and-mouse dynamic between the two couples. Those are the three things we keep juggling and the heart of the show.
What was the starting point for writing the series? Was it a particular character or plot point?
It was more of a thematic drive at the start. I’ve always been interested in the idea of free will and how much control we have. I wanted to write a show that tested that theory by showing the most extreme and dark, human behaviour, while asking our audience to have some level of sympathy with the people who commit those deeds.
That idea formed in my mind and I was reading Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, which takes quite an objective view of its two killers and I found that quite interesting at the time. I liked the idea of not pitching good guys and bad guys. These are just four people and this is where they have ended up. We’re asking our audience to feel some sort of compassion for people, even when they do terrible things.
I loved the character of DI Jackson Mendy and Babou Ceesay is fabulous. Did you always have him in mind?
He’s wonderful. I worked with Babou very briefly on a comedy series and I did write it very much with him in mind. Very often male cops on TV are troubled, macho, alcoholics. But DI Jackson is a very gentle, good-humoured and passionate man who is the real driver of this thematic idea that none of us are responsible for what we do.
He’s a police officer who doesn’t believe in criminality. He is someone who is very aware of the systemic failures of the justice system and in every level of our society. And he plays brilliantly against Eve Myles as Lola, who as a character is much more down to earth and believes bad people do bad things. Babou and Eve are just brilliant and I couldn’t be happier. They bring such charm and people will fall in love with their characters I hope.
How tough is it to make viewers enjoy watching evil people and have sympathy for them?
It was really fun giving it a go. And quite challenging. Because you have to really buy into the relationship, root for them and feel for them on some level. Even when they’re doing these terrible things. You have to feel for them on some level and understand this relationship and how intoxicated they are together.
It was a line we were constantly playing with. Baba was an ex-soldier, so we immediately have some sympathy for him. It’s not political or exploring the places where he was a child soldier, but by putting him in this world, we immediately have an engaging and empathetic character.
The first time we see him, he’s in club toilet and someone is throwing a coin at him. We see him picking up the coin and he’s at his lowest moment, we see how badly he’s doing in the system he finds himself in. It’s in that moment when Freddy walks in – she walks in at his lowest moment. And then there is a moment of violence, which bonds them together.
So their whole relationship feels like a reaction and retaliation to injustices to both of their characters. Do they take it too far, of course they do, but how far can they go while retaining some of our sympathy is one of the questions of the series.
And will the show return for series 2?
I definitely have ideas for future series. Without giving too much away, there would be some returning characters. I do have ideas for a returning series, but we’ll have to wait and see on that one.