ITV Orders Political Thriller from Homeland’s Patrick Harbinson


LONDON: ITV has commissioned a new six-part drama, Fearless, which is written by Homeland writer and executive producer Patrick Harbinson and produced by Mammoth Screen.

A political thriller, Fearless stars Helen McCrory as Emma Blunt, a solicitor known for defending lost causes. Blunt is investigating the killing of a schoolgirl in East Anglia and trying to free the man she thinks was wrongly convicted of the girl’s murder.

Fearless joins Mammoth’s portfolio that also includes Victoria, starring Jenna Coleman for ITV; Endeavour, also for ITV; And Then There Were None, a miniseries; and the international hit Poldark.

Fearless is a legal thriller,” said Harbinson. “But one that’s written in the crash zone where law and politics collide.”

Harbinson added: “When, three years ago, Damien Timmer asked me if I was interested in writing a legal series inspired by the work of lawyers like Gareth Peirce and Helena Kennedy, I immediately said yes. Much of the work I’ve done in America in the last ten years (24, Person of Interest, Homeland) has been about life in the post 9/11 (and post 7/7) world. 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…”

He continued: “I’m delighted that Helen McCrory has agreed to play Emma. 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.”

McCrory commented: “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. l’m thrilled to be leading ITV’s new drama—it’s a thriller that starts deceptively small, then begins crossing borders to different cultures and continents. l knew and admired Patrick Harbinson’s writing for Homeland, and Pete Travis and l have worked together before—that shorthand is so important on such a big project with ambitions running high. I can’t wait to start filming.”

ITV’s controller of drama, Victoria Fea, said: “Emma Blunt is the kind of character who hates to back down. Against all the odds she’s driven by the unfolding mystery of that 2003 murder and whether the killer was unjustly convicted. Fearless is a complex, taut thriller and we’re delighted to be commissioning the series from Mammoth Screen.”