Murder Call: profiles

Lucy Bell as Detective Tessa Vance | Peter Mochrie as Detective Steve Hayden

Lucy Bell as Detective Tessa Vance

Lucy Bell

Tessa walks the earth when others sleep—and it’s not insomnia. She sees the world differently. Even to her partner Steve, she’s an enigma. At 26 she’s the youngest, smartest and least conventional member of the elite homicide squad.

Her superiors and her colleagues in MURDER CALL find her a mystery. She’s impatient, quixotic, obsessive and unorthodox. At the same time she’s demure, optimistic, and maddeningly energetic. Relying on hunches, intuition, and lateral thinking to solve crimes, Tessa hardly fits the traditional detective mould.

The daughter of a homicide detective, Tessa grew up resenting the tension the force brought to her family. It was the enemy calling her father away for days at a time, until the bullet of a madman took him away forever.

Only after completing university and drifting from job to job did she realise that police work was in her blood. To the dismay of her mother and her friends, she joined the force and worked with tenacious determination towards a place in homicide.

Physically she’s slight, stylish and feminine. At sport she’s a keen competitor, but a benign victor. The big competition is within herself, hence her passion for climbing. With the mobile on and a gun in her bag, a stable relationship with all its obligations is pretty much out of the question.

Lucy Bell is pleased to have been chosen for the role of Tessa. It’s her most demanding television role to date. Playing her first detective and confessing to be no super sleuth, Lucy has done a lot of research to prepare herself for the role of Tessa. Spending time with homicide detectives and criminal psychologists, Lucy saw up close what she describes as the very dark face of life. She says she understands their need to solve the puzzle and restore order, but like her co-star Peter Mochrie, she found it difficult to imagine working in the grisly world of homicide.

Lucy has also read her way through many murder mystery novels to understand the unique requirements of the genre. By definition, murder mysteries are narrative driven, she says. it’s all about linking together the clues, making each one visible, while at the same time not compromising your character’s development.

Since graduating from NIDA in 1991, Lucy has quickly established herself as an intelligent and compelling actor, working mostly in theatre: Twelfth Night for the prestigious Bell Shakespeare Company; For Julia at the Melbourne Theatre Company; Blue Murder for Belvoir Street; and Wolf Lullaby written by her sister Hilary and staged at the Griffin Theatre.

In 1994 Lucy won her first feature role as the central character in the film Mary about the life of Mary MacKillop. More recently, she has worked on Gillian Armstrong’s Oscar and Lucinda and Cherie Nowlan’s Thank God He Met Lizzie. Lucy has also had roles in some of Australia’s top rating drama series including Snowy and GP and Water Rats.

Lucy admits she’s no workaholic and could never operate on as little sleep as Tessa. But she thinks that they share an inquisitiveness and a need to question bureaucracy. Asked What she most enjoys about working on MURDER CALL, and she doesn’t hesitate: Tessa’s strong character is such an interesting role to play. It’s also great to be working with such a terrific cast. I’ve worked with many of them before. and even went through NIDA with Jennifer Kent.