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Helen McCrory to star in ITV legal thriller from Homeland writer

Story by Jack Foley

HELEN McCrory is to star in a new ITV legal thriller from Patrick Harbinson, the writer of Homeland.

The as-yet untitled drama will see the Peaky Blinders actress playing a campaigning defence solicitor named Emma Blunt as she investigates the killing of a schoolgirl in East Anglia and tries to free the man she thinks was wrongly convicted of the girl’s murder.

The six-part series has been described as a legal thriller “that’s written in the crash zone where law and politics collide”.

McCrory, whose credits also include the Harry Potter franchise, said she was “thrilled” to be leading the new drama.

“When l was at drama school l was inspired by Prime Suspect, watching as Britain led the way in creating strong female characters to lead their dramas,” she said, before teasing: “It’s a thriller that starts deceptively small, then begins crossing borders to different cultures and continents.”

She added that she knew and admired Harbinson’s writing for Homeland, which starred her husband Damian Lewis in its early series, and can’t wait to start filming.

Harbinson, who was also an executive producer on 24 and Person of Interest, was equally delighted to have McCrory on board for his drama.

“She is a complex and contradictory character, and I am incredibly lucky to have someone of Helen’s wit, warmth and intelligence bringing her to life,” he said.

When questioned on the appeal of writing a UK series, Harbinson said he immediately said yes because he liked the idea of having it be inspired by the work of campaigning lawyers such as Gareth Peirce, who helped gain the release of Guildford Four member Gerry Conlon, and Helena Kennedy.

“Much of the work I’ve done in America in the last 10 years (24, Person of Interest, Homeland) has been about life in the post 9/11 (and post 7/7) world,” he continued. “The so-called war on terror has put serious stress on the ordinary workings of the law.

“National security justifies all sorts of police and state over-reach – and the great majority of us are prepared to accept this.

“So, I wanted to create a character who challenges these assumptions, who fights for those outside the normal run of society, and who is uncompromising, difficult, and completely indifferent to unpopularity and danger. The result was Emma Blunt and Fearless.”

Filming will begin in London and East Anglia in September.

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