Murder on the Home Front
Published: Mon 29 Apr 2013
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Visceral, detailed, blackly comic and hugely entertaining crime drama set in the dead centre of the birth of modern forensics - the London Blitz of World War II.
Based on the memoirs of Molly Lefebure, the secretary to the Home Office Pathologist, Keith Simpson, this addictive drama will show a side of this much exploited period not often seen in television drama.
The increased body count of the war allowed the development of forensics, as we know them today. But this is a world pre DNA profiling and consequently far more inventive, contentious and taboo breaking. If you thought that post CSI, Waking the Dead and Silent Witness audiences knew everything thing there was to know about forensics - then think again.
When young women are found murdered DI Freddy Wilkins believes the obvious suspect is the vulnerable loner, Wilfred Ziegler as a result of the swastikas carved on the victims’ tongues. Dr Lennox Collins the passionate and brilliant Home Office Pathologist and Molly Cooper, his vivacious young secretary have their doubts and employ ground breaking forensic techniques to ensure the right man is brought to justice. However, Lennox soon learns that not only is he fighting a battle to modernise the way in which crimes are solved, but he’s also clashing with a government who will go to any lengths to ensure the country’s morale is sustained – even cover up a murder. Despite its dark themes this is a vibrant, life affirming drama full of characters loving life.
Patrick Kennedy (Boardwalk Empire, Parade’s End) and Tamzin Merchant (Jane Eyre, The Tudors) head up a cast that includes James Fleet (Four Weddings and a Funeral, The Vicar of Dibley) and Emerald Fennell (Any Human Heart, Anna Karenina) in the new crime drama, Murder on the Home Front for ITV. It is loosely based on the memoirs of Molly Lefebure, who was secretary during the Second World War to the Home Office Pathologist and pioneer of modern forensics, Keith Simpson.
Set during the London Blitz of 1940, Murder on the Home Front, sheds a different light on the everyday horrors of living in a city where death can visit at any moment. Vibrant, defiant and energetic this is a world of people living life for the moment. It is also a world where criminals can use the blackout and devastation to hide their darkest activities. As the Luftwaffe drop their bombs, below people are literally getting away with murder.
Dr Lennox Collins (Patrick Kennedy) is a pathologist new to murder cases, obsessed with pursuing the truth through all means available. He is often at the cutting edge of new thinking in pathology from chemical tests to the controversial inclusion of the study of the psyche. This often pits him against his superiors and in particular the highly respected Professor Henry Stephens (James Fleet).
Molly Cooper (Tamzin Merchant) is not only the first secretary to a pathologist she is the first woman allowed into a very male world. All Lennox knows is that she has a strong stomach, 60 words a minute and a keen brain. When together they discover a serial killer at large under cover of the Blitz, Lennox has his work cut out convincing his unsympathetic boss to have faith in his methods and theories.
The novel approach of preserving a crime scene, treating every bit of physical evidence as the key to a break-through and not just relying on intuition, may help Lennox and Molly convince DI Freddy Wilkins (played by David Sturzaker) that they are about to hang the wrong man.
Executive Producer, Sally Woodward Gentle says, “With Geoffrey Sax directing Davy Kane’s witty and fast paced script we hope to depict London in the Blitz as a city living life on the edge.”
Director of Drama ITV, Laura Mackie says, "We're delighted to commission Murder On The Home Front to add to ITV's portfolio of new drama. Davy Kane's script shines a compelling light on early forensic investigations set against the backdrop of the Blitz"
Murder On The Home Front is produced by Christopher Hall, (The Last Weekend, Hidden), directed by Geoffrey Sax (Storm Breaker, White Noise), and executive produced by Gareth Neame and Sally Woodward Gentle.
Carnival Films is a division of NBCUniversal International Television Production.