‘Deceit’ trailer: New true crime drama explores ’90s undercover police op

Channel 4 has announced when its new true crime drama Deceit will begin.

Previously titled My Name is Lizzie, the four-part series examines the controversial honeytrap at the heart of the high-pressure investigation into the devastating murder of Rachel Nickell nearly thirty years ago.

Deceit is written by Emilia di Girolamo (Law & Order UK, The Tunnel) and explores the complicated and toxic sexual politics of the early ‘90s and the police’s obsession with the wrong man.

The cast is led by acclaimed Irish actress Niamh Algar (The Virtues, Raised by Wolves) as a female undercover officer, codename ‘Lizzie James’, who is asked to become sexual bait for a suspected killer.

Deceit will take viewers “behind the scenes of one of the UK’s most flawed and controversial police investigations.”

The show’s makers had access to previously unheard audio, video and written materials, and the script includes scenes of verbatim dialogue.

Joining Niamh Algar in the mini-series are Sion Daniel Young (Keeping Faith), Rochenda Sandall (Line of Duty), Nathaniel Martello-White (Small Axe), Harry Treadaway (The Crown), and Eddie Marsan (Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell).

The official synopsis reads: “Five months on from the crime, The Met Police are still no closer to capturing the man they’re convinced is responsible. First identified through a BBC Crimewatch appeal, the evidence points to Colin Stagg (Sion Daniel Young). The media feed a national obsession, covering every detail of the case and demanding justice.

“The police are determined to catch the man who, in their eyes, is guilty before he kills again. In desperation, the relatively young Detective Inspector leading the case, Keith Pedder (Harry Treadaway), engages the nation’s most famous criminal profiler, Paul Britton (Eddie Marsan), to help devise a bold undercover operation which will see an attractive, young female officer start a relationship with Colin Stagg.

“Growing up under Thatcher’s reign, with second-wave feminism, ‘Lizzie James’ (Niamh Algar) is determined to rise through the ranks. But the early ‘90s has brought with it an inevitable backlash in the shape of ‘Lad Culture’, obliterating any feminist gains and putting women firmly back in their place, something felt by both ‘Lizzie’ and her friend and colleague Lucy (Rochenda Sandall).

“Hugely ambitious, ‘Lizzie’ has found a way to stand out by becoming one of very few female undercover officers deployed in covert operations, in a team which includes her sometime confidant Baz (Nathaniel Martello-White) … But then she’s offered a central role in the biggest murder enquiry the country has ever seen…”

Watch the trailer:


Deceit will premiere in the UK at 9pm on Friday 13th August on Channel 4.

It’ll then be available to stream on demand on All 4, before arriving on BritBox at a later date.

Caroline Hollick, Head of Channel 4 Drama commented: “I couldn’t think of a more phenomenally talented ensemble than Eddie, Harry, Sion, Nathaniel and Rochenda to join Niamh Algar, who is fast becoming an iconic star of the Channel, in order to shine a light on one of the most shocking stories in modern policing.

“The unique female perspective of Emilia’s extraordinary scripts, alongside the stellar performances of our cast, combined with Story Films’ trademark journalistic rigor create a truly sensitive, nuanced and incredibly powerful 4-part drama that we are incredibly proud of.”