It's no secret that ITV is home to some of the best detective show's around and one new crime-fighter has joined their ranks - Karen Pirie.


Created by Val McDermid for her hugely popular series of books, Karen is a young DS who first appeared in The Distant Echo, which has now been adapted across a three-part series for the broadcaster.

The series stars Lauren Lyle, and follows DS Pirie as she reopens the investigation into a 1996 murder case due to the popularity of a provocative true-crime podcast.

The show has been keeping audiences enthralled for the past couple of weeks, with viewers desperate to know the identity of the killer - as well as just how and why they committed the heinous crime.

Each episode runs for a full two hours and the series also stars Chris Jenks, Zach Wyatt and Emer Kenny amongst others, with the latter also on writing duties for the series.

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Two episodes have now aired on ITV, but when did the show start airing and when does it finish? Read on for everything you need to know about Karen Pirie.

Karen Pirie release date

Lauren Lyle as DS Karen Pirie.
Lauren Lyle as DS Karen Pirie. ITV

Karen Pirie started on ITV on Sunday 25th September at 8pm, with the first episode running for two hours until 10pm.

Future episodes have since aired weekly at 8pm, with the finale set to air on Sunday 9th October. All three also became available on the ITV Hub straight after the first aired.

Which book is Karen Pirie based on?

Crime author Val McDermid
Val McDermid David Levenson/Getty Images

The show is based on The Distant Echo by Val McDermid, the first book in her long-running Karen Pirie series.

McDermid's novels have sold 17 million copies worldwide, and this isn't the first time they've been adapted for the small screen. Her Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series were used as the basis for ITV crime drama Wire in the Blood.

What is Karen Pirie about?

Lauren Lyle as DS Karen Pirie and Chris Jenks as DC Jason Murray.
Lauren Lyle as DS Karen Pirie and Chris Jenks as DC Jason Murray. ITV

The Karen Pirie novels follow a young Scottish detective in the Scottish university town of St. Andrew's. We're told: "True to Val McDermid’s iconic character, DS Karen Pirie is a young and fearless Scottish investigator with a quick mouth and tenacious desire for the truth."

The series, which filmed in Scotland, will see Pirie reopen the investigation into a 1996 murder case following the popularity of a provocative true-crime podcast. No charges were made over the death of teenager Rosie Duff, despite suspicion falling on the three drunken students who claimed to have found her body.

Twenty-five years later, Karen will see if these men know more than they previously let on, uncover several flaws in the initial investigation and find resistance from the police force itself from the officers who led the original inquiry.

Who is in the Karen Pirie cast?

Zach Wyatt as DS Phil Parhatka
Zach Wyatt as DS Phil Parhatka. ITV

The eponymous character will be played by Outlander's Lauren Lyle, who was "completely overjoyed" to be starring in the series.

Lyle said: "The world Emer has created using the backbone of Val McDermid's much loved books is electrifying and hooked me immediately. I couldn't ask for a more creative, supportive and energetic team to be joining."

Starring alongside Lyle, are Sex Education's Chris Jenks as Jason ‘Mint’ Murray, Zach Wyatt (Blithe Spirit) as DS Phil Parhatka, Michael Schaeffer (The Salisbury Poisonings) as Tom ‘Weird’ Mackie senior, Ariyon Bakare (His Dark Materials) as Alex Gilbey senior and Alec Newman (Unforgotten) as Sigmund ‘Ziggy’ Malkiewicz senior.

Here's a full list of the cast for Karen Pirie:

  • Lauren Lyle plays DS Karen Pirie
  • Chris Jenks plays DC Jason Murray
  • Zach Wyatt plays DS Phil Parhatka
  • Jhon Lumsden plays Ziggy Jnr
  • Jack Hesketh plays Weird Jnr
  • Buom Tihngang plays Alex Jnr
  • Alex Newman plays Ziggy Snr
  • Michael Sheffer plays Weird Snr
  • Ariyon Bakare plays Alex Snr
  • Bobby Rainsbury plays Grace Galloway
  • Anna Russell-Martin plays Rosie Duff
  • Gilly Gilchrist plays DI Barney MacLennan
  • Kevin Mains plays DI Jimmy Lawson Jnr
  • Stuart Bowman plays Chief Supt Lawson Snr
  • Gemma McElhinney plays PC Janice Hogg
  • Emer Kenny plays River Wilde
  • Rakhee Thakrar plays Bel Richmond
  • Steve John Shepherd plays DI Simon Lees

Who is adapting Karen Pirie?

Emer Kenny as River Wilde.
Emer Kenny as River Wilde. ITV

EastEnders writer and actress Emer Kenny has penned the adaptation, which comes from the producers of Bodyguard and Line of Duty.

Kenny said: "From the moment I read that Karen Pirie orders a Bacardi Breezer as her after-work drink (other brands of alco-pop are available), I knew that she was the detective for me. Val [McDermid] is the queen of crime for good reason and I’m honoured to be bringing her creation to a TV audience."

Kenny also stars in the series as River Wilde.

Karen Pirie trailer

You can watch the full trailer for Karen Pirie right here now.

Karen Pirie started airing on Sunday 25th September at 8pm on ITV and ITV Hub. You can also get a 30-day free trial of ITV Hub+ on Amazon Prime Video here.

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