ITV has commissioned four-part crime thriller DI Ray, written and created by Maya Sondhi and produced by Jed Mercurio’s HTM Television.

Set in Birmingham, DI Ray introduces us to Leicester-born Rachita, played by Parminder Nagra. Ray is a police officer who takes on a case that forces her to confront a lifelong personal conflict between her British identity and her South Asian heritage.

The series is being filmed in the Midlands this autumn.

Jed Mercurio (Line of Duty, Bodyguard) will executive produce, alongside Madonna Baptiste (The Stranger, Black Mirror, Stephen). It will be directed by Alex Pillai (Bridgerton, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Riverdale) and produced by Charlotte Surtees (Code 404, Two Weeks to Live, Dave Allen At Peace).

Screenwriter Maya Sondhi says: “This is a project which is deeply personal for me as a British Asian Brummie woman. It’s only in the past 10 years or so I’ve really been able to truly embrace my heritage. So much of this show is my story and in telling it honestly, I hope others from all different backgrounds will relate.”

The series has been commissioned for ITV by Head of Drama Polly Hill. “It’s always hard to find a fresh detective, but it feels we have with Rachita Ray,” says Hill.

Jed Mercurio adds, “DI Ray is first and foremost a thriller, while Maya’s writing poses complex and timely questions about the nature of personal ethnic identity.”

Rachita achieves the promotion she’s been waiting for when she’s asked to join a homicide investigation. However, on her first day she’s told the murder to which she’s been assigned is a ‘Culturally Specific Homicide.’ Rachita’s heart sinks – she suspects she’s a ‘token appointment’, chosen for her ethnicity rather than her ability.

Rachita sticks to the case, determined to both find the killer and call out the obvious biases her colleagues are bringing to the investigation. And it’s far from easy. The case isn’t a run-of-the-mill murder; it involves delving deep into the dangerous world of organised crime.

Rachita is more than up for the task, but what she didn’t count on is what this case stirs up inside her; the realisation that she’s been burying a personal identity crisis her whole life. Truth is, she’s had to work twice as hard as everyone else. It’s not that she doesn’t want to be Indian, it’s just that it would have been easier if she were white.

DI Ray tracks a murder investigation whilst exploring the emotive subject of racism in the workplace. It asks difficult questions about what it’s like to be British but feel ‘other.’ And it does so whilst taking viewers through the murky underworld of Birmingham and beyond.

The series will be distributed globally by Hat Trick International and Anton Corp.



Jon Creamer

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