Waleed Zuaiter, Bertie Carvel, Clara Khoury, Leem Lubany, Neil Maskell, Corey Stoll, Charlotte Spencer, July Namir, Tawfeek Barhom, Youssef Kerkour, Hisham Suleiman, Nora El Koussour and Maisa Abd Elhadi have been tapped to star in Channel 4’s Elliott Colla adaptation Baghdad Central.
Baghdad Central is set in October 2003 and Baghdad has been occupied by American forces for six months; but the disbandment of the Iraqi army, the police and civil leadership in the aftermath of the invasion means there is no one in charge and no effective rule of law. In the midst of this chaos, crime and paranoia, Iraqi ex-policeman Muhsin al-Khafaji (Waleed Zuaiter) has lost everything and is battling daily to keep himself and his sick daughter, Mrouj (July Namir), safe. But when he learns that his estranged elder daughter Sawsan (Leem Lubany) is missing Khafaji is forced into a desperate search to find her.
He soon finds himself up against her enigmatic university tutor, Professor Zubeida Rashid (Clara Khoury) and discovers that Sawsan and her two close friends Sanaa (Nora El Koussour) and Zahra ( Maisa Abd Elhadi) have been leading a hidden life that’s led them into great danger. Khafaji feels powerless until he meets Frank Temple (Bertie Carvel), an ex Police Officer who has arrived from Britain on a mission to rebuild the Iraqi Police Force from the ground up. Temple recruits ex-cop Khafaji to give his operation some much-needed local credibility. But unbeknown to both Temple and his nemesis, upstanding American Military Police Captain John Parodi (Corey Stoll), Khafaji is compelled by his own, secret reasons to risk everything by collaborating with the occupying forces.
Meanwhile a new threat represented by security op Douglas Evans (Neil Maskell) provides a terrifying and sinister counterforce to his efforts. Khafaji quickly discovers that Sawsan’s disappearance is linked to the murder of an American employee and so entwines himself in that investigation to uncover the truth about what has happened to his daughter and her friends. But, as the addictive, thrilling world of Baghdad Central unfolds, he soon finds himself embarking on a wider quest for justice in a society that’s become truly lawless.
The six episode crime thriller is based on the novel by Elliott Colla and was created for television by The Last Kingdom scribe Stephen Butchard. It was commissioned by Channel 4’s Head of Drama Beth Willis, with Commissioning Editor Manpreet Dosanjh and Commissioning Executive Jonny Richards. Euston Films (part of FremantleMedia UK) are producing, with Jonathan Curling serving as the series producer. Alice Troughton is the lead director, while Ben A. Williams is attached to direct the second block. The executive producers are Kate Harwood, Stephen Butchard and Alice Troughton. Production is now underway in Morocco ahead of a 2019 premiere. FremantleMedia International will handle global sales.