ITV Orders Val McDermid Adaptation ‘Karen Pirie’

ITV has ordered Karen Pirie, a crime drama series adapted from Val McDermid’s series of novels following the young Scottish female detective set in the Scottish university town of St. Andrew’s. Three feature length episodes have been ordered for the show’s first season, which is being based on the novel The Distant Echo.

Karen Pirie follows Karen, a refreshingly normal and 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 teenage 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.

The series has been adapted for TV by Emer Kenny and was commissioned by ITV’s Head of Drama Poly Hill. Line Of Duty and Bodyguard indie World Productions and producing. The indie’s CEO Simon Heath will serve as the executive producer. ITV said that filming would take place in Scotland and that casting would be confirmed at a later date. ITV Studios Global Entertainment will handle international sales. This marks the second ITV crime drama series adapted from Val McDermid’s novels, following in the footsteps of the Robson Green fronted Wire In The Blood.

“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”, Emer Kenny said in a statement. “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.”

“Emer has brilliantly realised Val McDermid’s iconic detective, Karen Pirie, and the rich crime stories Police Scotland’s Historic Cases Unit investigate”, commented ITV Drama Commissioner Huw Kennair Jones, who will oversee production on Karen Pirie for the broadcaster. “We’re thrilled to be working with Simon Heath and World Productions to bring such an exciting new series to the ITV audience.”