The last time TV audiences saw Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott – detective fiction’s reigning will-they-won’t-they king and queen – they were hugging outside a fancy perfume shop. The private investigators had solved Troubled Blood’s cold case, exposed a serial killer, and had time left over for some belated birthday shopping for the newly divorced Robin.
An almost-kiss between them turned into a heartfelt hug and Strike’s declaration that Robin was his best friend, leaving them still tantalisingly apart but ready for their next adventure.
That next adventure is now on its way, confirms Deadline and the BBC. Filming is currently underway on The Ink Black Heart, with Tom Burke and Holliday Grainger back in the lead roles, and Tom Edge back as the show’s screenwriter and creator.
The next series of Strike (or C.B. Strike as it’s known outside the UK) is adapted from the sixth novel by Robert Galbraith – the pseudonym of Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling. The Ink Black Heart was published in August 2022 and tells the story of a web animator who becomes a client of Strike and Robin’s when she’s targeted by a campaign of online abuse that bleeds into the real world.
Joining Burke and Grainger in the cast this time will be David Westhead, Christian McKay, Emma Fielding, Tupele Dorgu and James Nelson-Joyce, alongside returning cast members Ruth Sheen as the detective agency’s office manager Pat, Jack Greenless as subcontractor Sam, Natasha O’Keeffe as Cormoran’s ex-fiancée Charlotte, and Caitlin Innes Edwards as Cormoran’s pal Ilsa
Here’s the official BBC synopsis:
When frantic, dishevelled Edie Ledwell appears in the office begging to speak to her, private detective Robin Ellacott doesn’t know quite what to make of the situation. The co-creator of a popular cartoon, The Ink Black Heart, Edie is being persecuted by a mysterious online figure who goes by the pseudonym of Anomie. Edie is desperate to uncover Anomie’s true identity.
Robin decides that the agency can’t help with this – and thinks nothing more of it until a few days later, when she reads the shocking news that Edie has been tasered and then murdered in Highgate Cemetery, the location of The Ink Black Heart.
Robin and her business partner Cormoran Strike become drawn into the quest to uncover Anomie’s true identity. But with a complex web of online aliases, business interests and family conflicts to navigate, Strike and Robin find themselves embroiled in a case that stretches them to their limit.
The Ink Black Heart is the sixth detective novel in the Strike series (a seventh, The Running Grave, followed in September 2023) and formed part of the ongoing controversy surrounding Rowling following public statements the author has made on gender, biological essentialism, and the transgender community, as outlined here. Parallels have been drawn between criticisms levelled at the book’s animator character and those levelled at Rowling, leading some to characterise the novel as a fictionalised apologia.
In less fraught and more frivolous territory, fans of the Strike TV series continue to hope for leads Cormoran and Robin (who divorced her new husband Matt when he was found to have been cheating on her with an ex) to act on their obvious sexual chemistry.
Robin came into Strike’s life as an office temp who caught the gumshoe bug, and her engagement plus his various doomed dalliances have always kept them apart romantically. After years of pining, will the timing finally be right for their eyes to meet over a fresh corpse? Time (and well, anyone who’s already read the book) will tell.
The new episodes are expected to air on the BBC in December 2024 in the UK, and on HBO and Max in the US.