ITV Karen Pirie: Release date, full cast list and everything you need to know

The new ITV drama has the same producers as hit shows Line of Duty and Bodyguard.

ITV’s new drama, Karen Pirie, was filmed in St Andrews and the title-character is Glaswegian.

The show will follow DS Karen Pirie as she reopens an unsolved 1996 murder case due to its popularity on a provocative true-crime podcast.

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DS Karen Pirie is a young and fearless Scottish investigator with a quick mouth and tenacious desire for the truth.

The new crime drama 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 one of her other books inspired the ITV crime drama, Wire in the Blood.

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How to watch Karen Pirie

The first episode of Karen Pirie airs on ITV at 8pm until 10pm on September 25.

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The following two episodes will then air weekly while all three will also be available on the ITV Hub straight after the first has aired.

Cast list

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Outlander star Lauren Lyle takes the lead role of Karen Pirie in the new ITV drama series.

The Scottish actress also starred in the BBC drama, ‘Vigil’, as well as the 2018 film ‘Tell It to the Bees’.

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Lyle explained how honoured she felt to play a young female detective.

She said: “There aren’t many female detectives on TV, and the ones that do exist are all much older.

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“I didn’t realise until I started doing all my research that you could be this young in that job, I never thought I’d get the chance to do it yet.”

Lauren Lyle stars in Karen Pirie
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Chris Jenks stars as DC Jason Murray, Karen Pirie’s right hand man. You may recognise him from the Netflix series ‘Sex Education’ where he played Steve Morley.

Jenks explained Karen Pirie provides a young person’s perspective which is rare for police dramas.

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He said: “There are some really nice scenes between Karen and her best mate River, which give a sense of her social life and her background.

“That’s something you don’t necessarily see in other police dramas that are more work focussed, but it means you get a real feel for Karen as a person and fall in love with her through the series.”

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He also described how much he liked filming in Scotland: “I’d never been to St Andrews before, I loved it, it’s a really beautiful place with a nice beach and really nice macaroni cheese toasties!

“I loved being up there. The Scottish scenery really gives the drama a nice feeling and the whole series is a great advert for Scotland.”

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The new ITV drama also stars:

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  • Emer Kenny (Harlots) – Plays River Wilde
  • Zach Wyatt (Blithe Spirit) – Plays DS Phil Parhatka
  • Michael Schaeffer (The Salisbury Poisonings) – Plays Tom ‘Weird’ Mackie
  • Ariyon Bakare (His Dark Materials) – Plays Alex Gilbey
  • Alex Newman (Unforgotten) – Plays Sigmund ‘Ziggy’ Malkiewicz
  • Rosie Duff (Casualty) – Played by Anna Russell-Martin
  • John Lumsden (Pancake) – Plays young Sigmund ‘Ziggy’ Malkiewicz
  • Jack Hesketh (Besa) – Plays young Tom ‘Weird’ Mackie
  • Buom Tihngang (Death In Paradise) – Plays young Alex Gilbey
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What’s Karen Pirie about?

The series is based on Val McDermid’s first Karen Pirie novel The Distant Echo.

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In the first episode, Karen is tasked with reopening an historic murder investigation that has been the subject of a provocative true crime podcast.

Back in 1996, teenager Rosie Duff was found assaulted, stabbed and left for dead, and suspicion fell on three drunken students.

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The three boys were discovered at the scene of the crime and claimed to have found her body on the way back from a party.

But with a lack of forensic evidence, no charges were brought and the police investigation floundered.

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When Karen revisits the case 25 years on, complications within the investigation grow.

It is revealed that Rosie harboured a long-held family secret that could potentially unlock the mysteries surrounding the case.

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When new evidence emerges implicating one of the students, Karen hunts down the suspect to get their version of the story.