The pair are set to star in the series, which was initially known as The Forgiving Earth when it was commissioned last year, alongside Noma Dumezweni (Harry Potter & the Cursed Child), Harriet Walter (The Crown, Downton Abbey), Tamara Tunie (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit), Lucian Msamati (Taboo) and Abena Ayivor (A United Kingdom).
The story, which is set across the UK, Europe, Africa and the U.S., centers on Kate Ashby, played by Coel, who was rescued as a young child during the Rwandan genocide and adopted by Eve Ashby (Walter), a world-class British prosecutor in international criminal law. Kate was raised in Britain and, now in her late 20s, she works as a legal investigator in the law chambers of Michael Ennis (Goodman). When Eve takes on a case at the International Criminal Court, prosecuting an African militia leader, the story pulls Michael and Kate into a journey that will upend their lives forever.
Goodman, who is repped by Gersh, is currently on the reboot of the hit ABC sitcom, while Coel is to appear in Netflix’s forthcoming musical feature film Been So Long.
The eight-part drama, which is produced by Doctor Foster producer Drama Republic, is described as a labyrinthine thriller about the prosecution of international war crimes and the personal, legal and political turmoil it ignites as well as the West’s relationship with contemporary Africa. It was written and directed by BAFTA-winner Hugo Blick, best known for series including The Honourable Woman and The Shadow Line. BBC Two will air in the UK, while Netflix holds global rights.
Coel, who is repped by Troika, said, “Kate Ashby’s story is inspirational, it was an honour to play a character in possession of so much strength and integrity.”
Blick added: “ ‘The past isn’t dead, it isn’t even past’. I was never quite sure exactly what this famous quote meant, but by following the fictional journey of a young black British woman on an epic and deeply personal quest to bring a Rwandan genocidaire to legal justice – now I do. And now I know just how critical, difficult and terrifying that phrase can seem to anyone in pursuit, and denial, of international criminal justice.”