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Netflix, Canal+ Order Harlan Coben Series With ‘Dexter’ Star Michael C. Hall

Netflix and the Canal+ Group in France have ordered “Safe,” a thriller from author Harlan Coben starring Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”). Canal+ will place the show on its free-to-air channel C8 and Netflix will air it globally.

Hall was the star of Showtime series “Dexter” from 2006 to 2013, and in “Safe” will play a British pediatric surgeon raising two teenage daughters, Jenny and Carrie, alone after the death of his wife. The family is seemingly safe inside a gated community when the elder daughter sneaks out to a party and a murder and disappearance follow, changing all of their lives.

Amanda Abbington (“Sherlock”) will also star in the show. Studiocanal’s U.K.-based production company Red will make the series, and Studiocanal will sell any remaining and secondary rights. Danny Brocklehurst (“Shameless”) has written the script for the eight-part drama, which is now shooting in the British cities of Manchester and Cheshire.

Bestselling author Coben has moved steadily into TV. His first small-screen project was “The Five” for Sky in the U.K. That show was written by Brocklehurst, produced by Red and acquired by Canal+. “Safe” sees that team reunited.

Netflix acquired “Happy Valley” from Red, but “Safe” will be the production’s first original for the streaming giant. Based in Manchester and run by Nicola Shindler, Red was acquired by Studiocanal in 2013.

Coben’s style lends itself to watching multiple episodes, which attracted Netflix, Shindler told Variety. “The serialized nature of this, and Harlan’s way of storytelling, lends itself to streaming. He’s all about the hook of a story,” she said. “After ‘The Five,’ he wanted to write something about family and how we build walls to keep out the bad people, but what if they’re on the inside? It’s about how far you’d go to protect your family.”

Shindler added that she met Hall while he was performing in Britain in the David Bowie musical “Lazarus” and that he signed on as soon as he read the script.

Netflix continues to launch a select number of foreign originals to complement those coming out of the U.S. In France, it has commissioned political drama “Marseille” from Federation and the upcoming sci-fi drama “Osmosis.”

The streaming service is increasingly working with local partners and then taking the global rights outside of the home territory. The willingness of international broadcasters such as Canal+ to greenlight shows in English helps in that regard. Other international Netflix co-productions include “Troy” and “Giri/Haji” with the BBC in the U.K.

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