The physique of a younger girl murdered on an evening out, a pair of mismatched detectives despatched to research… to date so clichéd, you may suppose, when new crime drama Karen Pirie will get underway this week. However the ITV present, based mostly on a sequence of novels written by ‘Tartan Noir’ crime creator Val McDermid, takes an outdated, quite hackneyed concept and makes it completely contemporary.
It’s a really trendy crime drama full with podcasts, social media, constructive discrimination and snowflake millennials. It additionally questions whether or not homicide ought to ever be changed into leisure, and casts a crucial eye over a society the place violence in opposition to girls is endemic.
‘Sarah Everard went lacking as I used to be writing it and that was adopted by a number of different instances of lacking and murdered girls,’ says Emer Kenny, who tailored the books for the display. ‘I felt so indignant, as I do know many ladies did.
‘It couldn’t not make a distinction to what I used to be writing about girls not making it dwelling. As a result of we additionally function a podcast within the story, it made me take into consideration them too and the way we painting crime on display.
The ITV present Karen Pirie, based mostly on a sequence of novels written by ‘Tartan Noir’ crime creator Val McDermid, takes an outdated, quite hackneyed concept and makes it completely contemporary
The present introduces a compelling new heroine – eccentric detective Karen who’s performed by Outlander’s Lauren Lyle. Pictured: Lauren Lyle as DS Karen Pirie and Zach Wyatt as DS Phil Parhatka
‘I like writing fiction as a result of I modify my opinions on a regular basis, which is one motive I put totally different opinions into the mouths of my characters. I don’t know the way I really feel about sure issues like true-crime podcasts, however I believe in the event you dig into it in a delicate means you possibly can a minimum of discover among the necessary points.’
The present introduces a compelling new heroine – eccentric detective Karen who’s performed by Outlander’s Lauren Lyle – and has a wry humour that feels very genuine. Val McDermid, finest identified for her Tony Hill novels, tailored for TV as Wire In The Blood with Robson Inexperienced, started writing the Pirie books in 2004, however the sequence of three two-hour episodes updates the story to the current, with flashbacks to a chilly case.
In 1996, teenage barmaid Rosie Duff (Anna Russell Martin) vanishes on her approach to meet buddies at a celebration within the college city of St Andrews. Suspicion falls on the three drunk younger college students who discover her lifeless physique, however an absence of forensic proof means no costs are introduced and the case is left to collect mud.
Minimize to the fashionable day, and a true-crime podcast begins to dig into the story whereas criticising police for not taking violence in opposition to girls significantly. The native pressure is embarrassed into reopening the case, and resolve to advertise fearless and barely annoying Karen to go up the inquiry.
Placing a lady in cost, they motive, will look good with the press who’ve began to smell across the authentic botched investigation.
The irony is that regardless that Karen is in opposition to the thought of the podcast as a result of it sensationalises the homicide, she realises it’s the very motive she received the job. Decided to show her price and discover out what occurred that night time 25 years earlier, she uncovers flaws within the preliminary investigation and shortly finds herself in battle with the officers who led it.
By the tip of the primary episode a second physique has turned up, whereas Karen’s on-off lover DS Phil Parhatka (Zach Wyatt), who’d been hoping he’d be requested to steer the case himself, is livid at her promotion.
By the tip of the primary episode a second physique has turned up, whereas Karen’s on-off lover DS Phil Parhatka (Zach Wyatt), who’d been hoping he’d be requested to steer the case himself, is livid at her promotion
The thought of constructive discrimination was additionally private for Emer, who’s written for EastEnders however is healthier referred to as an actress after roles in Father Brown and Angus Deayton’s comedy Pramface. ‘I’m certain quite a lot of girls and younger individuals will relate to being underestimated by males or older individuals round them.
‘You already know you are able to do it, however they don’t consider you possibly can,’ she says. ‘I’ve had my very own expertise of constructive discrimination the place I’ve been employed for a writing staff as a result of I’m a lady they usually realise they want a feminine voice.
‘However on the identical time I believe, “I’m glad I’m right here as a result of they actually do want a feminine voice, however do I solely need to be right here as a result of I’m a lady?”’
Emer, 32, additionally seems as Karen’s pal River Wilde, and he or she and Lauren, 29, bonded over the very fact they have been each younger girls in a person’s world.
‘A British detective is an iconic factor to play and I by no means thought I’d get to try this in my 20s,’ says Lauren. ‘However once I learn the scripts they have been so sensible I believed, “I might truly do that.”
A lot of the present’s humour comes from Karen’s relationship together with her sidekick DC Jason ‘Mint’ Murray (Chris Jenks), an archetypal snowflake (pictured collectively)
Karen is a extremely underestimated, decided girl who has one thing thrust upon her with little or no back-up. However she is aware of deep down she will get it carried out.
‘After I was doing my first scene for the present, the place Karen is listening to the podcast within the opening episode, I keep in mind feeling the identical sort of impostor syndrome as Karen,’ she remembers. ‘I used to be so nervous. I used to be daunted by all of the dialogue and technical phrases, however on the identical time I felt like I used to be proper for the job.’
A lot of the present’s humour comes from Karen’s relationship together with her sidekick DC Jason ‘Mint’ Murray (Chris Jenks), an archetypal snowflake.
‘Once we received our police badges we spent about an hour collectively practising methods to flick them open simply so we might look cool,’ laughs Lauren. ‘It’s the sort of factor you can think about our characters doing.
‘The writing is so humorous, nevertheless it’s been cleverly merged right into a story that’s severe and related too. That’s why it feels contemporary, it isn’t one thing we’ve seen earlier than.’
Karen Pirie, Sunday, 8pm, ITV