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Meet the man set to get hearts throbbing


On our sceens soon: Aaron Heffernan

On our sceens soon: Aaron Heffernan

'Nidge' returns.

'Nidge' returns.

MEET Detective Gav, Love/Hate's latest recruit, whose job it is to bring down kingpin Nidge and his gang in the upcoming series of the hit RTE crime drama.

"I play a detective who's out to surveil the gang and keep tabs on them," explains 23-year-old Aaron Heffernan. "I'm part of an undercover unit so I keep a distance and just hang around trying to infiltrate the gang," the actor told the Sunday Independent.

Fans of the crime drama are eagerly awaiting a transmission date for the highly anticipated fourth series.

And even Aaron, who was on set for a lot of the 12 weeks of filming, has not yet seen the final edit.

The show's writer, Stuart Carolan, revealed on Friday that the gardai have a much bigger role in series four, with Hollywood actor Brian F O'Byrne home to play Detective Moynihan – "Nidge's arch nemesis" – alongside a number of other cop characters.

The Harold's Cross native says that Brian plays his boss on screen, that he is the "head honcho" and that Nidge (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor) is "still kingpin" in the crime gang for series four.

"It was really cool to work with Tom," admits Heffernan, who did the same college course as Brian F O'Byrne.

With heartthrob Darren, Robert Sheehan, being killed off in the last series, although he was seen on set once during filming this year, Heffernan is set to take over as the country's onscreen crush.

The Trinity drama graduate is happy to do so, saying: "I don't mind at all being called a 'heartthrob'. You only live once and it's how I fit into the story."

With Darren dead, are there any empathetic characters in the new series that viewers can relate to?

"There are a few empathetic characters in season four, definitely. There's no vacuum in that way with Darren's exit," explains Aaron.

So far Byrne, Heffernan and 16-year-old Dubliner Kelly Thornton, who recently made her film debut as Fionnula Flanagan's onscreen granddaughter in Life's a Breeze, have been revealed as some of the new faces in series four.

"There are a good few new characters alright," notes Heffernan.

The show's award-winning producer Suzanne McAuley confirmed news of the drama's latest recruits.

"We have new talent and new faces this year. Maureen Hughes (casting agent) has an incredible way of finding fresh talent for us. It was a real feat to bring Brian F O'Byrne to the show and he truly is a fantastic actor, and a great team member," notes McAuley.

It was also through Hughes that Heffernan found his way on screen. She had seen him in a number of shows and she asked him "to put stuff on tape, to pick a monologue from his favourite TV show or film".

Heffernan chose the opening scene from Warrior and "after some back and forth" he walked into Maureen's office one day and "Caffo [David Caffrey, director] and some head production people were there". There wasn't anything specific for Heffernan at the time of auditioning, but a role was subsequently created for him.

Heffernan, who says his part in the show is "very violent and physical", had to hire a personal trainer in order to prepare for it.

"My brother Simon is very close to everything I do and he was integral in training me for the role," says Aaron.

Simon's company Bodies by Heff, is a personal training service for body builders, athletes and professional actors both here and abroad.

The actor admits that this next series of Love/Hate is "very no-holds-barred".

Aaron has been very busy elsewhere in his acting life, having just wrapped on Love Rosie, which stars Lily Collins, the movie based on Cecelia Ahern's novel, Where Rainbows End.

He also has a part in the new Alan Partridge film as well as his theatre company, Collapsing Horse, having a show, Confusion Boats, in the Dublin Fringe Festival at the moment.

The actor, who went to school in Sandford Park in Ranelagh, has been immersed in arts and entertainment from a young age with his father and uncle, David and Gerard Heffernan, working as producers with RTE.

Heffernan isn't the only family member used to the limelight: his first cousin, Thalia, is an international fashion model who has walked catwalks for some of the world's most luxurious brands.

Last year Love/Hate's viewers peaked at over one million in the finale and the six-part series finished at Christmas, having begun airing mid-November. It's rumoured to have a similar slot again this year.

Sunday Independent