It's official: Maria Bello set to star in 'Prime Suspect'

Maria-BelloImage Credit: Maria BelloNBC has its Det. Jane Tennison. EW has learned that Maria Bello — who appeared on the Peacock’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit last year – will star in the Prime Suspect reboot that’s in the works for the fall.

As first reported by EW earlier this month, Bello confirmed that she was talking to NBC about playing the role. Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights) is now shepherding the reboot of the British police procedural drama from the ’90s that starred Mirren. Desperate Housewives producer Alexandra Cunningham will serve as the showrunner.

“Definitely nervous to even think about taking over for Helen Mirren,” Bello told EW exclusively. “C’mon! How could anyone compete with her? Didn’t she do about 10 of them and win an Emmy every time?  I’m open to things right now. I’m just trying to go with the flow of my life and I’ve been going back-and-forth to Haiti trying to help out. That has felt good, but I am also wanting to do something spectacular with my life work-wise and that may end up being it.”

Prime Suspect was first dusted off last season as a potential midseason replacement for the 2010-11 season, but the project never made it to pilot for a number of reasons, including NBC’s inability to find someone to play Tennison.  Bello is one of those veteran actors whose name topped the wish list of every network each development season.

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  • DS Otley

    There already is an American remake of PRIME SUSPECT. It’s called THE CLOSER.

    • Ilsa Pucci must go

      Seriously people, Prime Suspect is overrated. The best detective drama from the BBC set in modern times was “Second Sight” starring Clive Owen. Remaking this or any other show so recent shows a terrible lack of creativity, I am just glad the Rockford Files remake never got off the ground

  • Fatima

    Wasn’t interested…now I am. Good casting. Maria Bello is seriously one of Hollywood’s most underrated actresses. I’ve never not loved her.

  • mcfly

    Maria Bello in the Helen Mirren role. Leave it to Hollywood.

  • Evert

    Wow. That’s like having Megan Fox star in a remake of Sophie’s Choice, or Shia LeBouf in an update of Raging Bull. Horrible, horrible casting. Ok, Bello is not Megan-Fox-level-bad, but she definitely lacks the gravitas to fill Mirren’s shoes.

    • The Dude

      I can only assume you haven’t seen “A History of Violence.” Because, if you had, I don’t think you’d be saying this. I’m not saying she’s Mirren’s American equal, but she has the potential to make this a hit.

      • Leah

        Dude, I HAVE seen “A History of Violence” and no matter how many times I watch it I will never think Maria Bello is the right person to attempt an American version of the Helen Mirren classic. In fact, this whole thing is on par with David Fincher’s arrogant endeavour to remake “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”. There is no creativity in Hollywood anymore, unless you equate creativity with re-writing someone else’s story and passing it off as your own original work. I wish they’d leave well enough alone.

      • Miffy

        Your post wildly contradicts itself. Just look at the example you cited. In fact, the Swedish version of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” was not an original work for the screen; the screenwriters adapted it from the book. Why aren’t you accusing them of “re-writing someone else’s story”, which is exactly what they did?

  • Sean Lanes

    Well I’m no longer interested. Prime Suspect lead role is more suited to an older, more experience woman. A woman who isn’t fit to run nor kick butt but is strong in her resolved, vulnerable, tired of the BS, and still have passion for her case with little or no evidence.

    This remake will FAIL!

    • Kevin

      Betty white?

      • Sean Lanes

        Betty White makes me sick with her old, overrated butt! She was never that great to begin with and was a fail next to the talented Estelle Getty and Bea Arthur!

  • bruno

    goooood luck. the woman’s apparently a nightmare to work with.

    • Auth

      I think the issue has become much less in today’s world. People are sntrtiag to be more aware (men and women alike), that’s it’s about what looks right on you, and what makes you feel that you look right. For instance, Andie McDowell has been doing commercials for several years, talking about covering her gray. Obviously, she started going grey earlier, and I really think she has such lovely chestnut hair, which I wouldn’t give up yet (if I so lucky). On the other hand, Maggie Smith has actually gotten more lovely as her hair color has changed.I’ve died my hair for years, but not to cover gray. When I was in my early 20 s, my natural hair color started turning a truly ugly shade of dull brown, which doesn’t even match my skin tone. I did let it grow out when I was pregnant with my son, to avoid chemical exposure. The natural color actually looked fake. I keep it the same color as it was in my late adolescence. I’ll likely continue to do that. But then again, I am also the oddball who is still pissed that the company dress code prevents me from putting lavender streaks in it too. I personally think Jamie Lee should get rid of the gray. I think the sudden shocking change to this salt and pepper makes her look much older than she is, and it doesn’t compliment her face the way her old hair color did. But then again, Steve Martin has looked completely ridiculous, the few times he’s died his hair (or more likely worn a wig), to get rid of his silver hair. Fortunately, the roles where he’s done it, he was supposed to look fairly ridiculous.

  • Heidi

    Peter Berg is a great director (think he’s a pretty sexy actor too but he doesn’t do it much anymore) :)
    Maria Bello can do this. She’s one in a million actresses who can actually make you forget about Helen Mirren in the role. Good on them for nabbing her!

  • dee123

    To be fair Bello is around the same age when Mirren started playing Tennison, but this is still a bad idea. Some shadows are just too big to step out from.

    • Allison

      I think you’re right – Bello looks freakin’ fantastic, but she’s been working for a long, long time. It’s a shame she’s stepping into a role that will get her endlessly compared to Mirren, though.

      • Dito

        completely understandable, no prelbom big guy. But then, after you click through to see the booty you were after, you’re redirected and redirected through pop-up after pop-up viewing ad after

  • vahi

    the only question here is,they don’ have enought creative people in hollywood anymore???please no more remaque.this one whas over the top. why? the americain people can’t understand something who came from a another country????
    please leave mirren at the only one tennison !!

  • Canadian

    You people are all nuts. She’s a great actress and will probably be amazing in it. Note: she’s an ACTRESS, capable of playing DIFFERENT parts. And whoever is claiming Bette White has no talent is surely an idiot.

    • Dw. Dunphy

      I’m sure Bello will do a good job, but it is unnecessary. Just go back and watch the original. Reject the remake/reboot juggernaut, or else watch the Twilight movies all over again next year.

      And yes, Betty White didn’t get this far in her career by not being talented. Check out The Mary Tyler Moore Show if you have doubts.

      • Julka

        this is the first I’ve heard of this film. wow, it actually looks GOOD! they even made a tired ass song like BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN work! MIRREN: the hontess (yes, I’m aware of her age)WILLIS: in the right film, STILL the man!FREEMAN: have you ever not loved him?MALKOVICH: endless love/respect.PARKER: I’d still pick MIRREN over her in regards to acting and looks, but I dig her as of the better action trailers I’ve seen in awhile. makes me feel like I’ll really be missing out if I miss this movie. I’m there.

  • Dw. Dunphy

    Maria Bello is a good actor, but how in the world do you top Helen Mirren? Stop with the reboots, America. Your ignorance is showing.

  • Juke Early

    Helen Mirren was excellent -obviously. But are any of you aware of her many roles, starting at a young age? She was a very pretty woman doing all kinds of work. Maria Bello will be fine. The real problem as always will be the writing. If the viewer can speak the lines & see the plot before it happens, who cares where the idea comes from – it will be predictable pap. The broadcast TV network suits lack the guts to match HBO, AMC, Show Time et al. That’s where great shows belong. Good luck.



  • Dawn

    Terrible casting!
    My fave British police show is Wire in the Blood!

  • Cristian

    what a waste of Malkovich, looks like they have him doing the Mad Dog Murdock character from the A-teamwhich come to think of it was a huge waste of Neesonsad that we still have some world class arotcs kicking around but nothing that matches their ability (Buck Howard, despite a third act problem, at least let Malkovich show off those chops)

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