Vigil’s cast and creatives delve into the intricate journey of the second series.

DCI Amy Silva (Suranne Jones) and DI Kirsten Longacre (Rose Leslie) join forces once again for a fresh investigation.

In the aftermath of unexplained fatalities at a Scottish military facility, DCI Amy Silva (Suranne Jones) and DI Kirsten Longacre (Rose Leslie) are assigned to unravel the mystery. Venturing into the secretive and exclusive realms of the air force, they confront the perils of futuristic warfare while fighting for their own survival.

Interview with Suranne Jones (DCI Amy Silva)

Where do we find Amy at the start of series two?

We left series one with Amy and Kirsten picking up Poppy after the trauma of the submarine and we saw that they decided to give their relationship a go. In this series, Kirsten is pregnant, they are very happy together and very much in love and Poppy is now living with them. So we see Amy really happy and in a very secure place in her life.

Can you tell us about the story in the new series?

I was honestly quite surprised and excited about how they were going to do Vigil series two because the first series was so specific and such a ride. Tom Edge and the writers have done a brilliant job at putting a new world together for the second series. Rather than the navy, which we saw in the first series, we’re now in the world of the air force. It’s clever as we stay in the ‘Vigil’ world and we have a blueprint of this police officer – my character – who has got form about investigating the military. At the start of this series, there has been an awful incident involving ‘malfunctioning’ military drones killing multiple people at the Dundair Air Base and, due to her work on the submarine, Amy is called in to investigate whether these drones really have malfunctioned or have in fact been used to attack their own.

We’ve got four returning characters – Amy, Kirsten, Poppy and Gary Lewis back as Robertson – which is quite unusual to jump into a second series with because usually you meet more characters again, but it feels very fresh and exciting, and fully grounded in the world that we know from the first series – albeit with a brand new story and a brand new mystery for Silva to unravel

Would you say series two has lots of twists and turns, as the first series did?

Yes, absolutely! I think the magic of Vigil is that Amy is the audience in a way. In series one on the submarine, she kept pointing a finger at different people but every time she had a lead, that person had something but it wasn’t the main crime so it led her to something else. We’ve managed to do that again in this series. There are lots of ways that Amy could go with the investigation and it leads her to meet various characters in Wudyan, which is our fictional country in the middle east and the secondary world in this series – similar to how the submarine was the secondary world in the first series. We shot the Wudyan scenes in Morocco which was really fun. Even that is still kind of sticking with the blueprint of the first series, one that World Productions and Tom Edge, our writer, really found exciting. The first series was of course land and sea and this series sees Amy go to two different worlds within the same investigation. I think that in itself sets Vigil apart from anything else on TV. I also think it’s brave to tackle the issues and ask some of the questions that you see in the series, certainly as we come into the later episodes. It’s done in a way that keeps you in a populist, blockbuster entertainment show but is really quite intelligent and thoughtful about what’s going on in the world and I think they’ve done a really good job with that.

What can you tell us about Amy’s relationship with Kirsten in this series and what it’s been like working with Rose again?

One of the pulls to come back to Vigil was working with Rose again. We got on so well in series one so to come back and then have our relationship, both on and off screen, be more settled was such a joy. We could dive straight back into it and just assess where we were at. Rose was actually pregnant while we were filming which was lovely, though perhaps not for Rose on many occasions – it must have been really tiring! It was lovely though as she really had the bump that we see in the series. Even when Rose had to go and have her real baby, the sound department did this wonderful thing where they recorded Rose’s dialogue so when I had the phone calls with her, they would then play Rose on the phone so it felt like she was there for the whole shoot.

In series one, Amy had some big challenges to face in the submarine – one of them being claustrophobia – were there any challenges for this series?

One of the things I love about Vigil is the stunts. In series one, Amy was picked to go and do this extraordinary thing that she would never normally get to do; involving her landing on the submarine and having to quickly assess the situation and face her own fears. It was a very unusual and extreme situation.

This time, we have another extraordinary situation where Amy ends up in a place where she shouldn’t be because her investigation has taken her there. She is so out of her depth but the maverick in her allows her to beat the system she’s in and I love that about her. There are some brilliant stunts and – spoiler – some brilliant fight scenes this time.I had four great stunt women for this series as we were in different locations. All of them allowed me to do as much as I could and we had a lot of fun with it – I ended up with lots of bruises, but they were so worth it! That’s the fun part for me, that I get to do that as well as portray the brightness and intelligence of Amy’s character.

What are the universal themes of this series and how do you think the audiences will react to it?

I’m really hoping the second series will be a nice surprise for viewers in many ways. There’s a big expectation of a show that attracted so many viewers the first time round, it won an International Emmy and was nominated for a BAFTA, so these are quite big shoes to fill. It wasn’t a worry of mine particularly as you do the job the best you can and enjoy. Now that it’s all put together, I think it’ll be a real gift for the audience. The characters have moved on and they feel very settled. It’s a story of two very strong-willed women who have come into a relationship and have a child – they both don’t want to give up what is part of them which is their calling and independence, yet they both want to look after each other. Kirsten is now pregnant so Amy wants to make sure Kirsten is looking after herself and the baby but Kirsten still wants to be a copper – so before you even touch the surface of the drones, deals, politics and warfare and all the things we’re not supposed to really know about or are privy to the intricacies of – I think they’ve come up with a pretty good show and I think it’s quite fascinating. It certainly was for Rose and I to play too.

There are exciting new additions to the cast this series. What was it like working with Dougray and Romola?

I love Romola Garai, I always have. So when I found out she was cast I was so excited and we just got on straight away. Romola plays Eliza Russell, the Squadron Leader in Wudyan, who Amy goes to see as part of her crime scene. Eliza is assigned to help Amy out, which no-one wants to do as she’s infiltrating their world and works in a different way to them. Romola and I managed to have a laugh somehow, amongst the quite traumatic and full-on scenes.

Dougray is fantastic and, as with Romola, I was so excited when I heard he was cast. Dougray plays Air Marshall Marcus Grainger and he is one of the first people that Amy meets. He seems to want to help her on the face of it but, as any good investigation goes, Amy digs deep and he wants rid of her. However, he allows her to go to Wudyan but he knows that is going to bring up some problems so, by signing Amy up to do that, it actually causes him a world of pain.

We have such a brilliant cast and I managed to work with almost everyone across the six episodes and see how they work. I spoke to some of those who had just started out in the business which was very fulfilling for me to see from their perspective what they’re about to get into. It was a really thrilling and varied job. On the submarine in the first series, I was mostly on the submarine and with those characters whereas in this series Amy gets to go everywhere so it feels like a really busy job.