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Channel 4, HBO commission Marlon James crime noir set in Jamaica and UK

Channel 4 in the UK and HBO in the US have teamed up to commission the first original drama series from Booker Prize-winning author Marlon James.

Marlon James

Told in six parts through the eyes of six people, each with their own bias, Get Millie Black follows a police detective forced to quit Scotland Yard and return home to Jamaica, where she is soon pursuing a missing persons case that threatens to expose more than she is willing to confront.

Aiming to show a wholly authentic version of a Jamaica never seen on screen before, the series explores the troubled legacy of racism, slavery, sexuality, classism and cycles of trauma in the post-colonial landscape of Britain and Jamaica.

The crime drama will be produced by Endeavor Content-backed Motive Pictures, the production company founded by Simon Maxwell after he left his role as head of international drama at Channel 4.

It will go into production in 2022, filming in the UK and Jamaica, and has been commissioned by Caroline Hollick, head of drama at Channel 4, and Francesca Orsi at HBO.

Its executive producers are Maxwell, James and Leopoldo Gout. Director and casting details will follow, the producers said.

James is the author of four novels: John Crow’s Devil, The Book of Night Women, A Brief History of Seven Killings, which won the 2015 Man Booker Prize, and Black Leopard, Red Wolf.

James said: “My mother was one of the first policewomen in Jamaica to make detective. Storytelling has always struck me first and foremost as a mystery to be solved – which I’m sure I got from her. Millie, from the second she appeared in my imagination, was a brilliant, mercurial, hilarious, unpredictable force of nature; someone who was always there, just waiting for her story to be told. I didn’t create her, I found her.”

Orsi, executive VP of HBO programming, added: “With Get Millie Black, Marlon James has achieved the extraordinary, invigorating noir storytelling by bringing it to his native Jamaica through a dazzling mosaic of shifting perspectives. He is one of the most prolific and imaginative authors of our time and we’re honoured that he has entrusted HBO with this thrilling and deeply personal story.”

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