Wise-cracking, ladies’ man Tommy Murphy came to London from Northern Ireland. He used to be married but his marriage collapsed when his family was taken hostage by the IRA. He was forced to carry a bomb into a local barracks to detonate it, in return for his daughter’s life. Outweighing the costs, he returned without hitting the button, only to find his daughter’s throat had been cut… It’s this decision that haunts his every waking moment.
The character of Tommy Murphy was especially created for James Nesbitt by writer Colin Bateman. The role led him to be nominated twice as Best Actor at the Irish Film & Television Awards. Other notable roles have followed in Jekyll, a modern retelling of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic tale and as Bofur in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy.
What’s in a name?
Lead writer Colin Bateman decided to adapt his script for the show’s pilot into a novel, as he had come up with a wealth of material that he wasn’t able to use. To differentiate the book from the TV series, Bateman changed the hero’s name from “Tommy” to “Martin”. In the novel it is Martin’s son and not his daughter that is killed by the IRA.
Bateman has also written for Rebus, ITVs detective drama, the novel Divorcing Jack and the children’s book Titanic 2012.
Fasstrack to Hollywood
Look out for an early appearance by Michael Fassbender in series three as Caz Miller. Since then the German-Irish hunk has gone on to set pulses racing in more ways than one in the huge Hollywood hits X-Men: First Class, Prometheus and Shame.
Murphy’s Law lasted for five series, before being cancelled in 2007. Series three to five consisted of just one story told over a number of episodes.