Julia Stiles returns for the third series of the sumptuous Sky original drama, joined by Rupert Graves and returning cast members Poppy Delevingne and Jack Fox.

A year has passed since the explosive finale of the last series, and Georgina (Stiles) has abandoned the cursed Riviera, leaving all its devastation and damage behind to start a new life as an art restitution lecturer. However, noted expert Gabriel Hirsch has other ideas. He makes her an offer she can’t refuse – come and work with him, and practise what she’s preaching. Fast
forward to Venice, where Georgina and Gabriel are on the search for a looted Picasso at a party hosted by corrupt art dealer Luca.

Tell us a little bit about Georgina as a character.
Georgina is a woman who constantly surprises us and surprises me. I think she’s come a long way, she’s faced a lot of tragedy, but she also has a really strong backbone and refuses to back down.

Where is Georgina emotionally and physically at the beginning of Series 3?
The beginning of season three is really exciting, because it’s a new beginning for Georgina – at least she would like it to be. She’s shed the Clios family, she’s shed the estate, she’s changed her name back to her maiden name, Ryland. Time has passed and she’s now teaching art
restitution and trying to start a new life, free from all the trappings of her past. That gets subverted pretty quickly, but Georgina’s ready to keep fighting.

Art restitution is a very interesting career path for Georgina. Is this her way of righting wrongs?
It’s such a tricky, interesting question. How do you reconcile a character who destroyed
a bunch of artwork when we last saw her at the end of season two, and is now so hellbent on restoring order and making sure that artwork isn’t damaged or in the wrong hands? For me, even though that sounds paradoxical, I think for Georgina it’s largely rooted in guilt over things that she’s done in her past, but also wanting to have a clear moral code.

Where do we first see Georgina in episode one?
We first see Georgina lecturing and she’s very passionate about what art restitution means. After the students leave, Gabriel Hirsch shows up and introduces himself. He has come in with his own notoriety, fame and reputation. He gives her a job offer but she’s reluctant because she wants to be under the radar now. It’s one of my favourite scenes in the beginning of our show. They end up going to Venice together to get back a Picasso, and then drama ensues.

What is the dynamic like between Georgina and Daphne in the new series?
I really love where we go in series three with Georgina and Daphne, because we see that the two characters kind of mirror each other, but at different stages in their lives. In season two, Daphne reminded Georgina of everything that was in her previous life, so to speak, meaning Daphne was optimistic, newly married and in love and had the world as her oyster. In season
three, we see Daphne in a much darker place, feeling tortured and trapped, whereas Georgina is more in control of her life. What I really love about the way Georgina responds to all of that, is she’s quite compassionate and tries to help Daphne, even at the expense of her own sanity and safety.

How do we see Georgina and Nico interacting?
Nico’s still smug and doing bad things, wrapped up with dangerous people an not to be trusted. He ends up being the first person that Georgina runs into when she comes back to the South of France but he’s the last person she wanted to see. They’re still at odds with each other and I think Georgina feels very ruffled by him, because she’s still really determined to prove that she’s different.

Can you elaborate on the world of Riviera and the darker themes at play?
Yes, that was exactly what drew me to the show in the first place, way back in season one. It’s a sunny place for shady people and the original genesis of the show, I think was this idea that behind every great fortune is a great crime. You have this beautiful, cinematic, gorgeous setting, yet underneath it all people amass their wealth. The thick grapevine of this society is sinister and questionable and complicated, and I think those are nice contrasts. In season three, we’ve just expanded it and made it more international. You have this beautiful, cinematic, gorgeous setting, yet underneath it all how people amass their wealth is pretty questionable.

How do you feel viewers will react to the new series and why should they watch it?
It’s a show that gives you a window into a world of luxury and wealth that I think is unattainable for most people, but I think the idea that ‘behind every fortune is a great crime’ keeps this drama intelligent.I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with the escapism the series provides, butthe conspiracy Georgina uncovers show sophisticated. I hope we’ve provided that.

Stream Riviera from Thursday 15 November on NOW TV.