Ioan Gruffudd on growing into Dr Harrow

Ioan Gruffudd stars as Dr Daniel Harrow in the TV series Harrow.
Ioan Gruffudd stars as Dr Daniel Harrow in the TV series Harrow. Vince Valitutti

DR DANIEL Harrow isn't a character Ioan Gruffudd could have played a decade ago.  

The Welsh actor, whom viewers saw last year in the thriller Liar, is happy to have matured into the role of the brilliant, maverick forensic pathologist in the ABC's new crime drama Harrow.  

"I'm meeting all these incredible characters that I've wanted to play for such a long time," he tells The Guide.

"Now I'm the right age to play them and I have a bit more weathering and experience (laughs)."  

But the 44-year-old admits he was initially reluctant to consider the project, which is from the Brisbane-based creative team behind Secrets and Lies and Australia Day.  

"I'd played a forensic examiner before so I was a bit reluctant to even read it," he says.  

"But then I read it and it was so good. It was just beautifully crafted characters, with a nice twist at the end of the pilot."  

Ioan Gruffudd stars as Dr Daniel Harrow in Harrow.
Ioan Gruffudd stars as Dr Daniel Harrow in Harrow. Vince Valitutti

That twist he refers to involves a secret from Dr Harrow's past which comes bubbling back up to the surface.  

"It's a bit like a Greek tragedy in a sense. We present something at the very end of the pilot, and then for the rest of it you're solving that major case," Gruffudd says.

"You, as an audience, know that Harrow has a secret but the other characters don't. It's a delicious proposition."  

While he is no hero, Harrow does seem to have an uncanny insight into the crimes which land bodies on the cold steel tables of his office at the Queensland Institute of Forensic Medicine.  

"As brilliant as he is, he does bend and break the rules but he gets results," he says.

"He's not nefarious in any way. His brightness comes with an understanding of people's weaknesses and strengths. He often solves cases by knowing how people think. He veers off into a Sherlockian, creative presence that I think people will be attracted to."  

Ioan Gruffudd and Mirrah Foulkes in a scene from Harrow.
Ioan Gruffudd and Mirrah Foulkes in a scene from Harrow. Vince Valitutti

But any comparisons to Hugh Laurie's maverick TV doctor Gregory House would be selling Harrow short.  

"When Harrow is curmudgeonly difficult and stubborn yes (you could make comparisons to House), but there's a comedy value dotted throughout as well," Gruffudd says.

"House is curmudgeonly the entire time, whereas Harrow has his moments and because of his other qualities you can forgive that. It's a bit of House mixed in with a bit of Bones… and Quincy M.E.."  

Harrow also stars Mirrah Foulkes, Darren Gilshenan, Remi Hii, Robyn Malcolm, newcomer Ella Newton and the city of Brisbane itself.  

"It's quintessentially an Australian show. The only element that isn't Australian is me," he says, laughing.  

"We're not shying away from where we are, and the river is a theme throughout. For Queenslanders and especially Brisbanites, it will be great because you'll see your town on a big ABC show."  

Harrow premieres tonight at 8.30pm on ABC-TV.  

Topics:  abc tv television