EXCLUSIVE: Archie Panjabi and Christopher Plummer have been set to lead an ensemble cast in the event thriller Departure. A Canada/UK co-production, the six-part drama will air on Canada’s Global in 2019. Shaftesbury and Greenpoint Productions are producing in association with Corus Entertainment. Starlings Television will co-finance and oversee distribution worldwide.
Created by Vincent Shiao (Ransom, Aftermath), the conspiracy series follows the mystery of a passenger plane that vanishes over the Atlantic Ocean. Principal photography has just begun in Toronto with filming also to take place in London.
Further cast includes Kris Holden-Ried (Vikings), Claire Forlani (Hawaii Five-O), Rebecca Liddiard (Frankie Drake Mysteries), Shazad Latif (Star Trek: Discovery), Tamara Duarte (Longmire), Peter Mensah (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Kristian Bruun (Orphan Black), Allan Hawco (Caught), Dougray Scott (Snatch), Sasha Roiz (Grimm), Mark Rendall (30 Days of Night), Dmitry Chepovetsky (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol), Paris Jefferson (Sunset Contract), and more.
Departure centers on the shocking disappearance of Flight 716. Kendra Malley (Panjabi), the recently widowed, brilliant aviation investigator, is called in by her former boss and mentor Howard Lawson (Plummer) to investigate the mysterious crash. With the whole world watching, Kendra and her team race to pinpoint the missing aircraft and locate possible survivors. They must battle through a host of suspects and motives — pilot suicide, terrorism, politically motivated murder, systems failure — to determine what really happened, and to stop it from happening again.
The Good Wife Emmy winner Panjabi’s recent credits include NBC’s Blindspot and SundanceTV’s Next of Kin. She’s repped by Gersh. Oscar winner Plummer, who received his most recent nomination for last year’s All The Money in the World, has feature Knives Out coming up. He’s repped by ICM Partners.
Canadian Screen Award winner T.J. Scott (Orphan Black, Star Trek: Discovery) is directing Departure with Malcolm MacRury (Saving Hope) joining as showrunner. MacRury, Shiao, Ellen Vanstone, John Krizanc and Stephanie Tracey are writers.
The project was developed by Shaftesbury in association with Corus and Red Arrow Studios International which is handling sales.
“It’s an honor to partner with the talented team at Shaftesbury on this bold, new premium drama, adding to Global’s robust original programming slate,” says Lisa Godfrey, Corus’ VP Original Content. “We were immediately drawn to the gripping storyline about the conspiracies surrounding the plane crash, and how the plot takes audiences through the investigation as we try to solve this mystery. With such a mass appeal premise, combined with a highly acclaimed award-winning cast, and exceptional creative team, we look forward to captivating audiences in 2019.”
Shaftesbury chairman and CEO Christina Jennings adds: “One of the thrills of Departure is that the wheel of suspects never stops spinning, right until the final moment. It’s an exciting race against time for these characters, brilliantly created by Vincent Shiao and Malcolm MacRury – I can’t wait to see them brought to life by our incredible cast led by Archie Panjabi and Christopher Plummer. Delighted to be in business with Corus, Starlings, and Red Arrow Studios International on this remarkable series.”
Departure is executive produced by Jennings, Scott Garvie, MacRury, and T.J. Scott. Shiao is co-executive producer; Patrick Cassavetti, Tina Grewal are producers, with Julie Lacey serving as Shaftesbury’s producer. For Corus, Kathleen Meek is production executive; Rachel Nelson is Director, Original Content, Drama, Kids and Factual; Godfrey is VP Original Content. Chris Philip and Karine Martin are executive producers for Starlings Television; Henrik Pabst and Carlo Dusi are executive producers for Red Arrow Studios International.