A highly anticipated crime thriller, produced by the Nelson man behind Line of Duty, aired on ITV last night (October 4) and the majority of viewers said it was gripping.

The six-part crime thriller Payback  follows Lexie Noble, played by Morven Christie (The Bay, The A Word, Ordeal by Innocence), as she becomes entangled in a perilous police operation to topple a notorious crime lord, Cal Morris, played by Peter Mullan (The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, The Underground Railroad, Ozark).

With an idyllic family lifestyle in the suburbs of Edinburgh, Lexie is unaware her husband, Jared, has been laundering Cal Morris’ illegal earnings on a vast scale. Jared’s every move is being monitored by financial investigators DC Jibran Khan (Prasanna Puwanarajah) and DCI Adam Guthrie (Derek Riddell), who are determined to use the Noble family to bring Cal Morris to justice. 

Lancashire Telegraph: Payback on ITVPayback on ITV (Image: ITV)Producer Jed Mercurio described the show as an "edge-of-your-seat thriller" that viewers will want to binge watch.

Some viewers agreed calling the show and “suberb”, staying up until the early hours of the morning to binge watch episodes, but some viewers said the plot is too “convoluted”.



One viewer said: Payback on ITV started last night, it’s an absolute cracker.

“I hold ITVX responsible for me trailing to bed at 5am given after the first episode I had to binge the entire series.

“Morven Christie was fantastic as were all the cast.”

Another said: “Payback on ITV has started well. Don’t disappoint me please.”

“Just watched the first episode of Payback on ITV. It’s bloody good and it’s going to get deep.”

Some viewers weren’t impressed.

One Twitter user said: “Why does it have to be so convoluted?”

“I'm struggling a bit with this... maybe it's me,” said another.

Another said: “Interesting story but don't know how they're going to stretch it out to six episodes.”

Jed said he became involved in Payback after speaking with writer and series creator Debbie O’Malley.

He said: “I was a fan of Debbie's work and we just got talking about trying to find the right project to collaborate on.

“We hit on the idea of developing something that was about an every-person character within a thriller - a very ordinary person who doesn't normally get embroiled in the subject matter of this type of series, which is organised crime and police procedural.

“Then it was about finding a way to create a series of challenges for that character, which means she's got to step up and deal with the crisis herself.”

Jed said viewers are attracted to the “adrenaline rush” of a thriller.

He said: “It's a rollercoaster ride where if it's done properly you get to have this vicarious experience of extreme danger in a very safe setting and it can be very cathartic.

“At the same time, if you've got a really meaty and satisfying puzzle of a story it's mentally very satisfying. You get the full body experience from a thriller if it works properly. Are they hard to write? Yes, really hard.

“Previously I've done a lot of crime dramas, legal shows, crime procedurals, all those sorts of things. I'd never done a pure, classic thriller and it's been a really steep learning curve because you don't want to sacrifice things like characters with complex emotional journeys and a really intricate, satisfying plot.

“But if you let the tension drop for a minute it dies. You have to keep that tension going and you have to keep that propulsive forward drive.”

Jed also praised Morven’s appearance in the show.

Lancashire Telegraph: Jed MercurioJed Mercurio (Image: PA)

“She's astonishing,” he said. “She brings a rawness and a truthfulness to the performance that is quite remarkable.

“There are so many moving parts in a complicated, plot-driven thriller that it would be very easy to lose sight of that emotional heart but she is the lynchpin of the show. It's a tough performance because she can never relax for a moment but Morven found nuance and layers.

“She's dealing with grief throughout the whole of the show and what could in less skilled hands have ended up being unbearable to watch is beautifully-judged.”