“People want to know about the characters. It’s not just about the crimes; they want to know it has heart”
Distributor Disney Media Distribution
Producers Hoodlum Entertainment; ABC Studios International
Length 10 x 60 minutes
Broadcaster ABC Australia
Hot on the heels of his scandalous role in ITV’s Liar, Welsh actor Ioan Gruffudd fronts the first drama original from the London-based ABC Studios International.
The Brisbane-set crime procedural, co-produced with Australian indie Hoodlum Entertainment, follows forensic pathologist Daniel Harrow (Gruffudd), who is brilliant at his job, even though it has cost him his marriage and his relationship with his daughter.
Everything changes for Harrow, however, when a body found in a river ends up on his slab – because he’s the one who put it there.
The drama was co-created by Secrets And Lies’ Stephen Irwin and Leigh McGrath, and was pitched to Keli Lee at ABC Studios International 16 months ago. She “bought it the next day”, according to Hoodlum boss Tracey Robertson.
Australian public broadcaster ABC greenlit the drama last April and launched it in early March. It has been sold to an unnamed UK broadcaster, and there is “every intention” for it to play in the US.
Robertson says the international prospects for Harrow were high from the beginning because of Gruffudd’s profile in the US, where he starred in ABC’s 2015 crime procedural Forever.
He has also acted in feature films such as 2005’s Fantastic Four. Gruffudd and Robertson say the procedural model has had to evolve to satisfy “savvy” audiences’ desire for strong storytelling.
“People want to know more about the characters now [even in procedurals]. It is not just about the crimes; they want to know that it has heart,” says Robertson. “Harrow has a bit of both, and that is what makes it quite different.”
Gruffudd, who describes his character as a combination of House and Indiana Jones, adds: “Harrow is a procedural in that there is a new dead body every week, but we have the wonderful serialisation of wondering what happened to the body from the river.”
Sydney-based Hoodlum struck a global first-look deal with ABC Studios International late last year.
Meanwhile, Gruffudd has confirmed that he will star in the second series of Liar, despite the death of his character at the end of the first run.
The actor says indie Two Brothers is currently trying to “put together” a second series, which will begin shooting early next year.