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‘Marcella’ Star Anna Friel: ‘People Want to Watch Strong and Clever Women’

Viewers are embracing strong, complex female characters on TV, says Anna Friel, the International Emmy-winning star of ITV and Netflix detective series “Marcella.” She fits that bill in “Marcella,” as the titular cop who is juggling work, family, and mental health issues.

“I think we’re in an age where people want to watch strong and clever women,” Friel said ahead of the launch of Season 2 on Feb. 19 on ITV. The date of its launch on Netflix internationally has not been confirmed. “These characters show that there are other factors involved in being a strong and successful detective.”

Friel, who scooped the best actress International Emmy for “Marcella” last November, added that her character in the series resonates because she is not perfect. “Women are feeling very empowered at the moment, and having a woman who is dealing with a mental illness, whilst working, being a single mum and trying to keep everything afloat is very relatable,” she said.

“Marcella” is made by Tony Wood’s Cineflix-backed U.K. producer Buccaneer Media. The series melds a London setting and a Scandi Noir style, courtesy of  “The Bridge” creator Hans Rosenfeldt, who pens “Marcella,” his first English-language series. The second season was expected last year, but Rosenfeldt had first to wrap up the final season of “The Bridge.”

The debut season was one of ITV’s top-rated dramas of 2016. The new series opens with the discovery of a body of a boy found inside a wall. The ensuing case takes on a personal dimension for Marcella, who is also dealing with her recurring fugue states and blackouts and trying to unearth their cause.

“’Marcella’ is a show that is just as much about Marcella being Marcella as it is about her being a police officer,” said Rosenfeldt. “So it works best when the case she is working on is connected to her personal life in some way. This time we created a case where her family – her son Edward, more specifically – is involved.”

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