Denise Mina's Alex Morrow books to become new Scottish TV detective drama

Shetland writer David Kane is to adapt crime novelist Denise Mina’s longest-running series of books for a major new Scottish TV drama.

Mina's female detective Alex Morrow will be the focus of the Glasgow-set drama, which will be based on her five novels featuring the character. The multi-series show is being developed by Glasgow-based production company Freedom Scripted, which secured investment from Channel 4 last year.

It was founded by BBC, STV and World Productions development producer Mike Ellen five years ago to focus on “high-end contemporary drama”.

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Mina and Kane, who worked on all seven series of Shetland made with Douglas Henshall, previously collaborated on The Field of Blood. Broadcast in 2011 and 2013, the two series explored cases investigated by Glasgow-based journalist Paddy Meehan, and starred Jayd Johnson, Peter Capaldi, David Morrissey and Ford Kiernan.

Crime writer Denise Mina.Crime writer Denise Mina.
Crime writer Denise Mina.

An official announcement on the development of Morrow said: “Characterised by a Glaswegian ‘no-filter’ directness, and an ability to mentally retain and card index the smallest detail from a case, DS Alex Morrow is formidable at solving crimes. But recent trauma means Morrow can’t face talking to her husband, or bear to sleep in the family home.

"Morrow’s secret younger half-brother Danny provides a sofa and is a genuine confidant, but it quickly becomes apparent that as a cop she can’t be seen with him … or especially their parent in common.

“Morrow’s an outsider who wants to be an insider, paired with the far less capable, but on message and true-blue Bannerman. The son of a leading cop, he ironically longs to be seen as less a part of the firm.

“As the pair investigate an attack and abduction on a South Asian family in season one, questions arise about whether their ambitious Machiavellian boss McKechnie has their backs, or if he is just enjoying playing them off against each other for his own entertainment and highly-questionable ends.”

Writer David Kane.Writer David Kane.
Writer David Kane.

Kane said: “I’m very attracted by the opportunity to present a version of modern multi-cultural Glasgow, but one that doesn’t shy away from its past. It’s different, more diverse, but still has that dark underbelly of crime.

“The criminals and the police know each other, sometimes they mix socially, and with Alex Morrow and her half-brother Danny, we take it even further – they’re family. It’s such rich territory for a writer.

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"Most of all, I love Denise Mina, and adapting her work feels very natural to me. I can find the voice of her characters easily, and always enjoy doing so.”

Mina said: “You'd be hard pressed to fit a Rizla between my writing and Davie's, and I'm well aware that I'm bigging myself up in saying that. He's a funny, brutal, wild writer and I'm honoured whenever our names are put together.”

Ellen said: “We’re thrilled to be bringing the formidable talents of Denise and Davie back together. Morrow promises to be one of the most complex and exciting detective characters brought to screen – suffice to say she’s got a lot going on.

“The diverse city we live and work in is one of the best in the world to set a propulsive crime thriller. It’s been ridiculously underused for this genre in recent years. This will be Glasgow with grit and glamour, ready to kick off at a moment’s notice.”



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