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Show of the week: Crossing Lines

Of all the international scripted coproductions out there, Crossing Lines might truly represent the most ‘global’ of the lot. Everything from locations to cast to coproduction partners are from different corners of the world and perhaps that’s why the show has found carriage on some of the world’s top free-to-air broadcasters.

The series sees William Fichtner playing former NYPD officer Carl Hickman, who is charged with heading up a special crimes unit based at The Hague in the Netherlands that works across Europe’s country boundaries to crack cases. His team comprise of experts from Italy, Germany, France and Northern Ireland. Together, they make a formidable, though Hickman is dealing with numerous demons that emerged after injury ended his policing career in the Big Apple.

“In Europe, we do not have boundaries any more and that has been a real problem in terms of controlling crime and the growth of organised crime. The question is how do you control it?” Rola Bauer, founder of lead producer Tandem Communications and the project’s co-originator, says of the concept.

Bauer, who’s Tandem group is best known for international miniseries, quips she decided to move into procedural territory because “after doing eight hours of World Without End and eight of Pillars of the Earth in 12th and 14th century England, we wanted to do something that would bring us into the 21st Century”.

She says that the market for period miniseries has reached a “saturation point” following the success of her own productions and others such as Vikings and The Bible: “To stay ahead, we decided to pause that and then next step was how to create something in a different format.”

After developing an initial concept based around Europe’s loose borders and the growth of continent-wide crime, Bauer approached Criminal Minds creator Ed Bernero to develop the project further. He accepted the offer and Crossing Lines was born.

The 10x60mins series first debuted on TF1 in France and Sony Pictures Television-owned male network AXN in 81 territories earlier this year and TF1 has ordered a second run. Most of the storylines make for two-parters, which makes the show unique in procedural terms.

It has huge star power pull with Fichtner (Prison Break) leading the line and Donald Sutherland (M*A*S*H, The Hunger Games) as a high-ranking member of the International Criminal Court. Italian actress Gabriella Pession (Wilfred) is among the other leads.

Simon Morris, chief marketing officer at Amazon-owned UK streaming service Lovefilm, which is the show’s most recent buyer, sums up Crossing Lines‘ appeal as, “quality drama, procedural and with an international feel. It’s that premium look, production and cast that we need”.

The show: Crossing Lines

The producer: Tandem Communications, Bernero Productions, TF1 Productions, Sony Pictures Television, Stillking Films

The broadcaster: TF1 (France), AXN (various), Rai 2 (Italy), NBC (US), Sat.1 (Germany), Lovefilm (UK)

The distributor: Tandem Communications

The concept: William Fichtner plays a beat down ex-US cop leading an international special crime unit working across Europe