UK broadcaster Alibi, which is operated by Discovery and BBC-backed UKTV, is moving into original commissioning for the first time with a Happy Valley-meets-Silent Witness-esque crime drama. Traces is produced by Happy Valley and Safe producer Red Production Company.
The drama is a six-part series written by Scott & Bailey and This Life writer Amelia Bullmore based on an original idea from crime writer Val McDermid, whose Hill/Jordan books were turned into hit crime drama Wire in the Blood.
It is the first original scripted drama for Alibi, which airs series such as Quantico and repeats of Luther. Red’s Nicola Shindler is exec producing.
Traces is set in Scotland and explores the world of SIFA, the Scottish Institute of Forensic Science. The drama follows female characters – Emma Hedges, Prof. Sarah Gordon and Prof. Kathy Torrance – who will use the rigors of forensics to uncover the truth about an unsolved murder case. When 23-year-old Emma Hedges returns to Scotland to take up a new position as a lab assistant at SIFA, she signs up to an online course that teaches the principles of forensic science. But she soon discovers that the fictitious case study has a strikingly similar and shocking link to her past. As Emma’s sleuthing takes her into darker corners and unlocks more and more secrets, it becomes clear that she should trust no one. It will be Sarah and Kathy’s exacting minds that reward Emma’s faith in the science that has fueled her imagination and ultimately bring a killer to justice.
The series was commissioned by UKTV drama commissioner Philippa Collie Cousins, head of scripted Pete Thornton, director of commissioning Richard Watsham and Drama and Lifestyle general manager Adrian Wills. Cousins will also exec produce alongside Liam Keelan, BBC Studios Scripted Portfolio Director, which will sell globally.
The series will air later this year with casting announced over the coming months.
Cousins said, “When the idea came over from Red it genuinely made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. The fantastic writing talent in Amelia Bullmore coupled with Nicola Shindler and the team at Red will make Alibi’s first ever drama commission something really quite special. With strong female characters this is Happy Valley meets Silent Witness, a dark and exciting show that I can’t wait for us to get cracking on.”
Shindler said, “I am really excited to be working with UKTV bringing Amelia’s compelling and original scripts to life. From the brilliant mind of Val McDermid this is a mystery I want the Alibi audience to find totally addictive.”
Keelan added, “Traces is exactly the type of captivating British crime thriller that we like to offer audiences internationally. It’s fresh and suspenseful, with a brilliant writing and production talent behind it. We are thrilled to be involved in this ground-breaking commission for UKTV – hopefully the first of many more projects to come. It’s great to be working with Nicola Shindler, and the team at Red again.”