Get Ready for Nicola Walker in Annika
A wry and charming Nicola Walker returns to TV in an unconventional six-part crime series for MASTERPIECE on PBS. If you’ve lamented the departure of Walker’s character on Unforgotten, you’ll more than welcome her as DI Annika Strandhed; a single mom and irrepressible police squad chief who “breaks the fourth wall” to confide droll musings directly to viewers. Learn from Walker what the TV series Annika is all about and what it’s based on, and discover who else is in the cast, where it was filmed, and how you can watch.
What is Annika About?
The series follows Annika Strandhed, who has relocated to Glasgow to lead a newly formed Marine Homicide Unit tasked with investigating murders that wash up in local waterways. But expect a quirky mix of tongue-in-cheek humor along with police procedural, as Annika attempts to manage both a brilliant team and her difficult teenage daughter. “It’s the right time for something a bit naughty like Annika that will take audiences by surprise,” Walker said. A further twist is that Annika confides in the audience—directly addressing viewers with erudite soliloquies or waggish observations on a case or her personal life. “The hook is the fact that this is the only detective series where the audience is the silent sidekick,” Walker added. “We are in cahoots with her.”
Each episode contains a different murder story and Annika has the habit of applying literary and historical references to the investigation. “In one episode, she uses Greek mythology to help solve a crime,” Walker said. “She spends the whole time thinking about Agamemnon. On another occasion, she has a run-in with [fellow cop] Michael, who tells her, ‘Go and solve your crime with your Collected Works of Chaucer.’ She shouts back at him, ‘It’s Twelfth Night this time!’”
What is Annika Based On?
This more playful crime series draws on the celebrated radio detective drama Annika Stranded, which played on BBC Radio 4 from 2013 to 2020. Nicola Walker voiced the title character, an intuitive member of the Oslo police department’s murder squad. “It was very idiosyncratic,” says Walker. Annika “was living in her head with a dozen different characters. You only ever heard her speaking.”
As the stories were being adapted for TV, the screenwriter decided Annika would break the fourth wall. “It was very normal and right for the character because, in the radio show, she had that personal relationship with the listener,” Walker tells Drama Quarterly. “It’s a really great way of translating that onto TV. …It’s unlike any other crime series you’re going to watch.”
Where Can I Watch Annika?
Watch all six episodes of Annika now when you watch with PBS Passport, an added member benefit. (Viewers in the U.S. and Canada can watch Annika with PBS Passport.) Want to find out more about PBS Passport and how you can be part of it? Read this helpful explainer from PBS.
The Annika series will have a television broadcast on MASTERPIECE on PBS later in 2022.
Who Stars Alongside Nicola Walker?
The Marine Homicide Unit becomes a family of sorts, led by Walker as DI Annika Strandhed and Jamie Sives (Guilt) as her second-in-command DS Michael McAndrews, a laconic and likeable police diver. Katie Leung (Roadkill, Harry Potter) portrays DC Blair Ferguson as a brilliant and quirky detective who really cares about her co-workers. The team’s newbie cop DS Tyrone Clarke is played by Ukweli Roach (Grantchester) as dedicated but still learning to be a team player.
Annika’s personal life centers on her 15-year-old daughter Morgan, played by Silvie Furneaux (Limbo) and a love interest, Morgan’s short-lived therapist Jake Strathearn, portrayed by Paul McGann (Luther).
Where Was Annika Filmed?
Audiences are treated to the ruggedly beautiful Scottish coastline in many of Annika’s scenes. Filming was done entirely on location, from the western seaside villages of Largs and Helensburgh to the Isle of Bute, and Greenock on the Firth of Clyde. Headquarters for the Marine Homicide Unit is actually Greenock’s Beacon Arts Center with its huge windows overlooking the Clyde Estuary. Loch Lomond and Loch Katrine are also featured, and the cast got pilot licenses to drive their boats on those waters. Annika’s house is located on Loch Lomond’s banks. Other scenes were shot in Glasgow’s West End and City Centre.