Peaky Blinders star Helen McCrory to play crusading lawyer in new ITV drama Fearless

New character Emma Blunt sees the actress cast as a solicitor investigating the killing of a schoolgirl

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Helen McCrory is to play a lawyer trying to free a man she thinks was wrongly convicted of killing a schoolgirl in new ITV drama Fearless.

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The Peaky Blinders star will play Emma Blunt in the six-part legal thriller which has been written by Homeland writer Patrick Harbinson.

In the drama her character investigates the killing of a schoolgirl in East Anglia and is trying to free the man she thinks was wrongly convicted of the crime.

“As she digs ever deeper into the case, she begins to sense powerful forces, in the police and the intelligence services at home and abroad, who want to stop her uncovering the truth,” said ITV.

Patrick Harbinson added that the drama was inspired by the example of real-life crusading lawyers such as Gareth Peirce and Helena Kennedy.

“Fearless is a legal thriller,” added the writer who is a co-executive producer of Homeland, the drama which starred McCrory’s real-life partner Damian Lewis. “But one that’s written in the crash zone where law and politics collide.

“Much of the work I’ve done in America in the last ten years (24, Person of Interest, Homeland) has been about life in the post 9/11 (and post 7/7) world. The so-called War on Terror has put serious stress on the ordinary workings of the law. National security justifies all sorts of police and state over-reach – and the great majority of us are prepared to accept this. So I wanted to create a character who challenges these assumptions, who fights for those outside the normal run of society, and who is uncompromising, difficult, and completely indifferent to unpopularity and danger.  The result was Emma Blunt and Fearless…”

He added that Emma Blunt was a “complex and contradictory character, and I am incredibly lucky to have someone of Helen’s wit, warmth and intelligence bringing her to life”. 

McCrory said:  “When l was at drama school l was inspired by Prime Suspect, watching as Britain led the way in creating strong female characters to lead their dramas. l’m thrilled to be leading ITV’s new drama – it’s a thriller that starts deceptively small, then begins crossing borders to different cultures and continents.  l knew and admired Patrick Harbinson’s writing for Homeland, and Pete Travis and l have worked together before – that shorthand is so important on such a big project with ambitions running high. I can’t wait to start filming.”

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Filming will begin in London and East Anglia next month. The series is being produced by Mammoth Screen, the independent production company behind Poldark, Aidan Turner Agatha Christie drama And Then There Were None and the upcoming Jenna Coleman drama Victoria.