Keeley Hawes on the ‘huge’ responsibility of playing a real-life DCI in Honour

An emotional Keeley Hawes has described the “huge” responsibility she felt playing a real-life detective investigating an “honour killing”.

Forthcoming ITV drama Honour tells the story of Detective Chief Inspector Caroline Goode’s search to discover the fate of missing 20-year-old Banaz Mahmod.

She disappeared in 2006 and her body was found 100 miles away buried in a suitcase in a garden in Birmingham three months later.

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Keeley Hawes as Caroline Goode and Moe Bar-El as Rahmat in Honour (ITV/PA)

Hawes, 44, said: “With something like this – and especially with this – we were all so mindful that we were dealing with real people.

“Banaz, Caroline, their families, everybody involved, the team, so there is that element of course, and with this, even more so. Much more so, probably, than anything I’ve ever worked on.

“But the responsibility is huge. It’s huge. I felt it every day. I’ve felt it every day since. I really have.”

Ms Mahmod was raped and tortured before succumbing to an agonising death.

Her father and uncle were among those jailed for life for her murder.

Keeley Hawes comments
Keeley Hawes in Bodyguard (Des Willie/BBC/PA)

Tearfully, Hawes added: “I haven’t taken it lightly.

“You want to do the right thing by everyone involved because it’s about those two women.

“And you want to (give) Banaz the utmost respect, you know? And also do the right thing by Caroline.”

The two-part drama was written by Gwyneth Hughes, whose credits include Vanity Fair and Dark Angel.

Line Of Duty and Bodyguard star Hawes met with DCI Goode while researching the role, and asked whether she had found the case affecting despite having to regularly deal with similarly difficult cases.

Hawes said: “And so I said, ‘Was it as emotional? This is a drama – we need to find the emotion, we need to show that. But was that the case?’

“And she said, ‘Yes. Yes, of course. You can’t be in that environment, you can’t see those things and hear those things’.

“And so I felt very lucky to be able to talk to her about that.

“And it gave me licence, and gave me liberty to explore that a little bit, without making it feel like it was just for the purposes of the drama. You know?

“That really was how they felt, and how she felt, and she was highly, highly emotional throughout.”

Hawes said she hoped the drama would raise awareness of the issue.

She said: “If one girl, or one woman, doesn’t have to go through what Banaz had to go through, then it’s a success, as far as I’m concerned.

“If we can make a difference, as small as that, and through people being aware.

“It’s been a real education for me, and if we can open people’s eyes, as Gwyn says, if you see something strange, maybe it is something strange, maybe it is something untoward, and maybe we can help someone.”

Honour airs on ITV.

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