The BBC and Netflix have unveiled the international cast and a first-look image of their ambitious bilingual drama “Giri/Haji,” which has begun filming in London. An acclaimed Japanese lineup, led by Takehiro Hira and Yosuke Kubozuka, is joined by Emmy-winning British actress Kelly Macdonald, British actor Charlie Creed-Miles and U.S. actor Justin Long.
The eight-part thriller, whose title translates as “Duty/Shame,” is shot in both Japanese and English and will be subtitled. Set between London and Tokyo across multiple time frames, the show explores the ripple effects of one murder on two cities. The shoot will move to Tokyo later this year.
“Giri/Haji” is created and written by BAFTA nominee Joe Barton and directed by BAFTA-winner and Emmy nominee Julian Farino. The Japanese cast also includes Masahiro Motoki, Yuko Nakamura, Aoi Okuyama, Mitsuko Oka, Togo Igawa, Katsuya and Yoshiki Minato. British actors Will Sharpe and Tony Pitts also star.
Hira and Kubozuka star as once-devoted but now estranged brothers driven to opposite sides of the world by the spiraling consequences of a violent split-second decision. Hira plays Kenzo, a Tokyo detective and family man abruptly dispatched to London to search for his missing younger brother (Kubozuka). After arriving, he becomes drawn into the shadowy world of Abbott (Creed-Miles) and Vickers (Long), a once-lucrative business partnership now under threat, as the former looks to the East to expand his empire. Macdonald plays a British detective who investigates the London murder and who begins to test Kenzo’s devotion to his wife.
Piers Wenger, controller of BBC Drama, said the show would be “unlike anything we’ve ever seen before on British TV.”
“This series plays with genre in such a sophisticated way,” said executive producer Jane Featherstone, whose Sister Pictures is producing the show. “In ‘Giri/Haji,’ [writer Barton] has created gripping, truly rule-breaking scripts, visually and narratively rich, and when paired with this extraordinary ensemble cast and Julian’s beautiful direction, they will, I believe, result in something pretty fabulous.”
Chris Fry and Barton serve as executive producers alongside Featherstone for Sister Pictures, as well as Ben Irving for BBC Two. The series is produced by Susie Liggat.
“Giri/Haji” was commissioned by Netflix and by Wenger and BBC director of content Charlotte Moore for the BBC. The show will make its world premiere on BBC Two in 2019, with Netflix streaming the series globally outside of the U.K.