Romeo Trap is perhaps my favourite episode of the BBC1 undercover drama series, In Deep, which I devised and was broadcast for three seasons a decade ago. It recently has had a resurgence of interest, after the DVDs were released three years ago.
Romeo Trap was one of the first dramas (as far as I can recall!) which dealt with online paedophile groups, and the dissemination of child abuse images on the internet. I hope it still has some relevance today, especially as I was a pains not the exploit the issue (and luridly show children at risk to create drama) but dealt with the long term effects on abuse on victims in later life. The drama also shows the psychotherapeutic attempts to deal with sex offenders
The title refers to the male equivalent of a honey trap (famously even more effective according to Stasi files) and the B-story shows a seduction of a woman by Liam Ketman, one of the undercover officers, in pursuit of information on their targets.
In light of the revelations by Rob Evans and Paul Lewis of undercover officers using sex and romantic relationships as part of their infiltration, the story might have even more contemporary echoes.
Apparently you can win a free copy of the second series of In Deep on TV spy: second prize is probably two copies
Ten years after it was first broadcast, In Deep is out on DVD. I really should have mixed feelings about this. The first series was all over the place. As I explain below, the pilot episode which had got the show commissioned - Darkness on the Edge of Tow which was quite Wire-like in its exploration of the drug economy - was arbitrarily scrapped a few months before production, leaving an impossibly disturbing hard core ep about child abuse in the opening slot.
Manic scramble then ensues to come up with new opening episode within the tight framework, budget and commissioning system... Blue on Blue then ends up being my least favourite episode.
But after that, despite at every point being in danger of being booted from the show, I really began to enjoy it. The two hour framework, though dauntingly long, gave me a chance to have a major thriller story accompanied by a major domestic story, which made it all worthwhile: thriller plus character realism.
This was unified by the role of the mandatory police psychologist both undercover officers had to see. I found this fact in US research on undercover work and thought it a great way of joining deep character issues to the main plot. I'd heard about the Sopranos, and the role of the psychiatrist in the narrative, but hadn't seen any episodes when In Deep was first devised in 1999.