Under the working title of Karen Pirie, the series will consist of three two-hour episodes and will be produced by the makers of Line of Duty and Bodyguard, World Productions.
The Distant Echo is the first in a series of best-selling novels about a young Scottish female detective called Karen Pirie and a series of cold case investigations set in the beautiful Scottish university town of St. Andrew’s.
Karen is a refreshingly normal and charmingly unfashionable young woman, slick, maverick cop she is not - but her quick mouth and ingenuity make her an impressive investigator.
Following her promotion to Police Scotland's Historic Cases Unit, Karen is tasked with reopening the investigation into a murder that has been the subject of a provocative true crime podcast. When teenage barmaid Rosie Duff was stabbed to death in 1995, suspicion fell on the three drunken students who discovered her body. But despite police suspicion, the boys were never charged.
Nearly 25 years on, DS Karen Pirie is determined to uncover what happened that fateful night. Do the men know more than they previously revealed? When Karen uncovers flaws in the initial investigation, she finds herself in conflict with the very officers who led the original hunt for the killer.
Emer Kenny who has adapted the series for television has starred in many television programmes including EastEnders, Father Brown and Pramface whilst also writing for the Hulu series Harlots. Speaking about the new series, Emer said “From the moment I read that Karen Pirie orders a Bacardi Breezer as her after-work drink (other brands of alco-pop are available) I knew that she was the detective for me."
She went on to say "Val is the queen of crime for good reason and I’m honoured to be bringing her creation to a TV audience, especially for ITV which has been home to some of my favourite detective shows, from Broadchurch to Prime Suspect. Of course, I’m delighted to be working with World Productions again, who really know their way around a crime drama.”
Drama Commissioner for ITV Huw Kennair Jones said "Emer has brilliantly realised Val McDermid's iconic detective, Karen Pirie, and the rich crime stories Police Scotland's Historic Cases Unit investigate. We're thrilled to be working with Simon Heath and World Productions to bring such an exciting new series to the ITV audience.”
Whilst World Production’s CEO Simon Heath who will executive produce the series added "Emer is a new and exciting voice who brings a witty, contemporary take to Val’s brilliant and much-loved Karen Pirie novels. We’re delighted that ITV have given us the chance to bring them to the screen."
The novels of celebrated crime writer Val McDermid have sold over 16 million copies worldwide and previously The Hill Jordan series of novels was adapted into Wire in the Blood for ITV starring Robson Green. Speaking about this latest adaptation Val said "I'm sure this adaptation will bring Karen many new fans as well as delighting her existing ones. Karen and the Historic Cases Unit are in very safe hands!' Filming will take place in Scotland and details of casting will be advised in the coming months.
Karen Pirie will air on ITV