ITV has commissioned two-part drama Code of a Killer, which tells the extraordinary true story of Alec Jeffreys’ discovery of DNA fingerprinting and its first use by Detective David Baker in catching a double murderer.
Produced by Line of Duty makers World Productions, Code of a Killer will tell the story of how Jeffreys’ science and Baker’s investigative foresight created the single biggest leap in the history of criminal investigation.
David Threlfall takes the role of Detective David Baker who in 1984 headed up an investigation into the brutal murders of two Leicestershire schoolgirls, Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth. Only three miles away, Alec Jeffreys was a young scientist who had unlocked a remarkable technique to read each individual’s unique DNA fingerprint. Certain the murderer was local, Baker approached Jeffreys to use his new science as a way to solve the murders. What followed was the first ever DNA manhunt, and the blood testing of over five thousand men before the killer was caught.
Code of a Killer has been developed and written with the knowledge and input of retired professor Sir Alec Jeffreys and former Detective Chief Superintendent David Baker.
ITV’s Director of Drama Steve November and Controller of Drama Victoria Fea have commissioned the drama.
“Code of a Killer is a gripping real life story which uncovers how DNA fingerprinting was discovered and helped the police crack a particularly difficult murder investigation. It’s a story that devastated the families of the two young schoolgirls and will be handled sensitively and respectfully by World Productions.”
The drama is written by Michael Crompton (Kidnap & Ransom) and will be directed by James Strong (Broadchurch, United) produced by Priscilla Parish (Line of Duty) and executive produced by Simon Heath (Line of Duty, The Great Train Robbery) on behalf of World Productions (Line of Duty).
Executive Producer Simon Heath said: “Code of a Killer will be a testament to the pioneering science of Alec Jeffreys and how, with David Baker’s foresight and determination, it brought justice for two grieving families, changing the course of modern criminal investigation forever.”
Filming is due to begin in late September 2014.