Australia’s Goalpost Pictures and South Africa’s Quizzical Pictures are set to co-produce the series Detective Cooper for South African broadcaster M-Net. The series will be adapted from the multi-award-winning Detective Emmanuel Cooper book “A Beautiful Place to Die” by Australian / South African writer Malla Nunn.

Goalpost Pictures are the producers of the worldwide hit The Invisible Man and the acclaimed television series Cleverman, while Quizzical Pictures are producers of the Peabody Award-winning Intersexions.

The story centres on a white detective in apartheid-era South Africa with a dangerous secret: he is in fact mixed race. Malla Nunn, whose latest novel recently won the LA Book Prize for YA Literature, is story editor on the production.

LA-based British/Australian writer James McNamara, who was twice named ‘international rising star’ by BAFTA LA, is creating the series for television, in partnership with South African Writer Amy Jephta (Ellen, The Ellen Pakkies Story). An Oxford PhD in English Literature, he also lectures in Film and Media Studies at UC Santa Barbara and is a contributing writer to publications including The New York Times and The Washington Post. Sarah Christie is development producer for Goalpost.

“M-Net is excited to partner with Quizzical and Goalpost Pictures on the production of Detective Cooper. Set against the volatile backdrop of the fifties in South Africa, Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper faces multi-layered challenges as he, alongside colleagues Constable Shabalala and Doctor Zweigman, solves mysterious crimes. We knew we wanted to be part of this gripping world Nunn created which is so authentically intriguing and suspenseful; it aligns perfectly with our strategic vision to be Africa’s most loved storyteller,” says Nkateko Mabaso, M-Net Group Executive: Programming.

Goalpost’s Kylie du Fresne adds: “This is a show that calls for passionate South African partners and Goalpost couldn’t be happier to be joining with Quizzical and M-Net to adapt these terrific novels for television. The morally ambiguous characters and drama driven by murder, passion and corruption – set against a fractured, racially divided nation – will make for compelling viewing.”

Quizzical’s Nimrod Geva, who will Executive Produce with Goalpost’s Kylie du Fresne and Rosemary Blight, said: “Quizzical Pictures is thrilled to be joining such great collaborators on telling a powerful, engrossing story with surprising relevance to our own time. Audiences will immediately be pulled into the fascinating contradictions of apartheid-era South Africa: from secret identities at smoky jazz clubs to Nazi ties and sexual deviance in deceptively quaint towns.”

The series is being developed with the generous support of Screen Australia. No Australian broadcaster has yet been appointed.