(April 4, 2017 Toronto, ON) The CBC has announced production of a new series from Shaftesbury, the company that has given us, among other things, 11 seasons of Murdoch Mysteries. Like Murdoch, Frankie Drake is a crime series and is set in the past. In Toronto in the 1920s to be exact. Lauren Lee Smith, pictured below at the 2017 Canadian Screen Awards, stars as Frankie Drake, Toronto’s only female private detective. Created by Murdoch Mysteries writers Carol Hay and Michelle Ricci, Frankie Drake will begin production this summer and is scheduled to launch in the fall of 2017.
“Frankie Drake is a forward-thinking drama about a woman ahead of her time, challenging convention and the status quo during a period of sweeping change, not unlike our own times,” said Sally Catto, general manager, programming, CBC. “The Shaftesbury team is known for their success delivering a winning combination of history that mirrors contemporary themes and thrilling mystery brought to life by characters that audiences want to return to week after week, and we are excited to partner with them once again on this female-driven series.”
Frankie Drake is detective fiction with a twist. A double twist in a way. The obvious fact is this detective is a woman, but — and this is the second twist — she uses her gender as her biggest advantage. Who would have thought a woman could be a detective? She has a knack for solving cases but she’s no cop – her brand of justice doesn’t always follow the law. Along with her partner Trudy, Frankie and the Drake Detective Agency take on cases of all shapes and sizes. From airplanes and booze running to American G-men, Communists and union busters, Frankie’s fearless sense of adventure gets her into all kinds of trouble, but she always manages to find her way out. In a time of change and hopefulness, Frankie is a woman ahead of everyone. She’s a new detective for a new world. But is the world ready for her?
Lauren Lee Smith was discovered in Vancouver when she was cast on the hit Showtime series, The L Word. She seamlessly transitioned to films by co-starring in Terry Zwigoff’s film, Art School Confidential for Sony Classics, opposite Max Minghella. She also co-starred as Casey Affleck’s partnerin The Last Kiss, directed by Tony Goldwyn. She went on to receive critical praise and attention from her lead performance as an outwardly sexually spirited woman in the independent film, Lie with Me. More recently, Smith worked alongside Laurence Fishburne on the hugely successful CBS series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and was the lead on the Canadian crime series The Listener for which she was nominated for Best Performance by a Lead Actress at the 2011 Gemini Awards for her brilliant work. In 2009 she signed on to the Terry Miles’ directed feature, A Night For Dying Tigers alongside Jennifer Beals and in 2012 she teamed up with Terry Miles again this time not only starring in but producing the feature Cinemanovels. Her next feature is a co-starring role opposite Michael Shannon in Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water. She is pictured at the 2017 Canadian Screen Awards where she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Maggie Lawson in CBC’s This Life.
“Frankie Drake is a real labour of love for us,” said Christina Jennings, chairman and CEO, Shaftesbury. “It is a story about a spirited woman, breaking barriers and calling the shots, in a world that might not be ready for her. This is a one-hour detective series, set in the 20s – but this is not the roaring 20s we have seen onscreen before. We are so pleased to bring this show to life, in partnership with our friends at the CBC, and with a creative team who have been part of our Shaftesbury family for many of our hit series. And of course – what a treat to work with the wonderful Lauren Lee Smith again. I can’t wait for the world to meet Frankie Drake.”
Frankie Drake is developed and produced by Shaftesbury with the participation of the Canada Media Fund, the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit, and the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit. Shaftesbury Sales Company holds worldwide distribution rights for the series. Created by Carol Hay and Michelle Ricci, who also serve as executive producers, Frankie Drake is executive produced by Christina Jennings, Scott Garvie and Cal Coons, who also serves as showrunner. The series is produced by Jonathan Hackett and Julie Lacey.