Get your first look at the new series coming to Hulu.
Prepare to die! Or rather, prepare to have the mystery of someone's death solved.
Mandy Patinkin is at last fulfilling his hirsute destiny and entering the legion of world's greatest detectives as Rufus Cotesworth in Hulu's Death and Other Details — and EW has your exclusive first look. Mike Weiss and Heidi Cole McAdams write and executive produce, with Marc Webb helming the pilot.
"The three of us — Mike Weiss, Heidi Cole McAdams, and Marc Webb — are each separately the world's biggest Mandy Patinkin fans," Weiss and McAdams tell EW via email. "He can do anything. And yet, he's never played a genius detective before. That was an error we wanted to correct. What Mandy brings is humanity. As Rufus Cotesworth, he is more brilliant, clever, and better dressed than any of us, but he wears his flaws as comfortably as he wears his bespoke suits. And because of that – we trust him completely."
The series follows Imogene Scott (Violett Beane), a restless young woman who finds herself becoming the prime suspect in a locked-room mystery aboard a lavishly restored Mediterranean ocean liner. Every pampered guest and exhausted crew member is a suspect, forcing Imogene to team up with a man she loathes — Rufus Cotesworth, the world's greatest detective. "As Rufus would tell you, this is not even his story," the writers note. "Death and Other Details introduces the world to Imogene Scott, a jaded petty thief on a collision course with Rufus. They will need each other if they have any hope of solving the mysteries that keep piling up aboard the SS Varuna."
Death and Other Details is set aboard a glamorous, meticulously restored ocean liner, the SS Varuna, but it's set in our contemporary world. "We did extensive research into the grand vessels of the era — particularly the SS Normandie and the Queen Mary, where we filmed some of the first episode," the creators continue. "Our incredibly talented production designer James Philpott recreated those details on stage. The scale of our sets — built to match the scale of those massive ships — was almost embarrassing. Our dining hall is two stories tall and could have hosted a high end wedding if it wasn't for all the camera equipment."
For Weiss and McAdams, they wanted to take the glamour and intrigue of Agatha Christie novels and plop them into our modern day world. "We love Agatha Christie novels," they add. "We've read everything she's ever written. We wanted to capture the atmosphere of those works and drag her style into our contemporary world. That means memorable locations. Wardrobe — overseen by the immensely stylish costume designer Mandi Line — drew inspiration from Katharine Hepburn and Grace Kelly."
The Knives Out franchise has generated a new hunger for mystery films and series, but Weiss and McAdams wanted to throw it even further back with their tone and vibe. "While the show is set in our present day, the story owes a debt to golden age detective novels," they note. "And where Knives Out might have been inspired by 70's detective paperbacks, we were aiming at something a little bit more classical."
That is particularly evident in Patinkin's character, who is inspired by a long line of famous fictional detectives, including Hercule Poirot, Sherlock Holmes, Sam Spade, Philip Marlowe, and more. But what makes him unique, besides the fact that he's lost his fame and fortune when we first meet him?
"Rufus tells us, at the very beginning of our story, to pay attention," Weiss and McAdams conclude. "Details matter. Rufus can take a single thread found at a crime scene and tell you where it was woven, and when, and who it belonged to. He is constantly amazed by his own brilliance. In that way, he is not unlike Poirot, Holmes, or other masterful detectives who came before him. However, the rules have changed. When we meet Rufus, he's struggling to survive in a post-fact world."
Check out more of the first look photos below. The 10-episode series premieres on Hulu on Jan. 16 with two episodes, then one episode weekly, with a two-episode finale on March 5.
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