It marks the third original drama from the broadcaster following We Hunt Together, which was recently picked up by Showtime, and Red Production Company’s Traces.
The six-part series, which is described as Spooks meets The Good Wife, follows Laura Simmonds and her Barcelona Consul colleague and friend Alba Ortiz as they fight to protect British nationals who find themselves in trouble in the Catalan city. Mixing the roles of lawyer, counsellor and cop, Laura and Alba’s diplomatic skills are stretched to the limit by the stream of cases that walk through the Consul’s doors.
The series opens on the unexplained death of a young British barman working around Barcelona’s notorious marina. While Laura supports the boy’s angry father, neither the Spanish police nor the Foreign Office are keen to pursue a murder enquiry. As Laura and Alba uncover the events surrounding the barman’s death, they discover links not only to organised crime, but also to the British security services. Laura’s quest for justice places her in real jeopardy, as she threatens to expose secrets that the British and Spanish will go to any lengths to keep hidden.
Casting and director will be announced soon with the series set to air in 2021. Production will start when safely able to do so.
The series is exec produced by World Productions’ Simon Heath, UKTV’s drama commissioner Philippa Collie Cousins and BBC Studios director of drama Martin Rakusen.
Ben Richards said, “I’m delighted to be working with UKTV on The Diplomat – a show that I think will suit their obvious ambition for innovative and exciting new drama. In The Diplomat I wanted to show a character who both loves her job and – supported by a team of funny and engaging characters – performs it beyond the call of duty. From helping Britons in distress to challenging the shady operations of international mafias, Laura Simmonds has to deal with it all.”
Philippa Collie Cousins added, “Laura and Alba are contrasting professional working women dealing with murder, abductions and organised crime alongside managing their careers and love lives while avoiding diplomatic hierarchies and maintaining a tight friendship. It is The Good Wife meets Spooks for 2021, a feisty workplace drama set in Barcelona with cracking dialogue, abundant crime and a surprising series arc. Television to stay in for by the very talented Ben Richards. I am very excited to work with such an expert lead writer as Ben, but equally excited to add talented up and coming writers to the writing team.”
Simon Heath said, “We’re delighted to be working for the first time with Philippa, Emma, the UKTV team and BBC Studios Distribution to bring to the screen Ben Richards’ smart and original take on Britain’s complicated relationship with Spain’s most visited city.”
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.