Inside Man, in the most unexpected way, was inspired by Sherlock.

Steven Moffat, an Emmy and BAFTA-winning television writer, adores his clever detectives. In 2009, Moffat and Mark Gatiss co-created and co-wrote four seasons of the BBC series Sherlock, which went on to receive widespread acclaim and a large audience. Currently, the screenwriter is back to grace our televisions once more with the brand-new BBC crime drama Inside Man, which debuted on Sept. 26. While Inside Man’s complex plotlines are enthralling viewers, we can’t help but wonder if the show is actually based on a true story.

No, really, is the response. The script was an original creation by Moffat for the BBC. The writer has chosen to turn the typical detective trope on its head by specifically creating a detective that hasn’t been done before, as he explained to Radio Times: “Pretty much ever since Doyle invented Sherlock Holmes, there has been no other kind of detective — they’re all rip-offs of Sherlock Holmes.” Inside Man’s main character, who Moffat felt offered a different perspective to most TV detectives, solves crimes while serving time in a prison rather than Benedict Cumberbatch swishing around London crime scenes in a long coat.

In Inside Man, Stanley Tucci plays death row inmate Jefferson Grieff, whose story becomes intertwined with that of an investigative journalist (Lydia West from It’s A Sin), a math tutor who is trapped in a cellar (Dolly Wells from The Pursuit of Love), and a small-town local vicar (David Tennant). If describing the show in this way sounds a little crazy, it’s because it kind of is; while we know that criminologist Grieff killed his wife, we don’t know why, nor do we know how the characters come into contact with one another.

In reference to his persona, Tucci told The Guardian, “We could all potentially kill somebody.” That, in my opinion, is what makes it interesting. You can’t play him as a moustache-twirling villain with odd eccentricities or a funny voice. It’s creepier the more normal he is.”

Grieff’s worldview was further explained by Moffat: “His particular area of insight is he knows that anyone can [commit murder],” he said. With this kind of stark character, it may actually be better that Inside Man is entirely fictional after all. He does believe that every human being is absolutely capable of the abominable — the advantage of losing everything he valued from his life is that he has the insight that strips away all the lies that sustain our illusion of security.

The collaboration between Moffat and Tennant on this drama is not their first. During Tennant’s tenure as the Doctor, Moffatt was the show’s author. In a strange turn of events, Moffat’s own son Louis plays Ben, the on-screen son of Tennant, in Inside Man.

At 9:00 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays, Inside Man is broadcast. on BBC One, with the four-part series’ conclusion taking place on Tuesday, Oct. 4.

Micheal Kurt

I earned a bachelor's degree in exercise and sport science from Oregon State University. He is an avid sports lover who enjoys tennis, football, and a variety of other activities. He is from Tucson, Arizona, and is a huge Cardinals supporter.

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