5 reasons why you'll love new TV thriller Ransom

We chatted with Ransom star Luke Roberts about his leading role, hostage negotiation and what makes Ransom one of the most unique procedural shows on television...

Brand new to Universal, BT Channel 320, is the hostage negotiation drama Ransom.

Starring British actor Luke Roberts, here’s why we think it will be your new crime show fix.

1. It’s inspired by real life crisis negotiators

Ransom is created by former The X Files writer and executive producer Frank Spotnitz and David Vainola, and is inspired and based on the real life experiences of crisis negotiator Laurent Combalbert and his partner Marwan Mercy. They are considered two of the most successful negotiators in the world, and Ransom star Luke said they had immense influence on the creation of the show.


“I met Laurent who inspired my character of Eric…I had been advised that he’s a very intense guy, has a 50 yard stare, he would know you more than you know yourself, this is all nonsense, we spoke and he was very affable and charming. But of course this is part of his job as a negotiator to befriend you and gain your trust very quickly and put you at ease and he did exactly that,” Luke said.

2. It explores realistic scenarios

Each episode is based on a scenario that Laurent and Marwan have experienced, and Luke said they were on hand throughout the production to ensure the show maintained both realism and accuracy.

“All the scripts went through a Laurent and Marwan filter. They advised heavily and preapproved all of the content. They gave direct advice on negotiation tactics and how they would respond in those exact scenarios, and a lot of the scenarios on our show are inspired by actual scenarios that Laurent and (partner) have been through.”

3. It stars British export Luke Roberts

Luke Roberts is a successful British actor, who you may have seen on History’s Black Sails playing legendary yet psychopathic British Colonial sea captain Woodes Rogers or as Ser Arthur Dayne in HBO's Game of Thrones. While Luke has appeared in many major ensemble projects, this is the first drama in which he’s starred.

ransom universal

“It’s been wonderful to star in such a great show, I’ve done lots of ensemble work but never the actual lead, and of course with great power comes a lot of responsibility! So I had to learn from Toby Stephens, observing him on Black Sails, importance of conducting yourself in an affable and easy going manner, because you really do set the tone and affect the whole cast’s overall experience and dynamic. It’s really important that you keep a decent sense of humour…the cast were enormous fun and really irrelevant which kept it moving and fun and of course we would pull in taco trucks, burger trucks, coffee trucks to keep the crew happy.

The major challenge for me was also to go from playing an 18th century British Colonial Governor with psychopathic tendencies to playing a very cool, calm, collected American character, so that was a challenge to do this shift but it was really good and fun.”

4. It promotes non-violence

Luke said unlike many other procedural dramas where violence and particularly guns play a major part, Ransom takes the unusual yet commendable route of promoting non-violence.

Luke’s character Eric believes that negotiations are most successful when there isn’t a physical threat and that this is also based on Laurent and Marwan’s approach.

"I think it is about averting violence, there are usually a lot of guns in procedural dramas, where as our show is all about suspense, tension and problem solving, I think it really works…Eric’s goal is ultimately to bring around a peaceful outcome and this is a key element of the show that they operate a strict non gun policy and try to always avoid any kind of violence.”


5. It is both nostalgic and unique

Luke said there are elements of classic procedural shows such as CSI, NCIS and Law & Order in Ransom, which provides a bit of nostalgia and fills the gap these incredibly popular shows have left in current television. However, Ransom still manages to maintain a highly unique angle and theme.

“It’s quite unique paradoxically it’s quite an old fashioned formula, not many people are making procedural dramas anymore, So we can fill that vacuum that’s there at the moment, but what I think it also quite nice is that there haven’t been that many shows about negotiators which makes it quite unique.”

Ransom starts on Monday 5th June at 9pm, BT Channel 320. 

Watch Universal Channel on BT TV 320/385 HD and BT TV Catch-Up.

New to BT? Learn more about BT TV packages >

Photo credit: Universal Channel.

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