‘Prime Suspect: Tennison’ to hit PBS’ Masterpiece in 2017


Much like Endeavour has given us invaluable insight into the early years that shaped what we came to know as Inspector Morse in the mid-80’s, ITV has commissioned a ‘prequel’ to the classic series, Prime Suspect.

Based on writer Lynda La Plante’s book, “Tennison”, which reveals how DCI, then Detective Superintendent Jane Tennison became such a complex and crucial figure in the Metropolitan Police, will also find its way to PBS’ Masterpiece series in 2017.

Stefanie Martini in "Doctor Thorne", in what what we must assume is a far crime from her "Tennison" gear. (Photo: ITV)

Doctor Thorne‘s Stefanie Martini stars as Jane Tennison in Prime Suspect: Tennison for PBS Masterpiece. (Photo: ITV)

Stefanie Martini (Doctor Thorne, Endeavour, Emerald City) stars as a young Jane Tennison alongside Sam Reid and Blake Harrison as Jane’s superiors DCI Len Bradfield and DS Spencer Gibbs. In addition, Alun Armstrong (NewTricks, Little Dorrit), Ruth Sheen (Unforgotten, Inside No.9), Lex Shrapnel (Medici: Masters of Florence) and Jay Taylor (Promise) are cast as crime family members Clifford, Renee, John and David Bentley.

The original British police procedural starred Helen Mirren as Jane Tennison. The show ran for seven cycles, airing 15 episodes and chalking up Primetime Emmys for Outstanding Miniseries and for Outstanding Actress for Mirren, along with Golden Globes, British BAFTA Awards and a Peabody Award.

Set in Hackney in the 1970s, at a time when women police constables were being ‘uneasily integrated’ into the force, the 6-part series from ITV is targeted for air to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the first Prime Suspect series, which aired from 1991-2006. As with Endeavour and Inspector Morse, viewers will be introduced to a 22-year-old Jane, a probationary officer in a 1970s London world where high-ranking police officers were notoriously chauvinistic, and the rules and regulations often bent.

According to the official ITV Press Centre announcementTennison will offer up a single-minded and ambitious Jane Tennison who possesses a dedicated and instinctive approach to her career that is evident from the start.  Starting as a WPC on the beat, she is thrown in at the deep end, drawn into a brutal murder enquiry, and experiences first hand London’s violent criminal ganglands. She works alongside senior investigating officer DCI Bradfield, and in her first murder case, sees the devastating effects violent crime has on the victim’s family, as well as experiencing tragic ramifications herself.

Masterpiece executive producer Rebecca Eaton said: “’Prime Suspect: Tennison’ will imagine the events that made Jane the tenacious, difficult, and brilliant detective that she became.”

Prime Suspect: Tennison will air as part of PBS’ Masterpiece in 2017.