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Casting Coup: Maria Bello Lands Helen Mirren Role in NBC’s Prime Suspect Remake

Casting Coup: Maria Bello Lands Helen Mirren Role in NBC's Prime Suspect Remake

Thompson on Hollywood

After a rigorous search for the right actress to play the lead detective originated by Helen Mirren in NBC’s remake of the hit Brit series, Prime Suspect, Universal Media Studios and the team behind Friday Night Lights has hired veteran dramatic actress Maria Bello (The Cooler, A History of Violence, The Company Men), reports Variety. Bello is great casting: a smart, versatile, athletic actress, she has the authority to pull this off. This is a juicy sought-after role.

Executive producer Alexandra Cunningham’s script has Bello playing a lead detective in a male-dominated New York City precinct. Aren’t they all? In the original series, hard-drinking detective Tennyson struggled to manage the unruly men under her command. She earned their respect partly by being smarter and working harder and longer hours than anyone else, which put a strain on her marriage.

Cunninghan will exec produce with Friday Night Lights‘ Sarah Aubrey and Peter Berg (The Kingdom), who will also direct the pilot. With this group, I’m optimistic that this could turn out all right–even though TV is up to its ears in police procedurals, many of them starring women, from The Closer to Saving Grace and Mary McCormack-starrer In Plain Sight. In fact, these femme-dominated cable shows have proved robust audience-pullers for the female demo, as network’s Cagney and Lacey was in its day.

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Sorry, but I think this is a day late and a dollar short. It is bordering on tired now, with all due respect to Maria Bello.


I still maintain that The Closer was as close a remake of Prime Suspect as is really necessary.


I like the idea of the remake in this case. If I am not mistaken the first Prime Suspect came more than five years ago, and to me that’s enough time to pass down the torch and see what other people can do with the material. Also the inclusion of a serious actress such as Bello doesn’t hurt the ears at all.


I absolutely adore the original BBC mini-series, and became a fan of Helen Mirren because of her brilliant performance (s) . I just can’t see NBC replicating the creative success of the original , but I do respect the underrated Maria Bello ( she truly deserved an Oscar nomination for “History of Violence” ).


While I don’t relish the idea of this series being remade at ALL, I don’t hate the idea of Maria Bello taking this on. She’s definitely got the chops. It’s all going to come down to the writing (which is as it should be.)

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