LONDON — U.K. broadcaster ITV has greenlit a prequel to multi Emmy-winning crime series “Prime Suspect,” which starred Helen Mirren and ran for seven seasons. The new series “Tennison” will be written by “Prime Suspect” scribe Lynda La Plante, and will air next year to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the debut of “Prime Suspect.”
“Tennison,” which will comprise six hour-long episodes, portrays the young Jane Tennison beginning her career and reveals why she became such a complex and formidable character in London’s police force. It’s set in East London in the 1970s, when women police officers are being uneasily “integrated” into the force. Twenty-two year-old Tennison is a probationary officer in a world where high-ranking police officers were notoriously chauvinistic, and the rules and regulations often bent.
Single-minded and ambitious, if a touch naive, Tennison’s dedicated and instinctive approach to her career is evident from the start. Starting as an officer on the beat, she is thrown in at the deep end, drawn into a brutal murder inquiry, and experiences first hand London’s violent criminal ganglands. She works alongside senior investigating officer Bradfield, and in her first murder case, sees the devastating effects violent crime has on the victim’s family, as well as experiencing tragic ramifications herself. The series has a strong sense of style and a 70s musical backdrop to the narrative, ITV said.
“Tennison,” which was commissioned for ITV by director of drama Steve November and controller of drama Victoria Fea, will be co-produced by La Plante Global and Noho Film and Television. La Plante has written and produced more than 170 hours of television drama, including “Trial and Retribution,” “The Commander” and “Above Suspicion,” through her company. Noho was set up in 2012 by Robert Wulff-Cochrane and Camilla Campbell, who previously headed up the drama department at Channel 4. Campbell and Wulff-Cochrane will executive produce “Tennison” for Noho with La Plante also executive producing.
“Tennison” will be distributed internationally by ITV Studios Global Entertainment.
“Prime Suspect’s” trophy cabinet included three BAFTAs and two Emmys for Mirren, and two BAFTAs and three Emmys for the show.