Scottish actor Richard Rankin (Outlander; The Last Kingdom) is set to play Edinburgh detective John Rebus in a new six-part series based on the acclaimed crime novels by Ian Rankin, which will go out on Scandinavian streamer Viaplay.
Screenwriter Gregory Burke (Entebbe ’71) will adapt Rankin’s work for the screen. Eleventh Hour Films is producing the series for Viaplay. Niall MacCormick (Wallander) will direct the series, which starts shooting in Scotland next month and will stream on Viaplay in 2024. The show marks Viaplay’s first U.K. drama commission.
Rankin, best known for his role as Roger Wakefield in Starz’ long-running Outlander, also appeared in the thrillers Trust Me and The Replacement, the drama series Thirteen and The Syndicate and as a guest star in political thriller American Odyssey.
The Rebus novels have been adapted for TV before, with four seasons of Rebus airing Britain’s ITV between 2000 and 2007. John Hannah played Inspector Rebus in the first series, before being replaced by Ken Stott for the next three. Rankin’s Inspector Rebus novels have sold more than 30 million copies and been translated into 36 languages.
“I’m thrilled to be taking on the role of Rebus,” said Rankin, who is no relation to the books’ author. “I’m a big fan of the series and Sir Ian Rankin. I feel very lucky to be given the honour of bringing such an iconic Scottish character back to TV screens and will give all I have to do it justice.”
Viaplay’s new version will follow the 40-year-old police detective John Rebus (Rankin), who finds himself at a psychological crossroads following an altercation with an infamous Edinburgh gangster. At odds with a job increasingly driven by corporate technocrats, involved in a toxic affair he knows he needs to end, and all but supplanted in his daughter’s life by his ex-wife’s wealthy new husband, Rebus begins to wonder if he still has a role to play — either as a family man or a police officer — in a world of divisive politics and national discord.
Jill Green, Paula Cuddy and Eve Gutierrez are executive producers for Eleventh Hour Films on Rebus, with Isabelle Hultén and Tomas Axelsson executive producing for Viaplay Group, with Ian Rankin and Gregory Burke also on board as executive producers. Viaplay Content Distribution is handling global sales on the show.
Rebus is certain to be a centerpiece of Viaplay’s new U.K. streaming service, which launched in November 2022.
Further cast details on the series be announced shortly. Richard Rankin is represented by Independent Talent.