Merlin‘s lead actor Colin Morgan has set his sights on a new BBC drama series entitled Quirke, which is based on the books by Irish writer John Banville. (Updated!)

The new crime thriller Quirke, starring Gabriel Byrne in the title role, has been optioned by BBC One. It is based on the John Banville (who wrote under the pseudonym Benjamin Black) novels Christine Falls, The Silver Swan and Elegy for April, and has been adapted for television by screenwriters Andrew Davies and Conor McPherson.

Each episode of the series will see Quirke, the chief pathologist in the Dublin city morgue, investigating the deaths of the people who end up on his mortician’s slab. “But as Quirke turns accidental detective,” the press release reads, “he discovers his investigations are often more closely linked to his own life than he could ever have imagined.” This will lead Quirke to discover more about his “tangled family history,” as his dark past is revealed to the audience.

Three feature-length episodes (90 minutes each) have been planned so far, each focusing on a different book in the series. Actor Chris Newman, who has landed a role in the Elegy for April episode, tweeted earlier today that he will be working with Merlin star Colin Morgan – so while Morgan’s name does not appear in the press release, it seems like he has indeed been cast in this project:

 

We are very excited to see this talented Merlin actor find work, and Quirke seems like a very interesting project. We do not yet know what role Morgan will be playing or if he will only be appearing in the one episode, but we will keep you updated as this story develops.

Other actors that will be appearing in this drama include Michael Gambon, Geraldine Somerville, Sara Stewart, Brian Gleeson and Malachy Griffin.

The series began shooting in Dublin, Ireland in November 2012.

Update: As of today, January 16, it is official that Colin Morgan will indeed be appearing, playing the character Jimmy Minor. The official BBC twitter account confirmed the news:

Jimmy Minor is a reporter and close friends with Quirke’s daughter Phoebe (played by Aisling Franciosi). In Elegy for April, the character is introduced when one of their mutual friends is murdered.

Are you excited to see Colin Morgan in this role? Learn more about his character Jimmy Minor!

Merlin fans, be sure to check out our original Month of Merlin articles celebrating the final season of the series, and our ultimate list of the top 50 things we love about the show!

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