Karen Pirie ITV

ITV’s Karen Pirie: this new cold case murder drama is from the same team behind Line Of Duty

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ITV’s Karen Pirie is the new crime drama from the team behind Line Of Duty and Bodyguard. Here’s everything you need to know about it. 

ITV has been delivering in a big way when it comes to hard-hitting dramas as of late. Aside from the excellent news that The Tower and The Bay are returning for more seasons, we also have Van der Valk and The Suspect to see our summer evenings through with.

And now it looks like we’re getting another detective drama that we can sink our teeth into, this time with a fierce female lead. Karen Pirie not only sounds right up our street, but is also coming from World Productions, the production company behind Line Of Duty and Bodyguard. So you just know that there will be tension and suspense aplenty as well as plotlines and cases that will keep us guessing till its glorious end.

Outlander’s Lauren Lyle will be starring as the titular character and we can’t wait to see how this Scottish drama will unfold. With that, here’s everything you need to know about Karen Pirie

What is the plot of Karen Pirie?

The new drama is based on acclaimed author Val McDermid’s The Distant Echo, which is being adapted by Emer Kenny (Harlots, Save Me Too). The novels of celebrated crime writer McDermid have sold over 17 million copies worldwide so you just know the premise of this new drama is going to be a good one.

The series is going to open with an expectedly dramatic first episode that will see Karen tasked with reopening an historic murder investigation that has been the subject of a provocative true crime podcast. It’s giving us slight Only Murders In The Building vibes and we’re already here for it.

As the synopsis reads: “When teenager Rosie Duff was found brutally murdered in the Scottish university town of St Andrews in 1996, suspicion fell on the three drunken students who were discovered at the scene of the crime, claiming to have found her body; Sigmund ‘Ziggy’ Malkiewicz, Tom ‘Weird’ Mackie and Alex Gilbey. But with a lack of forensic evidence, no charges were brought and the police investigation floundered.

“25 years on, someone appears to be willing to risk everything to keep the secrets surrounding the case hidden. Do the three men know more than they previously revealed? How flawed was the original investigation? And can Karen uncover the truth of what happened to Rosie that fateful night?” 

Lauren Lyle
Lauren Lyle is starring as Karen Pirie in the new ITV drama.

Who will star in Karen Pirie?

As well as Lyle leading the cast of the new drama, Emer Kenny is not only adapting the drama for the small screen but will also take on the role of Karen’s friend River Wilde. Other cast members include Chris Jenks (Sex Education) as Jason ‘Mint’ Murray and Zach Wyatt (Blithe Spirit) as DS Phil Parhatka.

Further cast includes Anna Russell-Martin (Casualty) as Rosie Duff, Jhon Lumsden (Pancake) as Sigmund ‘Ziggy’ Malkiewicz, Jack Hesketh (Besa) as Tom ‘Weird’ Mackie and Buom Tihngang (Death In Paradise) as Alex Gilbey.

Michael Schaeffer (The Salisbury Poisonings) will also star as Tom ‘Weird’ Mackie senior, as well as Ariyon Bakare (His Dark Materials) as Alex Gilbey senior and Alec Newman (Unforgotten) as Sigmund ‘Ziggy’ Malkiewicz senior.

The series will also be directed by Gareth Bryn (Line Of Duty, Hidden) and Clare Kerr (The Nest) will produce.   

Emer Kenny
Emer Kenny has adapted the drama and will also be starring in ITV's Karen Pirie.

What has been said about Karen Pirie?

Speaking about her new leading role, Lyle commented: “I am completely overjoyed to be bringing the formidable force that is DS Karen Pirie to life through Emer Kenny’s slick adaptation. The world Emer has created using the backbone of Val McDermid’s much loved books is electrifying and hooked me immediately. I couldn’t ask for a more creative, supportive and energetic team to be joining. I’m so thankful to Val, Emer, World Productions and ITV for welcoming me wholeheartedly on board.”

Kenny also said of the new series: “I am so grateful to Val McDermid for lending me her brilliant characters, and beyond excited to work with the actors and Gareth Bryn to bring them to the screen. As I got to know Karen – and in casting the wonderful Lauren – I realised I wanted to be her best friend. So, I am delighted to announce that I will be playing River, Karen’s best friend.” 

Is there a trailer for Karen Pirie?

There is and in it, we see Pirie being laden with – what looks like – the case of her career. “I have no idea why they gave it to me,” she says. “Because you’re brilliant,” her friend says.

As well as clips of her police office, her colleagues and even a budding romance, the trailer also sees her comment rather hilariously: “It’s not been the greatest time to be called Karen.”

Watch the trailer for yourself here:  

When and where will Karen Pirie be available to watch?

Karen Pirie has been confirmed in ITV’s autumn 2022 bumper line-up of TV. An exact release date is yet to be confirmed for the three-part drama but we won’t have long to wait as it’s expected to air in September.

We’ll be sure to update you once we know more. 

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Images: ITV; Getty

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