Hulu and the BBC Are Making a Cop Show Set Five Years Before the Apocalypse

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If the end of the world had a prescribed timeframe to it, what would society be like? How would we adapt and go about our business with a countdown timer floating above the entire planet? What would law enforcement be like? That’s the question the BBC and Hulu’s new futuristic cop show Hard Sun wants to ponder.

Originally commissioned by the BBC in late 2015, Hard Sun—from Luther creator and occasional Doctor Who scribe Neil Cross—has been re-announced as a joint venture between the corporation and streaming service Hulu, with filming set to start in London by the end of the month.

Set in a contemporary London in the midst of the “pre-apocalypse,” where Earth is five years away from a destruction that cannot be avoided, the show will follow Detectives Robert Hicks (played by Jim Sturgess) and Elaine Renko (Agyness Deyn) as they attempt to enforce justice in a world facing total doom. Here’s how Cross initially described the series when it was first commissioned by the BBC:

Imagine the world you see when you look out your window… except it’s been given a death sentence. This isn’t science fiction. This is the real world. There’s no hero to come save us; no contingency plan. We’ve got five years. This is the world of Hard Sun… and the world of Elaine Renko and Robert Hicks. What’s it like, trying to keep order, trying to enforce the law in a city that, day by day, slips closer to certain destruction? How do you get up in the morning? How do you get out of bed and leave your family and go out there, putting your own life at risk? And what about the predators? What about the murderers, the rapists, the thieves? What about the psychopaths, the religious nuts, the cult leaders, the serial killers? Who among them would fear a prison sentence, in a world like this? Who among them would fear legal consequences? What does a life sentence even mean, any more? What’s the point of justice in the face of Armageddon?


The lead duo themselves seem pretty traditional crime drama archetypes—Hicks is your dodgy corrupt cop just trying to protect his family, while Renko is damaged by her work but a pure believer in justice—but the framing device of being set in a world counting down to the end of days is an interesting one indeed.