‘King’ Star Amy Price-Francis On Being A ‘Bitch’ In A Man’s World

KING: Thursday 5th April, 10pm, Universal Channel

Donning her stilettos and marching across the proverbial police station to the tune of “I’m Every Womanâ€? comes TV’s latest challenge to the moustachioed macho detective of old.

Already a hit with audiences in Canada and the States, King stars Amy Price-Francis (24, The Cleaner) as the flame-haired lead, detective sergeant Jessica King. This wannabe mother, anxious lover and policewoman extraordinaire is certainly tasked with dealing with some serious situations – enter the slimy convicted paedophiles of episode one – but this is no straightforward, maggot-ridden cadaver tear up.

“The show has the element of being a procedural cop show but what makes our show stands out is the level of humanity includedâ€?, explains Amy. “It’s the personal side of things. We find out about her [King’s] husband, her life, her desire to have a baby. We see how work affects personal life and personal life affects work.

“I think what’s very accessible about the show. It’s about the element of personal life versus work and about trying to balance it all. Can you have it all? What does having it all even mean?â€?

After whistleblowing on a string of corruption and lies in the upper echelons of the police dept., this ambitious “bitchâ€? (her words, not mine) has just spent two years earning back the trust and respect of officers. Evidently not having been outraged enough by the state of policing, she jumps at the chance to take over the “Major Crimes Task Forceâ€? (MCTF) at the offending station.

As a woman in a man’s world, King has had to work doubly hard to impress those around her. A steely glare, biting sense of humour and the hand permanently attached to her pencil-skirted hip do their best to communicate this. But she is certainly no wearer of thick-soled, mannish clodhoppers; this is a lady who loves stilettos.

Not just a pretty face...Amy Price-Francis stars as DS Jessica King

“She’s not afraid of her femininityâ€?, Price-Francis explains. “I think in a way – not to be flippant – her shoes are her babies. She treats them with reverence. She likes to look good but above all, she’s good at her job.

“It’s not really about whether she’s a man or a woman. The people who like her like her cos shes good at her job and the people who don’t like her because she’s loud and abrasive. It shouldn’t come down to her sex and I think that’s quite refreshing.”

Spiky three-inch heels aside, there is also plenty of sexual frisson on show in this pacey, if a little clichéd, drama featuring bullish cops (of both sexes) who spend their time dashing about swigging coffee and hurling insults at each other. In her new role as head of the MCTF, King is confronted with old flame and current head of investigation, Derek Spears – played by a burly Alan Van Sprang (The Tudors, Crash and Burn) – and a whole heap ‘a history which will no doubt leave plenty of room for highly charged plot twists.

The case-solving procedures may be even more improbable than Robson Green’s whiteboard antics and one character in the pilot does utter the line “I was lost but now I’m foundâ€? – but there is something solidly entertaining and refreshingly straightforward about the new drama from mind of Greg Spottiswood (Million Dollar Babies, Dieppe) and the director Clark Johnson (The Wire, The Shield). It’s a cop drama that does what it says on the takeaway coffee cup.

Funnily enough, Price-Francis was actually born in Harlow, Essex, but has lived in Canada for most of her life. “He he” I titter – so an Essex girl has ended up playing a stiletto-wearing, shoe-obsessive.

“People always say “oh you’re an Essex girl…ha ha”â€?, sighs Amy. “But I don’t really feel like that. I do like shoes but nowhere near as much as her; perhaps it will rub off on me yet.

“And no, I haven’t seen The Only Way Is Essex.â€? Just asking.

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