Tamara Lawrance

Channel 4’s Get Millie Black: the exciting cast has been revealed for the Marlon James Jamaican detective drama

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Get Millie Black is the female-led Jamaican detective series we’re already obsessed with and the new cast has just been announced. Here’s everything we know about the series, which is written by bestselling author Marlon James.

Detective dramas are some of our favourites but there’s no denying that they can often detail the same experiences, namely that of a Eurocentric British police force.

That’s one of the main reasons why we’re very excited for Get Millie Black – the new detective drama coming from the authorial genius Marlon James, who won the Man Booker prize for A Brief History Of Seven Killings.

Teaming up on the project is HBO and Channel 4, who are co-producing this crime drama which follows ex-Scotland Yard detective Millie Jean Black and will span London and Jamaica.

Rather excitingly, the cast for the “unflinching and gripping” six-part crime noir has just been revealed so scroll on for what we know about the series so far. 

Marlon James
Marlon James will be writing and executive producing Channel 4 and HBO's Get Millie Black.

What is Get Millie Black about?

This female-led detective series will chronicle the life of detective Millie Jean Black, who previously worked at Scotland Yard and will be making the move back to Kingston, Jamaica, to work the missing persons beat. It’s set to be a police drama unlike most and is already being heralded as a “true original”. 

According to the synopsis, the series is “a vivid, blistering slice of contemporary noir driven by a truly iconic woman, the formidable Millie-Jean Black.”

The synopsis continues: “Returning to her roots from her troubled life in London, to work missing persons cases for the Jamaican police force, Millie soon picks up the trail of an investigation that begins in the steaming streets of downtown Kingston and works its way up to the hill plantations of the post-colonial elite. Events eventually explode onto the international stage, propelling Millie back to the UK, where pretty soon everyone is out to get Millie Black.

“Marlon James has created a deeply personal and wholly authentic version of a Jamaica never seen on screen before. Get Millie Black explores the troubled legacy of racism, slavery, sexuality, classism and cycles of trauma in the post-colonial landscape of Britain and Jamaica, always told through the unique perspective of Millie – a girl born on the Rock, raised in London, who claims to be both British and Jamaican, yet somehow belongs to neither place. 

“It is a story peopled by a host of unforgettable characters; transgender ‘gully queen’ Hibiscus, the sibling Millie left behind; her brilliant partner on the Jamaican police force, Curtis, who is forced to keep his love life secret from his colleagues; game-playing Scotland Yard Inspector Luke Holborn; and Hit Girl, go-go-club owner and underworld entrepreneur.”

Tamara Lawrance
Tamara Lawrance is leading the cast of Channel 4's Get Millie Black as Millie-Jean Black.

Who will star in Get Millie Black?

As previously mentioned, we finally know who will be starring in this anticipated drama. Get Millie Black has cast Tamara Lawrance (Silent Twins, The Long Song) to star in the title role of Millie-Jean Black, with Tanya Hamilton (Night Catches Us) directing.

Joe Dempsie (Pieces Of Her, Game Of Thrones) will star as Luke Holborn, a British detective who shows up in Kingston on the trail of a major investigation that’s set on a collision course with Millie’s. According to the synopsis, he’ll be “bringing all the baggage of Scotland Yard with him” and his presence on Millie’s home turf is “destined to be triggering in all sorts of ways”. 

Gershwyn Eustache Jnr (Britannia) will star as Curtis, a gay cop, who “can go only so far in his own police force” but as Millie Black’s partner, “he’s about to have his whole life shattered”.

Newcomer Chyna McQueen will star as Hibiscus, Millie’s sister and one of the Sunlight Ladies, “a band of Queer outcasts living hand-to-mouth yet exuberantly in the gullies that run throughout Kingston. Hibiscus is the sister Millie never bargained for. Millie is the sister Hibiscus never knew she needed.”

The series will not only chronicle a gripping international mystery and a compelling manhunt but it will also be told in six parts through the eyes of six different people. And as the synopsis reads, each of them have “their own bias and beef” but also all “believe they know the true Millie Black, perhaps the deepest mystery of all.”

Joe Dempsie by Eric Frideen
Game Of Thrones' Joe Dempsie will be starring in Channel 4's Get Millie Black.

What has been said about Get Millie Black?

James, who will be writing and executive producing the series, said: “My mother was one of the first policewomen in Jamaica to make detective.

“Storytelling has always struck me first and foremost as a mystery to be solved – which I’m sure I got from her. Millie, from the second she appeared in my imagination was a brilliant, mercurial, hilarious, unpredictable force of nature; someone who was always there, just waiting for her story to be told. I didn’t create her, I found her.”

He also added: “This is the first major international TV show to put my home country, Jamaica, centre stage, so it’s beyond awesome to have actual world-class Jamaican talent both in front and behind the camera, with our star Tamara Lawrance and director Tanya Hamilton.”

Caroline Hollick, head of Channel 4 drama, added: “Marlon James is one of the literary superstars of our generation and to be able to greenlight his first original drama series is nothing short of a total privilege. 

“Get Millie Black is every bit the smart, bold and complex piece of storytelling that you would expect from Marlon, it’s a tale that digs deep into identity and belonging but it’s one that is firmly at home on Channel 4 and embodies everything that our drama should be about. The scripts are utterly enthralling, Millie came to us already living and breathing on the page and I can’t wait to see her step off of it and captivate audiences on screen.” 

When and where will Get Millie Black be available to watch?

While we don’t currently have a release date, we do know that the series will be available to watch on Channel 4. Production began this week in Jamaica, with additional shooting in London to come so watch this space for further updates. 

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Image: HBO/Channel 4

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