‘Strike: Career of Evil’ Airs on BBC One & J.K. Rowing Teases ‘Lethal White’ Progress

Feb 28, 2018

Posted by: Emma Pocock

Burke, Career of Evil, Cormoran Strike series/Robert Galbraith, Cormoran Strike TV Series, Cuckoo's Calling, Grainger, Lethal White, News

The first episode of Career of Evil aired on BBC One on Sunday night, and although Strike has found himself in quite a predicament, we’re excited to see more, and to tell you about J.K. Rowling’s latest updates on the fourth book in the series!

UPDATE (March 5th 2018): The second and final episode of Career of Evil aired last night, and differed slightly from the books – coverage at the end of this piece!

UPDATE 2 (March 24th 2018): J.K. Rowling has finished Lethal White! Read more here.

With the comforts of BBC’s adaptation to keep us waiting patiently, J.K. Rowling has revealed that she’s making big progress on Lethal White. We previously reported on her woes at this book being the longest of the series so far, but it appears there’s been a major breakthrough (and a convenient spot of snow to ensure there’s no procrastination):

Let’s not forget that Jo is currently working on Fantastic Beasts and then shifting into Robert Galbraith’s shoes to harness the mind of private detective Cormoran Strike, so this progress – however slow it might seem to eager fans of the series – is a massive achievement in itself. As for what Lethal White could actually mean as a title, there have been guesses from drug references to diseased horses, and Rowling’s various Twitter header photos, which she explained always relate to her writing back in 2016:

Read more on theories here.

As for Career of Evil, J.K. Rowling recently spoke about how she set up the plot of the third story, and how breaking into a new genre required experimentation on her part as a writer. Robin’s character is focused on in the first episode of the new series, and it’s interesting to see the dynamic between her and Cormoran change as she gains more confidence in her abilities and refuses to let her personal life interfere. Career of Evil, for J.K. Rowling, was a way of further drawing out the two characters, so using a personal attack on the duo as the instigator of their case seemed the best way to do so:

This season is only a two-parter, and has received brilliant reviews so far – most requesting more than two episodes or praising Holliday Grainger (Robin Ellacott) and Tom Burke (Cormoran Strike) for their brilliant on-screen chemistry. Speaking to Radiotimes, Burke and Grainger discussed their role in the series, and their relationship on set and in character. Burke also further elaborated on how he portrays an amputee character accurately in a separate interview:

“I asked as many questions as I could think of,” Burke recalled, “and spent about a day with a movement director called Toby Sedgwick.

“And a guy called Barney [Gillespie] who is incredibly generous with his time, who had basically the same condition. And a day going upstairs, downstairs, sitting down, standing up. Sort of everything you could think of, trying to break it down to what one notices and what one doesn’t notice.”

“I said to Barney [Gillespie] really near the beginning, ‘How would it be running on one?’ Because it’s a very particular type of prosthetic leg and you get different kinds,” Burke recalled.

“And he said, well you wouldn’t. So we talked about that more and [how] it would be really painful to run on one of those because it’s just not what it’s built for. You’d only do it if you really had to so then it was weighing up well he really has to because of the situation they’re in and yeah, he probably has got some kind of probably quite pain threshold from everything he’s been through and then there’s the point where he can’t go on any more. So there was a fair amount of imagination about it, as well as asking lots of questions.”

Burke said on Rowling’s input on the show (she’s an executive producer but reportedly prefers not to over-involve herself):

“Jo [Rowling] knows exactly what to say and not a word more,” says Burke. “She always says the one thing you need to hear. She said to me, ‘He’s not self-pitying’ – in a way the best thing [of Strike] she could have said. It was good to know to resist that.”

Grainger spoke about her character’s complex feelings for Strike. Many readers and viewers understand the chemistry between them as a more romantic relationship (Robin, of course, is engaged to Matthew, making that the more complicated option). Grainger, however, says she interprets Robin’s feelings as more career-driven, true to the assistant-turn-detective’s character:

“Robin’s feelings for Strike are so mixed up in her pride in herself and the fact he respects her,” says Grainger. “For the first time in her life she is given the freedom to have the vocation that she has always wanted and she is good at it and there is someone there who recognises that she is good at it and is allowing it – he’s kind of the facilitator of her career. One might say it could be the recipe for true love! But… I can’t imagine them in a domestic set-up. He might be quite difficult. It might be the true love that broke up over who did the washing up. That would be pretty tragic and not exactly great viewing!”

Burke also discusses his parents’ acting careers and working with the late Alan Rickman, his godfather and mentor. Read the full interview here.

The final episode of Strike: Career of Evil airs this Sunday 4th March at 9pm. Watch a trailer below:

For American readers wondering when they’ll be able to see the entire Strike series, no fear! The show will air this June on Cinemax, under the title CB Strike:

UPDATE (3/5/18):

[SPOILER WARNING – Strike: Career of Evil episode 2]

The second and final episode of Career of Evil aired last night on BBC One, and delivered a pretty major ending than expected!

Fans of the series will know that the books left us on a cliffhanger as to whether Robin and Matthew’s wedding went ahead, however, the Strike TV series appears to have gone ahead with the wedding. Whether or not this will differ from the books is yet to be confirmed, however, seeing as we’re waiting on Lethal White and Holliday Grainger commented that the showrunners like to base the show on the books, it’s likely that the wedding did, indeed, go ahead:

The second instalment of the series saw child abuser and murderer revealed in a plot twist which saw Donald Laing – a previous offender who’d had a run-in with Strike – posing as Ray Williams, discovered by Strike as he carried out planet identification which would have simply delighted Professor Sprout in a Herbology lesson. Robin took on some more serious detective work, and although the series shows less of the danger she was in (the murderer in the series is seen quite a bit less than the ‘Shacklewell Ripper’ of the books), several attempts to either physically attack her or frighten her cause Cormoran to worry for her safety, and Matt to put himself between Robin and her work. After winning Robin back, he’s quickly back to his old ways, insisting Strike fire her to protect her safety, and even taking it upon himself to block Cormoran from calling her.

Regardless of this, we see much more of Robin’s determination to serve justice and get to the bottom of a case, and with little-to-no training, she’s already helped police take down a child abuser. The end of the series promises a future for hers and Cormoran’s partnership, and we can’t wait to see what’s ahead for the duo. Let’s hope J.K. Rowling managed to made progress on Lethal White during the U.K. snowstorm, despite certain distractions from those unable to fully appreciate her writing:

We’ll bring you updates on the series as they come, so stay posted!

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.