Parminder Nagra, who shot to fame with the 2002 film Bend It Like Beckham, is set to headline the British series, DI Ray, commissioned by ITV, the channel announced on Monday.
The four-part crime thriller will revolve around a murder investigation and explore the subject of racism in the workplace. It will be filmed in the central part of England during the autumn of 2021.
Written and created by screenwriter Maya Sondhi, known for starring in Line of Duty, the show will follow the story of Leicester-born Detective Inspector Rachita Ray (Nagra), who takes on a case that forces her to confront a lifelong personal conflict between her British identity and her South Asian heritage.
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.’ She suspects she’s a ‘token appointment’, chosen for her ethnicity rather than her ability, according to ITV‘s statement.
The drama delves into the personal identity crisis that Rachita has buried her whole life. It asks difficult questions about what it’s like to be British but feel ‘other.’
It is to be noted that Nagra was born in Leicester, UK to immigrant Indian parents. “I am so looking forward to getting back to the UK after such a challenging time globally to be part of this exciting new project,” the actor said.
On creating DI Ray, Sondhi said, “This is a project which is deeply personal for me as a British Asian Brummie (a person from Birmingham) 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.”
DI Ray will be produced by Jed Mercurio’s HTM Television and Charlotte Surtees. Mercurio (Line of Duty, Bodyguard) will executive produce the series, alongside Madonna Baptiste (The Stranger, Black Mirror, Stephen). It will be directed by Alex Pillai, who has to his credit shows like Bridgerton, Sabrina, and Riverdale.