TV: Four + one = FIVE, Friday, Friday, 9pm Sky 1

The Five
The Five

Harlan Coben’s The Five arrives on Sky 1 week, and it’s an exciting addition to Sky’s ever-expanding list of exhilarating original dramas. The Five invites audiences into the alluring and unsettling world of bestselling thriller writer Harlan Coben. . .

The Five features an outstanding array of British acting talent, including Tom Cullen, O-T Fagbenle, Lee Ingleby and Sarah Solemani, not to mention Geraldine James, Hannah Arterton, Honeysuckle Weeks and Michael Maloney. Plus, in a rare but refreshing change, all ten episodes were masterminded by the same director: Mark Tonderai.

It’s a real TV event, with two back-to-back episodes premiering every Friday for five weeks, that invites viewers to gather round and follow every dizzying twist and turn in this unsettling world.

A gripping edge-of-your-seat drama, filled with characters viewers will grow to love and distrust in equal measure, and with an ending that’s a fiercely guarded secret – very few people know what’s going to happen!

The story starts with our heroes as 12-year-olds. Mark, Pru, Danny and Slade were out together in the woods. Mark’s five-year-old brother Jesse was bothering them. They were mean to him. They told him to get lost. Jesse ran away.

He was never seen again.

Twenty years later, Danny – now a detective – learns some shocking news: Jesse’s DNA has been found at a murder scene. Could he really still be alive? If so, why has he come back? And how is he linked to this murder?

Only one thing is certain: the lives of these four friends are about to be turned upside down as they desperately search for the truth. And redemption. We spoke to rising star O-T Fagbenle:

Are you a Harlan Coben fan?

Yes, I am. My sister is a huge fan of his and has loads of his books so I’ve taken a couple of hers over the years. They’re novels you kind of munch through. They’re like chocolate-covered pretzels, you can’t get enough.

How would you describe your character, Danny?

Danny is a pretty by-the-book guy and what’s interesting for me is seeing someone who’s used to doing things in the proper way suddenly being thrown into something that he is hugely emotionally involved in. It’s very hard to keep things in nice little neat boxes when you feel that your chance of redemption is on the line. And your hope and connection with your friends is on the line too.

How is Danny involved in the case of Jesse?

It all comes to Danny first through a case that he’s working on.

There are two sides to it. On one side he’s trying to conduct a professional investigation into a potential murder and a missing boy. On the other side he’s got this personal connection and a sense of culpability and emotional attachment. So a lot of the challenge for Danny is trying to balance those two worlds and inevitably they clash. Yet decisions have to be made: is he going to follow the professional line or is he going to do what his heart says?

There are a host of dramatic scenes? Did you enjoy the athletic side of the job?

I love all the action stuff. It’s a lot of fun and I get to run across the roofs of caravans. I always find myself trying to convince the producers to let me do more than they want me to as I like to do as much as possible.

Did you enjoy your character’s journey throughout the series?

Yeah, the wonderful thing about all of our characters is that their journeys are never straightforward. People always have secrets, keep lies and can be manipulative and all those exciting things which make you go, “oh my God he was telling the truth about this”, and, “oh my God he was lying about that!” Yeah, there are lots of revelations for everyone.

Do you think Danny’s choice of career was determined by what happened?

Absolutely. Plus, Danny’s dad was involved in the original investigation. There’s almost a hereditary responsibility, an obligation there. And so because his dad originally arrested someone for Jesse’s murder and now Jesse’s DNA has turned up, that immediately affects Danny. But for Danny there’s a sense of did he stand up for what’s right? And I think the things that sting us the most will be the times we didn’t do what was right, where we didn’t stick up for the little man and, in this instance, that little man was a young boy that he grew up with. He was the brother of his best friend. And so I definitely think that influenced Danny to find an avenue for justice and a place where he can exorcise his guilt. So when this case comes up it is his first real opportunity for redemption and to right the wrongs of the past.

But he could get it horribly wrong…

Yeah, absolutely, in so many ways, because we don’t know if Jesse’s still alive or who he is. So there are loads of ways to mess it up as the stakes are so high throughout it.

Your character is a moral man on the right side of the law. He’s also a family man. But is there a darker side to him?

There’s a darker side to everybody.

How proud are you of the series?

There’s a remarkable vision to this thing. What Sky and RED (production compnay) are really good at is getting professionals on board who are great at doing what they do. And in our director, Mark [Tonderai], and our director of photography, Tico [Poulakakis], there’s this extraordinary cinematic vision. I really think British television is just getting better and better. It’s amazing the world-class shows that we’re creating now. It’s really exciting but really the thing that excited me most is by the end of the first episode you’re hooked into all of the characters and you know which one is your favourite. Those relationships are really exciting. I’m as proud of this project as I am of anything I’ve ever done. I think it’s going to be really exciting.

You are one of the few people who know the ending. Did you guess what would happen in the end?

No, I can’t say I did. Because I’m playing the detective, I wish I could say I had!

The Five starts this Friday at 9pm on Sky 1.