BBC’s new television drama series The Turkish Detective starts on 7 July

Get ready for The Turkish Detective – a brand new English/Turkish crime thriller that’s set in modern-day Istanbul and stars Haluk Bilginer.

Airing on BBC 2, the eight-part drama is based on a series of bestselling novels by British writer Barbara Nadel, whose central character is Inspector Çetin İkmen, a chain-smoking, hard-drinking detective in the Istanbul police force.

Since penning her first book on Inspector İkmen, Belshazzar’s Daughter (1999), Nadel has gone on to writer a further 25 Inspector İkmen mysteries, including her latest, The Darkest Night, which was released in May of this year. The award-winning books have been translated into multiple languages helping them acquire a global fanbase.

The television adaptation of The Turkish Detective casts Haluk Bilginer (Baba, Şahsiyet, Kış Uykusu, Eastenders) in the lead role as DI İkmen. He is supported by Ethan Kai (Killing Eve) as DI Mehmet Süleyman, and Yasemin Kay Allen (Elif, Merhamet), who plays Detective Ayşe Farsakoğlu.

Capturing the actions is renowned Turkish production company Ay Yapım. The Istanbul-headquartered company is behind numerous Turkish blockbuster television series, such as Yaprak Dökümü, Ezel, Fatmagül’ün Suçu Ne?, and more recently, Şahsiyet, which won Haluk Bilginer an Emmy for Best Actor in 2019.

Earlier this year, the BBC announced that it had acquired The Turkish Detective from distributor Paramount Global Content Distribution for BBC iPlayer and television.

The television adaptation is written and executive produced by Ben Schiffer (Skins) and directed by Niels Arden Oplev (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), who also executive produces.

Speaking on the news that the new drama would be broadcast on the BBC, Ben Schiffer said: “From the moment I opened Barbara Nadel’s novel, I fell in love with the unique, iconic character of Inspector İkmen.

“A beacon of hope and humour in a dark, difficult world, I’m so delighted that he and our show – a blend of emotionally-charged mystery and family drama – has found a home at the BBC.”

DI Çetin İkmen (Haluk Bilginer) in The Turkish Detective. Image © BBC / Paramount


Sue Deeks, Head of BBC Programme Acquisition, said back in May: “Not only does The Turkish Detective provide a compelling, multi-layered crime thriller, but is set in stunning Istanbul, a vibrant contemporary city that also reflects the cultural influences of a rich and varied historical past – it’s a truly fascinating combination.”

The Executive Producers for the series also include Ay Yapım CEO Kerem Çatay and Paramount’s Creative Director Claire Sowerby-Sheppard.

The drama will make its UK debut on BBC 2 at 9pm on Sunday, 7 July and will run weekly, with all episodes available on iPlayer after their television broadcast.

Click here to see the trailer for The Turkish Detective.


Main image, top, The Turkish Detective s1 with (L-R): detective Ayşe Farsakoğlu (Yasemin Kay Allen), DI Çetin İkmen (Haluk Bilginer), and DI Mehmet Suleyman (Ethan Kai) on BBC Two. Image © BBC / Paramount / Steve Schofield