How is the Strike: Lethal White TV adaptation different to the book?

Tom Burke and Holliday Grainger bring JK Rowling's characters to the small screen in the upcoming Strike: Lethal White.

Lethal White

BBC One’s Strike: Lethal White is based on JK Rowling’s 2018 book of the same name (written under the pen name Robert Galbraith).


Fourth in the series of novels about protagonist Cormoran Strike, an ex-army private detective, Lethal White is probably the most acclaimed book of the series so far – featuring two parallel investigations, murder, seduction, and undercover investigations at the seat of British political power.

Here’s everything you need to know about the differences between the book and television adaptation of Lethal White.

How does Strike: Lethal White differ from the book?

As in the BBC’s previous adaptations of the first three books – The Cuckoo’s Calling, The Silkworm, and Career of Evil – the main plot remains faithful to the books, but, inevitably, some minor characters are lost, in particular among Strike’s family.

For example, his half-sister, Lucy, is far more prominent in the books – she’s the daughter of Strike’s mother, Leda, and another musician, and like Strike, she had a difficult upbringing.

Strike is particularly close to Lucy, and sometimes takes refuge in the ‘normal’ family life she’s carefully built with her husband and children.

Strike Tom Burke
Tom Burke as Strike in BBC One’s Strike: Lethal White.
BBC Pictures

Lucy has three young sons – Strike’s nephews – who also feature more prominently in the books, with Strike attending a children’s birthday party in one more comical scene.

However, screenwriter Tom Edge revealed in a press Q&A for Strike: Lethal White that one key scene from the book had been cut on its way to the screen. In Lethal White, he has to accompany his middle nephew to hospital, as Lucy and her husband are on holiday.

Speaking to and other press, Edge said, “There are always things [that don’t make the final cut]. There was lovely sequence in the book where Strike’s nephew is taken ill, and Strike and Robin reunite at his bedside, and that was tough to lose – but inevitably one of the challenges is reshaping the book to four hours, and it just didn’t have a home in it.

“But one of the kind of comforts is, as we move forward, things that haven’t used in previous books, sometimes they are sitting there as the perfect solution to something else you’re trying to do, so never feel like anything is lost forever. I’m just biding my time.”


Strike: Lethal White starts on Sunday 30th August 2020 at 9pm BBC One. Check out what else is on with our TV Guide.