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'We live in a world where our fears are encouraged'

Stars of new eight-part Netflix thriller Safe, Michael C Hall and Amanda Abbington, tell Georgia Humphreys how the show's themes are bound to resonate with viewers

One way to guarantee a TV drama is full of twists and turns? Get a renowned crime writer to come up with the premise.

New Netflix eight-parter Safe - which follows a widower whose teenage daughter disappears in mysterious circumstances - was created by American thriller author Harlan Coben, who has 30 novels to his name.

It's written by Danny Brocklehurst (the man behind dramas such as Shameless and, more recently, BBC One's Come Home), and US star Michael C Hall (47) says it was the surprises in the script that had him hooked from the start.

"Reading the first episode, there were three moments that my jaw dropped," says Hall, who plays Tom Delaney, the man at the centre of the story.

The star of previous hit series Dexter and Six Feet Under adds: "Every time I finished an episode, I was surprised by how much happened.

"I think this is just a testament to the machinery that Harlan is able to construct... so much story, so many relationships, so many characters introduced that you get to know quite well."

Throughout the series, viewers will learn some truths about the night Tom's wife died - with questions raised about whether anyone really knows the people they love.

"There is a lot of back and forth on the timeline throughout the series," reveals Sherlock star Abbington (44), whose character, Sophie Mason, is a police officer who aids Tom in the search for his missing teenager.

"So, keeping on top of where I was dramatically, and trying to remember what happened before... it was like, 'I really need to think about this'!"

There's no denying there are plenty of binge-worthy crime shows around, but what makes Safe different to so many others is its setting.

Paediatric surgeon Tom, who is also an ex-military man, is bringing up his two daughters, Jenny (16) and Carrie (12) in a gated community, which may look idyllic and calm from the outside, but has dark secrets lurking within.

Are we too obsessed with safety these days?

"We live in a world where our fears are encouraged, exploited - there is a fear-mongering element to the media and that probably encourages people to believe in the necessity of living behind a gate," says Hall.

"What's interesting about the show is that the danger that emerges, emerges from within this enclave."

London-born Abbington reveals her own two children, with ex-husband, actor Martin Freeman, are extras in the opening scenes of episode one, in which the residents of the gated community are having a BBQ and playing football.

"We filmed it over the summer holidays, which is a long time for the kids to have off, and they were going a bit stir-crazy, so they came up and stayed with me and they would come on set and cause havoc. I just said, 'Would it be okay if they joined in and were just in the background'?"

With the show set in the English suburbs (it was filmed here too), North Carolina-born Hall had to work hard to really perfect the accent.

"I was living in London for some time and knew about the job, so had some time to walk around and mumble and try and get my mouth around it," he adds.

Safe will be available on Netflix from next Thursday

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