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James Nesbitt got his start in theater, which he chats about on this week's episode of The Graham Norton Show, starting on BBC America this Friday at 11pm EST. His story transitions into his first appearance on TV as a teen.
And, it's a zinger of a story:
While his first go on TV may have been unplanned and slightly awkward, he's since made up for it.
Let's put a spotlight on some of his standout performances, specifically in the crime genre:
1. Murphy's Law
From 2003-2007, Nesbitt starred in Murphy's Law. He takes on the role of troubled cop DS Tommy Murphy. When his wife and daughter are taken hostage, he's faced with a lose-lose situation. He can sacrifice his family or save the lives of a hundred people. Following that fateful day, he is put under psychiatric observation. Rather than being put on leave or desk duty, he's assigned to undercover work.
Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novella Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has been adapted for screen on numerous occasions. In 2007, Nesbitt took the lead in Jekyll, a sequel to the original story. He plays Tom Jackman, a descendant to Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde. When he starts to develop an alter ego, that of Mr. Hyde, he isolates himself from his family for their safety.
3. Midnight Man
In 2008's Midnight Man, Nesbitt stars as a former journalist, who has lost his job for being a whistleblower in a government scandal. When his source commits suicide, he's overwhelmed with guilt. Things get even worse, when he's accused of murder. With his life absolutely falling apart, he calls on a therapist for help, played by Doctor Who's Peter Capaldi.
2014's Babylon is a crime drama with a dash of comedy thrown in. Co-created by Danny Boyle, the series revolves around London's Metropolitan Police Service. Nesbitt plays Police Commissioner Richard Miller. He recruits American PR specialist Liz Garvey (Brit Marling) to take the department into the digital age. Garvey isn't welcomed with open arms and faces some serious pushback from her colleagues.
5. The Missing
Also in 2014, we saw Nesbitt as a distraught father in The Missing. Nesbitt takes on the role of Tom Hughes. When he, his wife and five-year-old little boy go on holiday in France, his son disappears in a matter of seconds. It's believed he was abducted. Hughes is beside himself, but even so, puts everything he has into searching for his son. He has the aid of French detective Julien Baptiste (Tchéky Karyo).
6. The Secret
In 2018, Nesbitt switched gears, playing the accused. In The Secret, Nesbitt takes on the role of real life dentist Colin Howell. He and a Sunday teacher (Genevieve O'Reilly) start having an extramarital affair. He reasons with her that it's okay, because it's God's will. The two come up with a plan to get rid of their spouses, planning a double homicide.
7. Lucky Man
In Stan Lee's Lucky Man (2016-2018), Nesbitt plays a police officer once again, but different than what we've ever seen before. He takes on the role of detective Harry Clayton, who can... control luck. Being a law enforcer, one might think he'd use it for good, but he actually uses it to his own advantage — specifically, by supporting his gambling habit.
Later this year, we can look for Nesbitt in the forthcoming Acorn TV miniseries Bloodlands. He stars as police detective Tom Brannick. While he takes the lead in investigating a new case, he's also a victim, saying the same killer murdered his wife. They're looking for an assassin, who they refer to as "Goliath." It's been 20 years since Goliath first struck, and he's still out there wreaking havoc.
Are you going to have a catch-up with James Nesbitt on Graham Friday!?