Cattleya, the Italian company behind hit series “Gomorrah” and Amazon’s upcoming “ZeroZeroZero,” is making its first foray into the detective genre with “Petra,” featuring a hard-boiled female inspector played by actress Paola Cortellesi.
The four-part Italian-language series is being produced as an original for Sky Italia.
Production has kicked off in Genoa with Italy’s Maria Sole Tognazzi (“A Five Star Life”) directing the adaptation of prominent Spanish writer Alicia Giménez-Bartlett’s book “Death Rites,” a bestseller in Italy and Spain which has also been published in the U.S.
Cattleya and Sky’s TV adaptation of “Petra” transposes the setting to Italy. It sees titular character Petra Delicado, a twice-divorced sleuth chained to a tiresome desk job among sexist colleagues, suddenly thrust onto the front line to solve violent crimes with newly assigned partner Antonio Monte, an old-school cop close to retirement. Her sidekick is played by Andrea Pennacchi, who appeared in “Suburra,” the Cattleya film spun into a series for Netflix.
Cortellesi is a box-office draw in Italy, where she top-lined hit social comedy “Like a Cat on a Highway” and family comedy “La Befana View di Notte,” both released by Sky Italia-led theatrical distribution company Vision Distribution.
Sky Italia EVP Programming Nicola Maccanico called “Petra” an “ingenious and complex female character” and noted that Tognazzi’s portrayal of women in films such as rom-com “A Five Star Life” – which was released by Music Box Films in the U.S. – “is always authentic and refreshingly free of stereotypes.”
Riccardo Tozzi, the CEO and founder of Cattleya, which is now owned by ITV, said he considered “Petra” a good fit “since it revolves around a strong and totally unconventional woman” and also allows the company “to continue exploring different genres.”
Both Maccanico and Tozzi noted that the show takes its cue from an international bestseller. That element makes “Petra” similar to “Inspector Montalbano,” which has traveled beyond Italy.