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Red Eye: All you need to know about ITV drama from cast, plot details, filming locations, and release schedule

The series follows an all-night flight transporting a murder suspect from London to China

1 hour ago
Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
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ITV's latest offering comes in the form of six-part thriller Red Eye, which follows an all-night flight from London to China. 

Jing Lusi stars as DC Hana Li, who must escort British doctor Richard Armitage back to Beijing after he's arrested on suspicion of murder. 

Writer Peter A Dowling, known for his work on the 2005 thriller Flightplan starring Jodie Foster, describes the show as "an Agatha Christie-type murder mystery on a plane". Intrigued? Keep reading to find out all you need to know about the show ahead of its debut on Sunday, including its cast, release schedule and gripping plot.

WATCH: Will you be watching Red Eye?

What is Red Eye about? 

The story begins with British medical doctor Matthew Nolan being arrested on suspicion of murder upon landing back in London from a business trip to Beijing. London police detective DC Hana Li is tasked with accompanying the doctor on a red-eye flight back to China, where he must face charges.

Richard Armitage and Jing Lusi in Red Eye© ITV/Jonathan Ford
Richard Armitage and Jing Lusi star in Red Eye

Born in Hong Kong and with a traumatic past, Hana is reluctant to take on the assignment, which results in an intense resentment towards Nolan once she's charged with the mission.

But when a murder takes place on board, things take a turn for the worse. After more deaths occur onboard, Hana suspects that Nolan's life is in danger and becomes embroiled in a dangerous conspiracy. 

Jemma Moore as Jess Li in Red Eye© Jed Knight
Jemma Moore plays Hana's half-sister Jess Li

Back in London, Hana's half-sister, journalist Jess Li, wants to take advantage of Hana's assignment. Hoping to cash in, she runs her own investigation into Nolan's extradition and quickly finds herself being hunted by a lethal assassin. 

The synopsis continues: "And in Thames House, the head of MI5, Madeline Delaney breaks protocol and risks her entire career to not only help Hana and Nolan stay alive, but to expose an international conspiracy that seems to implicate both China and people in her own government for the murders on flight 357."

Who stars in Red Eye? Meet the cast

Richard Armitage (The Stranger, North & South) and Jing Lusi (Crazy Rich Asians, Gangs of London) lead the cast as Matthew Nolan and DC Hana Li. 

Richard Armitage and Jing Lusi in Red Eye© ITV/Jonathan Ford
The series follows an all-night flight from London to China

Describing her character, Jing said: "She is spirited and authentic. She's a real human, who is flawed, but not in a really obvious way – some characters in drama can feel quite extreme. Of course, these people exist in society, but often they seem to be the only ones that are portrayed on screen. For me, Hana is more like your everyday woman, who has her own struggles and her own history, but she feels very relatable."

The two leads are joined by Jemma Moore (Silent Witness, Lockwood & Co) as Jess, and Lesley Sharp (Scott & Bailey) as MI5 director Madeline. 

Richard Armitage in Red Eye© LAURENCE CENDROWICZ
Richard plays Dr Matthew Nolan

Rounding out the main cast are Robert Gilbert (Big Boys) as Hana's boss at the Met Police Simon King, and Dan Li (The Lazarus Project) as plane passenger Toni Zhang.

Oliver Maltman (Liar), Aidan Cheng (3 Body Problem) and Zoe Telford (Unforgotten) also star.

Red Eye filming locations - how did they film the plane scenes? 

The series was shot in and around London, including in departures at Stansted Airport, which doubled as Heathrow Airport. 

On filming the show in London instead of China, Richard said: "I've been to China before, so I could draw on my experience of it. It's always nice to travel, but actually it wasn’t really necessary for this shoot.

 Lesley Sharp as Madeline Delaney in Red Eye© LAURENCE CENDROWICZ
Lesley Sharp plays Madeline Delaney

"The world they created for Beijing was pretty amazing. I walked onto that set, and it was a wow moment, I really felt like I was down a back street in Wangfujing, it was fantastic."

The flight scenes were filmed on a real plane over six weeks. Lead actress Jing said of the experience: "Before we started filming on the plane, we weren't too sure how the space was going to work, because it wasn't a purpose-built set where you can remove the walls for cameras, it was a real plane. 

Zoe Telford as Dr Amber Hurst in Red Eye© LAURENCE CENDROWICZ
Zoe Telford plays Dr Amber Hurst

"For example, every time we filmed a scene, someone would have to close the doors manually, so it didn't look like there was a door open on the side of the plane in mid-air!

"Thanks to the director, cinematographer, and the phenomenal crew, they made true magic out of that small space," she added.

Red Eye release date and episode schedule

Red Eye arrives on ITV1 at 9pm on Sunday 21 April. Viewers can tune in each week for new episodes, which will air in the same slot. 

All episodes of the series will be available to stream on ITVX following the broadcast of episode one. Happy binging!

Red Eye premieres on Sunday 21 April at 9pm on ITV1 and ITVX.