A new series set in Ibiza, White Lines, is coming to Netflix this month.
When the body of a famous Manchester DJ is found on the White Isle two decades after his disappearance, his sister (Laura Haddock) returns in search of answers. The story unfolds in the Spanish island’s criminal underworld, and its world-famous nightclubs.
The series comes from the creator of popular crime drama/thriller Money Heist, Álex Pina, and will land on Netflix on 15th May. The cast also includes Marta Milans, Juan Diego Botto, Nuno Lopes, Daniel Mays and Angela Griffin.
Check out the trailer for White Lines below.
As soon as I read the script, I just knew,” says actor Daniel Mays, remembering his first encounter with Netflix mystery-thriller White Lines. “I got to the scene with the banana, the cocaine and the dogs and that was it: I was sold.”
In the eagerly-anticipated new show, which is already being hailed as the hit of the summer, Mays plays Marcus – a washed-up, 40-something DJ living in Ibiza who dabbles in drug-dealing to make ends meet. In episode one, we see Marcus’ supplier deliver a giant, inflatable banana full of cocaine to his house. As Marcus tries to move it out of sight, the banana splits, leaving a trail of coke across his garden. Moments later, Marcus’ dog starts to lap up the powder, before feeling the inevitable effects – and later collapsing.
Daniel Mays plays ageing DJ and local drug dealer Marcus in ‘White Lines’. Credit: Netflix
“And then, and then…” Mays says excitedly as he talks to NME over video call, “there’s the bit where I resuscitate the dog. When I filmed that, I jumped in the pool, swam over to this pretend dog thing they had, dragged it out and I’m pumping it’s chest like…” Mays starts to demonstrate some frantic CPR moves. “And then I remember turning to the director and asking, ‘Well, how was that then?’” The director shook his head at him. “He said: ‘Danny, the tail dropped off the dog as soon as you came out of the pool. We’ll have to go again.’”
White Lines is a furious cocktail of action, suspense, drama and – as Mays story illustrates – frequent hilarity. Set between ‘90s Manchester and club-laden Ibiza, it’s gonzo television that flits across the serious and the surreal as it attempts to uncover who is responsible for a homicide. Yet this is no straight-forward murder-mystery. It’s more of a whodunnit on acid with a killer soundtrack to boot (there’s The Prodigy, Portishead and Primal Scream for starters).
Created by Álex Pina, the brains behind Netflix’s biggest global smash Money Heist, the new 10-part series combines multiple genres and complex storylines to create something truly original. Split into two interweaving narratives, White Lines tells the story of a group of music-loving teens who bring Madchester vibes to the Rainy City via illegal raves, ecstasy and acid house. Eventually, they leave drizzly England for the sunny, drug-fuelled climes of Ibiza, each with dreams of becoming superstar DJs.
After some initial dreamy, hedonistic days, things turn sour when one of the most talented of the group, Axel (Tom Rhys Harries), is murdered. In the show’s second timeline, it’s Axel’s sister Zoe, played by Laura Haddock, who leads the complex search to find out what happened to her brother 20 years later, after new evidence is discovered.
Zoe (Laura Haddock) investigates her brother’s death 20 years after the fact. Credit: Netflix
“It was a treat reading those scripts,” says Haddock, who is also the show’s main narrator. “I’d just finished watching Money Heist, and I just love how Pina’s brain works. His character crafting, his story arcs – they’re incredible. It’s mad, entertaining and super-high octane but it’s also rooted in emotional truth. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.”
By episode three, it’s revealed that Axel was involved with the daughter of the Calafat’s – one of Ibiza’s most powerful and dangerous families. Wild, obsessive and primed to self-destruct, he was also prolifically talented. Rising star Harries, who plays Axel, says the closest he came to the character’s full-tilt lifestyle was getting in trouble after attempting some daring stunts.
In the trailer for the series, we see Axel jumping off a high tower into a swimming pool – a set-piece Harries performed himself. “I’m quite reckless, I think. I was like, ‘let me jump into these big ol’ boxes, that looks fun!’ But I kept getting told off by the stunt coordinators all the time… I managed to jump in some anyway,” he laughs.
Elsewhere on-set, Angela Griffin, who plays Anna, dubious businesswoman and ex-wife to Marcus, spent a lot of time grappling with her character’s extreme nature. Griffin (best known for terrestrial dramas like Waterloo Road and Cutting It) would often be surrounded by dozens of naked extras as her character runs drug-fuelled orgies for Ibiza’s elite.
“I quite like the fact she has no shame at all,” says Griffin, remembering one of Anna’s earliest scenes where she’s proudly setting up naked couples at a mass orgy. She struggled not to laugh. “Anna walks through that party and she’s the queen, it’s her domain, she’s giving everyone a good time – and she wants to be adored for that. There’s something about that confidence I really admire – but I absolutely couldn’t do it myself.”
Along with Cel Spellman (who plays young Marcus), Griffin is one of the only other cast members who has lived and worked extensively in Manchester. When she was travelling back and forth to work on Coronation Street in the ‘90s, Griffin would often end up in the Haçienda – New Order’s iconic nightclub which played a pivotal role in the rise of rave culture.
“I’d been travelling over to Manchester for work for four years and I done the Haçienda in 1996,” says Griffin. “I’d done all of that scene and some. I could absolutely call on that when it came to Anna.”
Spellman, who grew up in Manchester, says being from the city helped him appreciate the importance of music more in the show. “As a Mancunian, you’re really aware of that period and you still feel its importance in the city day-to-day just being there,” he explains. “White Lines is any Mancunian’s musical dream.”