Traces TV Series Two | Interview with Molly Windsor (Emma Hedges)

Molly Windsor

Molly Windsor plays Emma Hedges. A fiery but vulnerable spirit, Emma has to confront her mother’s unsolved murder when she returns to Dundee to start her new job as a lab technician at the Scottish Institute of Forensic Science and Anatomy.

It’s not the first time the British-born actress has been on the silver screen though. Molly first rose to fame as a teenager when she starred in Channel 4’s movie The Unloved. Last year, she expressed her hopes to star in a Marvel or DC superhero film in the future.

What was the reaction like to the first series?

It was great, actually! Audiences got hold of this crazy world of SIFA (Scottish Institute for Forensic Science and Anatomy) and professors, and this mad relationship between Emma and Daniel, and on top of that finding out all these things about her mum’s murder. It was a bit of a wild ride, so it was nice that audiences went on it with us.

Was it good to be back?

It was! I was worried it was going to be hard to jump back in, but it was like muscle memory. It’s such a great team of actors, and I’m so glad that I got to work with Laura, Jen, Martin and Michael again.

Where do we find Emma when we join her again?

The second series is set about four months after the first series finishes. Emma’s relationship with Daniel is still a bit of a strange one, and they’re still finding their feet. Then there’s the trial of Phil MacAfee, which obviously complicates things. On top of that, she’s trying to progress in her job at SIFA and her important work there as well.

Living with Daniel’s mum probably presents some challenges. What’s that dynamic like for them?

It’s intense, Emma and Daniel have a connection that holds them together despite the trial and all the complications that it brings. Aileen, Daniel’s mum is also having a tough time trying to come to terms with what’s happened. Phil MacAfee (Daniel’s dad) murdering Marie Monroe (Emma’s mum) has had traumatic consequences for all three of them but from such different perspectives. They are all anxious about what is going to happen and living together amplifies this.

Line of Duty’s Martin Compston and Molly Windsor reprise their roles in the second season of the Alibi thriller.

As if life wasn’t complicated enough, she makes a discovery in episode one, doesn’t she?

They have this unexpected pregnancy added into the mix. Their reaction to it is bonkers. One of the amazing things about the relationship between Emma and Daniel is they’re honest about how they feel. Many people would be feeling scared, but she’s not because their love for each other is so strong. They’re very emotionally driven. There’s so many other mad things going on for them that an unplanned pregnancy is actually the most normal thing to happen in a way.

Amelia’s scripts bring such a realness to it.

Yes, completely. She sets it up so that you’ve got so much to play with. She definitely takes it up a notch this series! Amelia’s scripts dare you to be bold and take risks. Our director, Chris Foggin gave Martin and I the opportunity to find those moments of truth.

How do Emma and Daniel deal with the court case?

There are moments where they connect, and they understand each other so well, but obviously for Daniel, it’s his dad. It’s tainted his memories, his upbringing, his work – his whole life, really. Emma wasn’t part of that, so for her it’s black and white, and justice needs to be done for her mum. There’s a lot of interesting moments where they try and reconnect on this, but it’s such a huge thing. What I love about Amelia’s writing is there’s lots of space for that. We found those moments as we were filming. You’re never going to talk it out, so it’s also about what’s not being said.

What were the court scenes like to film?

It felt like long days in the court! Because of COVID we were shooting in an empty court for certain shots, which changes the atmosphere completely. But then when the actors playing the jury were back in the room it felt like it came alive again and they became really fun scenes to shoot.

Did you do any extra research this time?

For Sarah and Kathy, this is part of their work, and they’re used to it – Laura was incredible. She always finds a way in to those scenes, making what seems so complicated on the page be really interesting. I can afford to go into it naively because that’s what Emma’s doing. She’s still a bit of a novice. We also get to see Emma going to a crime scene for the first time, which was an amazing scene to do. The art department and the set designers have done an incredible job in making the sets feel so real. I didn’t want to do any extra research and desensitise from what Emma is seeing for the first time. Getting the science right has always been a priority for Traces, and they’ve kept it up in the second series.

What’s it like, being part of such a fantastic female-led cast?

The interesting thing is we haven’t fabricated that for the sake of the show. The world that Traces is based in is predominantly women, that’s just the way it is. These characters are so different, and Laura and Jen are such fantastic actors. I’m so glad that I got to work with them again.

There are a few themes in this series. Science and intellect versus emotion and instinct, loyalty, and women supporting each other.

For me, that’s where the drama lies – we understand things intellectually but feeling them emotionally can be so different. There are a few moments where Emma has been led by facts and tries to keep a pragmatic approach, but there are also moments where she is lead by her emotional side. As women, we suppress that so much, or at least we try to. So it has been really nice to keep on this journey with Emma as this equilibrium is constantly being challenged.

Her relationship with Sarah is wonderful. How would you describe it?

It’s very unique. There’s only one Sarah! They’re such different people, but they are united by their work, and their passion for the job. I think a large part of their bond is unspoken, although they are different they have come to understand each other very well. Emma has a huge amount of respect for Prof Gordon and really values that relationship.

Was it good to be reunited with Martin? How is it working with him?

It was so good to be reunited! Everyone had such a crazy year and to come back together for a second series was really nice. Working with Martin is so much fun. He is a brilliant actor and wonderful person to be on set with.

How would you sum up series two of Traces?

We laid the foundations in season one. Season two builds and expands both in the forensic science and the complicated, human relationships. It is unique.

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Adam Regan
Adam Regan
Deputy Editor

Features and account management. 3 years media experience. Previously covered features for online and print editions.


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