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From page to screen in 2022

The secret to a good crime drama film or TV series is in the writing. You can have a huge budget, incredible performances and stunning cinematography, but without an intriguing, well-paced, original and surprising story? You’ll end up with a whole load of nothing.

So it’s little wonder that producers often look to popular crime novels for their inspiration. Sure, they could commission a team of writers to spend months hashing and rehashing a plot, only for it not to work out. Or they could pick a book up off a shelf and see it all already mapped out in front of them. Then there’s the fact that a lot of crime fiction already has an audience. Adapting these books makes sense – and us fans of the genre can’t get enough. Luckily there’s always plenty of it out there to feed our hunger!

Here’s our pick of crime thriller television and movie adaptations to look forward to in 2022.

Book adaptations to watch out for in 2022:

Upcoming TV adaptations:

The IPCRESS File by Len Deighton

The IPCRESS File

There’s no Michael Caine this time around. Wearing the chunky black specs in this 21st century version of Len Deighton’s tense spy novel about a team of kidnapped scientists is Joe Cole from Gangs of London and Peaky Blinders.

Channel? ITV1

The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith

Ripley

Sherlock and Skyfall’s Andrew Scott takes on Patricia Highsmith’s most famous creation, the conman Tom Ripley. Dakota Fanning and Johnny Flynn co-star in this ‘60s-set eight-parter that’s been adapted and directed by Steven Zaillian (The Night Of). This could well be one of the TV highlights of the year.

Channel? Showtime in the US, TBC in the UK

Killing Floor by Lee Child

Reacher

Lee Child fans unhappy at the casting of the diminutive Tom Cruise in the Jack Reacher films can let out a sigh of relief. The Reacher in this new TV series, Alan Ritchson, is a stacked 6’2”. The first series is based on Killing Floor, Child’s debut 1997 novel. Take a first look here.

Channel? Amazon Prime

The Inner Darkness by Jorn Lier Horst

Wisting

Two more of Jørn Lier Horst’s William Wisting books – The Inner Darkness and The Night Man – get the silver screen treatment, after the success of the first series. Sven Nordin returns in the lead role of what is Norway’s most expensive ever TV series.

Channel? BBC Four

Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz

Magpie Murders

Anthony Horowitz’s crime thriller comes to TV in a series featuring Lesley Manville (Save Me Too) and Timothy McMullan (The Crown). McMullan replaces Timothy Spall who had to pull out of the production at the last minute due to scheduling conflicts. We can’t wait.

Channel? BritBox

Stay Close by Harlan Coben

Stay Close

Another one of Harlan Coben’s thrillers has been given a Netflix imagining, this time it’s the American novelist’s 2012 work Stay Close. It’s due to be an eight-parter and stars Deadwater Fell‘s Cush Jumbo, alongside James Nesbitt, Richard Armitage, Eddie Izzard and Sarah Parish.

Channel? Netflix

The Fear Index by Robert Harris

The Fear Index

Fatherland author Robert Harris’ 2011 work The Fear Index is set to appear on our screens in a four-episode adaptation starring Josh Hartnett. The Penny Dreadful actor plays a computer scientist who looks set to earn billions with a new technology until he’s viciously attacked in his home.

Channel? Sky Atlantic

The Distant Echo by Val McDermid

Karen Pirie

Val McDermid’s The Distant Echo gets the telly treatment next year, with Lauren Lyle (Vigil) as the main character. Pirie is an investigator in Police Scotland’s Historic Cases Unit. Her first case on TV? A barmaid that was murdered back in 2016.

Channel? ITV1

The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly

The Lincoln Lawyer

Mexican actor Manuel Garcia-Rulfo (The Magnificent Seven) replaces Matthew McConaughey for this telly version of the exploits of idealist lawyer Mickey Haller. Michael Connelly’s book is being brought to streaming by Big Little Lies and Ally McBeal head honcho David E Kelley – so expect quality.

Channel? Netflix

Along Came a Spider by James Patterson

Alex Cross

Another TV adaptation that’s previously seen the inside of cinemas, Morgan Freeman and Tyler Perry step aside to allow new blood in this upcoming version of James Patterson’s popular series of detective novels.

Channel? Amazon Prime Video

Bad Monkey by Carl Hiassen

Bad Monkey

Carl Hiaasen’s Florida-set cult 2013 novel is heading to our living rooms next year with Vince Vaughn starring and producing. It’s a black comedy with Vaughn playing a detective demoted to ‘Restaurant Inspector’ who finds a severed arm. Oh, and there’s a monkey. A bad one.

Channel? Apple TV+

City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg

City on Fire

Garth Risk Hallberg’s epic 2015 debut novel always seemed like a likely candidate for an adaptation of some kind. Set in 1970s New York City, the action follows a group of New Yorkers loosely-connected to a random shooting in Central Park.

Channel? Apple TV+

Lady in the Lake by Laura Lippman

Lady in the Lake

Natalie Portman takes on her first TV role alongside Lupita Nyong’o in this adaptation of Laura Lippman’s book. The plot centres around a 1960s Baltimore housewife who turns investigative journalist to solve a murder. This looks like top tier stuff.

Channel? Apple TV+

The Old Man by Thomas Perry

The Old Man

Thomas Perry’s 2017 book gets the telly makeover, with Jeff Bridges playing an ex-CIA officer who finds himself targeted for assassination, forcing him back into the fold. John Lithgow, Alia Shawkat and Amy Brenneman support. It’s being developed by Jericho creator Jonathan Steinberg. With Oscar-winner Bridges as the eponymous old man, this is one to catch.

Channel? FX

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

The Shining Girls

Lauren Beukes’ time travel crime thriller The Shining Girls is yet another huge-looking Apple TV+ offering coming our way in 2022. It’ll star TV A-lister Elisabeth Moss, Narcos‘ Wagner Moura and Jamie Bell (Billy Elliott), with Moss directing two of the episodes.

Channel? Apple TV+

Tokyo Vice by Jake Adelstein

Tokyo Vice

Baby Driver and West Side Story‘s Ansel Elgort plays Jake Adelstein, an American journalist who moves to Tokyo and finds himself taking on the city’s criminal underworld. It’s based on Jake Adelstein’s real-life 2009 memoir Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan, co-stars legendary Japanese actor Ken Watanabe and kicks off with none other than Michael Mann (Heat, Collateral, Manhunter, The Insider) directing the pilot.

Channel? HBO Max in the US, TBC in the UK

Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer

Under the Banner of Heaven

Former Spiderman Andrew Garfield continues his interesting career choices with this, a crime drama based on Jon Krakauer’s non-fiction work. Ostensibly it will be a police procedural that sees Garfield as a Mormon police detective investigating a murder that has ties to his church. If, however, it’s anything like the book it’s based on, it’ll also touch on the wider story of how the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints started and evolved. Sam Worthington (Avatar), Daisy Edgar-Jones (Normal People), Rory Culkin (Signs) and Gil Birmingham (Yellowstone) co-star.

Channel? FX

Upcoming film adaptations:

Munich by Robert Harris

Munich – The Edge of War

Robert Harris is known for setting many of his spy thrillers during World War II. His 2017 book Munich is no exception. Starring Jeremy Irons and George MacKay, expect this to have a limited cinema release and hit Netflix by the end of January.

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

Killers of the Flower Moon

David Grann’s Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI is getting the prestige big screen treatment. 2022 will see the release of Martin Scorsese’s adaptation starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert DeNiro. The plot revolves around the mysterious murders of members of the Osage tribe in 1920s Oklahoma, which sparked a huge FBI investigation involving none other than the boss himself, J Edgar Hoover. Lily Gladstone, Jesse Plemons, Brendan Fraser, Sturgill Simpson and John Lithgow round out the cast.

Bullet Train by Kotaro Isaka

Bullet Train

Based on the book by Kōtarō Isaka, Brad Pitt stars in this no doubt frenetic crime action thriller about five hit-men and women trying to kill one another aboard a Japanese bullet train. Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Zazie Beetz, Joey King, Andrew Koji, Masi Oka, Michael Shannon, Logan Lerman, Bad Bunny and Sandra Bullock complete the ensemble cast. John Wick’s David Leitch directs. Take a first look here.

Deep Water by Patricia Highsmith

Deep Water

Directed by Adrian Lyne, the man behind Indecent Proposal, 9 & ½ Weeks and Fatal Attraction, this ‘erotic crime thriller’, adapted from Patricia Highsmith’s 1957 novel, stars Ana de Armas and Ben Affleck as a manipulative couple who wage psychological warfare on one another. With all sorts of collateral damage being done.

The Forgiven by Lawrence Osborne

The Forgiven

Lawrence Osbourne’s Morrocco-set book from 2012 has been made into a film starring Ralph Fiennes, Jessica Chastain, Matt Smith, Caleb Landry Jones and Saïd Taghmaoui. Calvary and The Guard director John Michael McDonagh helms the project.

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

Death on the Nile

Kenneth Branagh’s follow-up to Murder on the Orient Express has been in production and release limbo for some time now. 2022 will finally see the newest addition to the Poirot legacy released in cinemas. Another all-star cast join Branagh, this time there’s Annette Bening, Armie Hammer, Russell Brand, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French and Gal Gadot along for the ride. That’s a Pharaoh cast, eh?

The Silent Twins by Marjorie Wallace

The Silent Twins

The true-life story of June and Jennifer Gibbons is a desperately sad and haunting one. Twins born in Barbados who grew up in Wales, the girls flat out refused to communicate with anyone but each other. Rejected by their new community, they eventually turned to petty crime and, somehow, ended up in Broadmoor – where their story gets even sadder. Letitia Wright (Black Panther) and Tamara Lawrance (Small Axe) play the adult sisters in this film version of Marjorie Wallace’s heartbreaking book.

The Good Nurse by Charles Graeber

The Good Nurse

American serial killer Charles Cullen is believed to have murdered more than 400 patients in his 16-year career as a nurse. Taking on the role of Cullen here is Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne. Adapting The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder by Charles Graeber is the brilliant Danish filmmaker Tobias Lindholm (The Hunt, Another Round).

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Where the Crawdads Sing

Taylor John Smith, Daisy Edgar-Jones, David Strathairn and Harris Dickinson star in this coming-of-age mystery drama set in the southern marshlands of the US in the 1950s. Delia Owens’ novel was a worldwide smash, topping Amazon’s most sold fiction books in 2019, so there’ll be plenty of interest in this one.

Which of next year’s book adaptations has you the most excited? Is there a book you’d love to see get the big or small screen treatment? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…

Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

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