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24 star Dennis Haysbert joins cast of BBC legal drama Undercover

Published 09/09/2015

Dennis Haysbert is best known for playing president David Palmer in hit series 24
Dennis Haysbert is best known for playing president David Palmer in hit series 24

US TV star Dennis Haysbert has joined the cast of the BBC's new legal drama Undercover.

The political thriller, penned by award-winning screenwriter Peter Moffat, stars Sophie Okonedo as a high-flying lawyer and Adrian Lester as her husband, an undercover police officer.

American actor Haysbert - known for playing president David Palmer in hit action series 24 - will play Rudy Jones, a man who has been on Death Row for 20 years, falsely imprisoned for murder.

The six-part series - which is filming in Louisiana and the UK - is already being hailed for having three black actors in lead roles.

Okonedo stars as barrister Maya, who is about to become the first black director of public prosecutions, the highest-ranking prosecuting role in England. But as her life comes under intense public scrutiny, she discovers her husband Nick (Lester) has been lying to her for years.

As an undercover police officer Nick created a fake identity for himself to infiltrate organisations considered a danger to society because of their political beliefs. Now, 20 years on, his secret past may jeopardise his wife's career.

Meanwhile, her friend Rudy is urging her to fight to save him from the death penalty.

Okonedo said Moffat - creator of hit legal dramas Criminal Justice and Silk - had written an "extraordinary story that is relevant and at the same time utterly compelling".

"He asks hard questions of us all. The part I play is a Titan of women called Maya who is not afraid to say the unsayable. She is a truth seeker and is prepared to shine light into the darkest corners, come what may."

Undercover - which is being co-produced by BBC Worldwide and AMC Networks - is due to premiere on BBC1 and BBC America next year.

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