Vanessa Emme: 'Chelsea Detective' cop Layla says what's on her mind

"The Chelsea Detective" -- starring Vanessa Emme -- wraps up its second season Monday. Photo courtesy of Acorn TV
1 of 2 | "The Chelsea Detective" -- starring Vanessa Emme -- wraps up its second season Monday. Photo courtesy of Acorn TV

NEW YORK, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- Bloodlands and Dublin Murders actress Vanessa Emme says she envies Layla Walsh, the cop she plays in Season 2 of The Chelsea Detective, because she always says what's on her mind.

"She is no-nonsense. She has no filter. She is sort of how we wish we all could be day-to-day. I think most of us tend to live our lives with a certain amount of diplomacy," Emme said in a recent phone interview.


"While she's really professional and great at her job, she lacks the ability to filter her thoughts. That's so cathartic and fun to play."

If she is interviewing a suspect or witness and thinks they are lying, she will impatiently roll her eyes, snort or snicker.

"She doesn't have much time for the perfect world and the glossiness," Emme said. "She's a real salt of the earth character."

The drama wraps up its second season Monday on Acorn TV.

In it, Layla teams up with newly divorced, houseboat-dwelling Detective Inspector Max Arnold (Adrian Scarborough) to solve various crimes and capers in the titular district of London.

"I think this season has a lot more pace and a lot more fizz. That's really exciting. There's a really good cross-section for the viewers," Emme said.


This season's mysteries take the detectives to art galleries, therapists' offices and rowing clubs.

"You've got this pristine veneer of perfection going on with Chelsea and then you've got that seedy underbelly that is quite raw," Emme added. "It's a serious crime show that deals with serious investigations, but you marry that with characters who have dry wit and humor, and that's such a gorgeous thing to watch on screen."

Crime-of-the-week shows often can be bleak and heavy, but that's not the case with Chelsea Detective, she pointed out.

"This show gives room and space for humor and comedy to enter -- little glimmers of it. It makes for very real life and very real human characters," she said.

"We all know people with very, very serious jobs and serious workloads and they're not 24/7 'no-smile' people."

Critical to the show's success is the interaction between Layla and her new partner Max, which strengthens over the course of the season as they get to know and trust each other.

"They're having to figure each other out from the beginning. She's walking into the station as new blood, as I was as Vanessa walking into the production as new blood," she said.


Emme said her character develops a "really wonderful and special relationship with Max."

By the time the season ends, they are the "perfect ying and yang," she said, adding that Layla takes the visceral approach to police work, while Max is more the cerebral type.

"She goes with her gut and speaks her mind, and he is far more calculating and takes his time. Together, it's perfection, really, in how they navigate their investigations," Emme said.

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