ITV orders adaptation of Val McDermid’s The Distant Echo
James R | On 08, Feb 2020
ITV is bringing Val McDermid’s The Distant Echo to the screen in a new cold case murder drama.
The drama, which has a working title of Karen Pirie, is based on McDermid’s series of cold case investigations and hails from World Productions, the producers of Line of Duty and Bodyguard.
Adapted by Emer Kenny (Harlots, Save Me Too),!Karen Pirie is based on the first of McDermid’s novels to follow the young Scottish female detective in the Scottish university town of St. Andrew’s. Karen is a normal, charmingly unfashionable young woman – slick, maverick cop she is not – but her quick mouth and ingenuity make her an impressive investigator.
Following her promotion to Police Scotland’s Historic Cases Unit, Karen is tasked with reopening the investigation into a murder that has been the subject of a provocative true crime podcast. When teen barmaid Rosie Duff was stabbed to death in 1995, suspicion fell on the three drunken students who discovered her body. But despite police suspicion, the boys were never charged. Nearly 25 years on, DS Karen Pirie is determined to uncover what happened that fateful night. Do the men know more than they previously revealed? When Karen uncovers flaws in the initial investigation, she finds herself in conflict with the very officers who led the original hunt for the killer.
Karen Pirie has been commissioned for ITV by Head of Drama, Polly Hill. Drama Commissioner Huw Kennair Jones will oversee production from the channel’s perspective.
Kenny, a writer and actress whose credits include Harlots, Save Me and EastEnders, comments: “From the moment I read that Karen Pirie orders a Bacardi Breezer as her after-work drink (other brands of alco-pop are available) I knew that she was the detective for me. Val is the queen of crime for good reason and I’m honoured to be bringing her creation to a TV audience, especially for ITV which has been home to some of my favourite detective shows, from Broadchurch to Prime Suspect. Of course, I’m delighted to be working with World Productions again, who really know their way around a crime drama.”
McDermid sees: “I’m sure this adaptation will bring Karen many new fans as well as delighting her existing ones. Karen and the Historic Cases Unit are in very safe hands!”
Filming will take place in Scotland and details of casting will be advised in the coming months.