Department Q: Scots stars Kelly Macdonald, Shirley Henderson, Mark Bonnar unveiled for Edinburgh-set Netflix adaptation of Nordic Noir novels
A star-studded cast has been unveiled for a major new Netflix crime series that will be set and filmed in Edinburgh.
Kelly Macdonald, Kate Dickie, Shirley Henderson, Leah Byrne, Mark Bonnar, Jamie Sives and Chloe Pirrie are among the Scots stars who will appear in Department Q, a new "cold case" unit created in the Scottish capital.
The adaptation of the "Nordic Noir" novels by Jussi Adler Olsen is being made for Netflix by the producers of The Crown and Outlander. Stephen Greenhorn, creator of the play Passing Places and the musical Sunshine on Leith, is among the writers on the show.
American writer and director Scott Frank will be the showrunner for the eight-part series. He has suggested all ten books to date could make for “a great season of television”.
Department Q will feature Matthew Goode, star of Downton Abbey and The Crown, in the lead role of Carl Morck, a “brilliant, but impossible” detective whose life has been turned “upside down” after a violent attack that has left his partner paralysed and another police officer dead.
An official announcement on the start of filming from Netflix states: “Upon his return to work, he is tasked with setting up Department Q – a new cold case department, which is little more than a PR exercise.
"At first, being sidelined suits Carl; he’s happy to waste his days playing solitaire and skiving. Yet over the course of the series, Carl’s detective instincts are reawakened, and his new department down in the basement becomes an unlikely magnet for the ‘misfits and mavericks’ of the force’s Chief Superintendent, who will be played by Dickie.”
His character forges a deeper connection throughout the series with Dr Rachel Irving, a therapist charged with getting officers back on the frontline, played by Macdonald, star of Trainspotting, Boardwalk Empire, Gosford Park and Brave.
Pirrie, whose previous screen roles include Shell, War & Peace, The Game, The Crown, The Queen’s Gambit and The Victim, will play “ruthless and ambitious" prosecutor Merritt Lingard. Call the Midwife actress Byrne, who will be starring in coming BBC thriller Nightsleeper, will play a former rising star in the police force who has been demoted to a desk job after suffering a breakdown during her first year as a detective constable.
Swedish actor Alexej Manvelov, who previously starred in Chernobyl and Jack Ryan, will play former Syrian police officer Akram Salim, who has started working as Carl’s assistant after fleeing his home country when the civil war broke out.
The series will reunite Bonnar and Sives after they previously starred together in the dark comedy drama Guilt, while Dickie and Henderson were both in the cast of the feature film adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s novel Filth.
Frank said: “The fact that I have been a fan of Jussi’s novels for a dozen years now, combined with my long-standing obsession with old school British procedurals like Cracker and Prime Suspect, made this one irresistible.
"There are ten novels in all, each one is a terrific mystery with great potential for a great season of television. Carl Morck is one of those classic detective anti-heroes, funny and dark at the same time, that I can never get enough of. I think audiences will feel the same way.”
A spokeswoman for Scottish Government's film and TV agency, Screen Scotland, said: ““It’s incredibly exciting to welcome Netflix back to Scotland with Department Q.
"This announcement comes hot on the heels of others including feature film Tornado, from Scottish writer-director John McLean, and new comedy series Only Child, from Forres-based Happy Tramp North, highlighting the breadth of high-quality film and TV being made in Scotland.
"These productions create invaluable opportunities for Scottish crews, creative talent and trainees to continue to build their careers, right here in Scotland.”
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