Zen 1.01 - Catherina Murino and Rurus Sewell
Episode 1.01 'Vendetta' - Tania Moretti (Catherina Murino) and Aurelio Zen (Rurus Sewell) © 2011 Left Bank Pictures

Rufus Sewell and Caterina Murino star in three new feature length programmes, set in and around Rome, about fictional Italian detective Aurelio Zen, based on the best-selling novels by the late Michael Dibdin)…

Sunday, January 2, 2011 21.00 BBC1 … Summer, 2011 PBS’ Masterpiece Mystery
Zen 90 mins, 2010
Season 1 Episode 1, Vendetta

Rufus Sewell (Middlemarch, The Pillars Of The Earth, The Eleventh Hour) stars as the fictional Italian detective Aurelio Zen in three new films for BBC One. Italian actress Caterina Murino stars as Zen’s love interest, Tania Moretti, alongside an international cast including Ben Miles, Stanley Townsend, Catherine Spaak and Francesco Quinn.

Set in and around Rome, and based on the best-selling novels by the late Michael Dibdin, the series features many of the combined attractions of Italy and the Dibdin novels – thrilling investigations, fun, warmth and beautiful people.

In Vendetta, Zen is called upon by the Ministry to re-investigate a multiple murder. Flamboyant millionaire and Government construction magnate Oscar Faso and his guests have been shot dead at his lavish villa. Prime suspect and friend of Faso, Renato Favelloni, has “found God” in prison and is retracting his confession, a move which stands to send shockwaves through Government – so Zen must intervene. All the evidence points towards Favelloni’s guilt but Zen is convinced he is innocent. Zen heads into the mountains to investigate, reluctant to leave the promise of romance with Tania Moretti, the Chief’s new assistant.

As he leaves, news breaks of another murder: Judge Bertolini, an anonymous figure in the Italian judicial system, is shot dead in his car. What Zen doesn’t realise is that this unconnected murder is part of a vendetta carried out by a man wrongly imprisoned by Bertolini years earlier. More importantly, Zen’s involvement in the case means he is next on the hit-list.

As he struggles between doing the right thing and saving his career, Zen must contend with hostile locals, an attempted kidnapping and a chase through a maze of underground tunnels while the killers draw ever closer to him.

Regular Cast: Aurelio Zen (Rufus Sewell), Tania (Caterina Murino)
Guest Cast: Oscar Faso (Alessandro Cica), Judge Bertolini (Roberto Nobile), Faso Girl (Natalya Garanina)

Writer/Assoc ProducerSimon Burke
Based on the novels by Michael Dibdin
ProducerVeronica Castillo, Michael Casey

DirectorJohn Alexander
Executive ProducersRaffaella Bonivento, Rebecca Eaton, Andy Harries, Matthew Read