The six-episode ITV drama, a prequel to the British classic that starred Dame Helen Mirren as Jane, is based on Lynda La Plante’s “Tennison” novel. La Plante created the original Prime Suspect series, which followed Mirren’s Jane as she navigated the waters of London’s police service as one of its first female Detective Chief Inspectors.
“Jane Tennison was adored by 'Masterpiece’ audiences, who cheered her on as she tried to make it in a man’s world,” “Masterpiece” executive producer Rebecca Eaton said. “Prime Suspect: Tennison will imagine the events that made Jane the tenacious, difficult, and brilliant detective she became.”
Prime Suspect: Tennison joins 22-year-old Jane (Stefanie Martini) at the start of her career in 1970s London. Just a probationary officer at this point in her life, Jane has to fight her way through the appalling sexism and bad policing that were de rigueur at the time. At the start of the series, she’s thrown into a nasty murder investigation that will shape the rest of her life.
“‘Masterpiece on PBS’ was the original home of Prime Suspect, so we are thrilled that they are continuing their association with this brilliant series,” Greg Johnson, ITV Studios’ EVP of global entertainment, said. “Prime Suspect: Tennison will feel very topical and fresh, through the many complex and very current themes it explores.”
Prime Suspect has long been considered the peak of the British crime drama; in addition to a passel of British awards, it also won Emmys for best miniseries and best actress (Mirren). ITV greenlit the prequel in summer 2015, in advance of the 25th anniversary of the original’s premiere in 1991.
Masterpiece, presented by WGBH Boston, is currently in its 45th season.