Zen (TV series)

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Series title with a picture of the character Zen
GenrePolice drama
Written bySimon Burke
Peter Berry
Michael Dibdin (novels)
Directed byJohn Alexander (Vendetta)
Christopher Menaul (Cabal)
Jon Jones (Ratking)
StarringRufus Sewell
Caterina Murino
Ben Miles
Catherine Spaak
Stanley Townsend
Ed Stoppard
Francesco Quinn
Anthony Higgins
Opening themeAdrian Johnston
ComposerAdrian Johnston
Country of originUnited Kingdom, Italy, Germany
Original languageEnglish
No. of series1
No. of episodes3
Executive producersAndy Harries, Francis Hopkinson, Raffaella Bonivento, Rebecca Eaton, Anne Mensah
ProducerMichael Casey
Production locationRome
CinematographyTony Miller
Running time90 minutes
Production companiesLeft Bank Pictures, Mediaset, Masterpiece, ZDF
DistributorBBC Worldwide
Original networkBBC One
Picture formatFilm 16:9 Colour
Audio formatStereo
Original release2 January (2011-01-02) –
16 January 2011 (2011-01-16)
External links
BBC website
Production website

Zen is a British television series produced by Left Bank Pictures for the BBC, co-produced with WGBH Boston for its Masterpiece anthology series, Mediaset and ZDF.[1] It stars Rufus Sewell and Caterina Murino and is based on the Aurelio Zen detective novels by Michael Dibdin.[2] The series was filmed on location in Italy, but the dialogue is in English. The series, which comprises three 90-minute films, was broadcast in the United Kingdom on Sunday evenings from 2 January 2011 on BBC One.[3] The three films were based on the books Vendetta (1990), Cabal (1992) and Ratking (1988).[4] The series was cancelled by BBC One in February 2011; BBC One controller Danny Cohen later said there were already enough male crime-fighters on TV.[5] Left Bank, the show's producer, tried to find other broadcasters to fund another series but were unsuccessful.[6]

Regular cast[edit]

  • Rufus Sewell as Aurelio Zen
    A smart and honest police detective in Rome who struggles to maintain his integrity amongst the bureaucracy and political interference in the department. He is in love with Tania Moretti, but long odds in the betting for who will sleep with her first.
  • Caterina Murino as Tania Moretti
    Office support worker for the squad. She is beautiful, smart and compassionate. She likes Zen and is trying to divorce her husband.
  • Ben Miles as Amedeo Colonna
    The Minister's fixer. He is a powerful, connected and amoral man who believes that Zen is working for him, something that Zen encourages.
  • Stanley Townsend as Moscati
    Zen's boss. He is a gruff, no nonsense man who does not suffer fools gladly. He is fond of Zen and Tania.
  • Francesco Quinn as Gilberto Nieddu
    Zen's ex-partner who now runs a private security business. The two have remained friends and Zen asks Gilberto for help when he needs advice or to go outside the department.
  • Catherine Spaak as Donata
    Zen's mother who was widowed when her husband was shot on the job. Zen moved in with her after he separated from his wife. She is wise, caring and concerned for her son.
  • Vincent Riotta as Giorgio de Angelis
    A colleague whom Zen trusts.
  • Ed Stoppard as Vincenzo Fabri
    A detective with a powerful and wealthy uncle who is more interested in playing politics to advance his career than solving cases.
  • Anthony Higgins as Eduardo Guerchini
    The Minister, who leaves all the dirty work to Colonna.

Complete main cast[edit]

Character Vendetta Cabal Ratking
Pepe Spadola Gregg Chillin
Fausto Arcuti Adrian Hood
Francesco Pirotta Franco Maria Salamon
Ana Bini Katrine De Candole
Alessandro Antonioni Rocky Marshall
Giulia Selene Rosiello
Rossella Nieddu Yasemin Samino
Mario Joseph Long
Giuseppe Bini
Adrian Schiller
Gilberto Nieddu
Francesco Quinn
Eduardo Guerchini
Anthony Higgins
Ernesto Heuber Michael McElhatton
Sister Anna Katy Murphy
Tomassini Massimiliano Ulaldi
Cariddi Nardulli
Garry Cooper
Arianna von Falkenhayn
Valentina Cervi
Catherine Spaak
Avel Vasko Francis Magee
Daniele Monterosi
Jdg. Corrado Bertolini Roberto Nobile
Maria Nathalie Rapti Gomez
Aurelio Zen
Rufus Sewell
Paolo Roberto Laureli
Mara Julie Cox
Evie Susan Duerden
Lucia Chiara Nicola
Mazzotta Emil Marwa
Tania Moretti
Caterina Murino
Nadia Pirlo
Cosima Shaw
Amedeo Colonna
Ben Miles
Luca La Guardia Paolo Mazzarelli
Donatella Pirotta Zoe Tapper
Stanley Townsend
Carlo Fagioli Callum Blue
Sargon Yelda
Tito Spadola Peter Guinness
Fellini Enzo Squillino, Jr.
Giorgio de Angelis
Vincent Riotta
Cinzia Miletti Sarah-Jane Potts
Michelangelo Gattuso Allan Corduner
Renato Favelloni Greg Wise
Vincenzo Fabri
Ed Stoppard
Massimo Colanna Hilton McRae
Oscar Faso Alessandro Cica
Silvio Miletti Sebastian Armesto


Series 1 (2011)[edit]

# Title Directed by Written by Original airdate UK viewers
1"Vendetta"John AlexanderSimon Burke2 January 2011 (2011-01-02)6.24
Detective Zen is sent to a remote village to re-investigate a murder, which may spark a political scandal. Zen is under pressure from the politicians and the Chief of Police, but he would rather be spending time with Tania, the Chief's beautiful assistant. Meanwhile, a gangster is after Zen, seeking revenge.
2"Cabal"Christopher MenaulSimon Burke9 January 2011 (2011-01-09)5.64
The death of a famous aristocrat, Umberto Ruspanti, leads Detective Zen into the shadowy world of the Cabal—an organisation more powerful and secret than the Mafia. The Ministry want a quick verdict of suicide, but Zen's not so sure. Meanwhile, things are looking up with Tania.
3"Ratking"Jon JonesPeter Berry & Simon Burke16 January 2011 (2011-01-16)5.21
Detective Zen works against the clock to recover the kidnapped Ruggerio Miletti, a wealthy industrialist with political ties. The involvement of the manipulative family and a beautiful grieving widow complicate matters. Meanwhile Tania's husband does everything he can to get rid of Zen.

Series 1 was first shown in the USA on the PBS network: Vendetta, Cabal, and Ratking on 17, 24 and 31 July 2011, respectively.


  1. ^ Conlan, Tara (2 March 2011). "Zen could survive after being sold abroad". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  2. ^ "Rufus Sewell confirmed to play Aurelio Zen for BBC One". BBC press releases. BBC. Retrieved 2 January 2011.
  3. ^ Vine, Richard (1 January 2011). "Zen and the art of Sunday night television scheduling". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 January 2011.
  4. ^ "Zen". Left Bank Pictures. Retrieved 2 January 2010. Check |archive-url= value (help)
  5. ^ "BBC One controller to cull male crime-fighters". BBC. 28 April 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
  6. ^ Conlan, Tara (22 February 2011). "BBC1 axes Rufus Sewell detective drama Zen". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 February 2011.
  7. ^ "Weekly Viewing Summary (see relevant week)". BARB. Archived from the original on 8 November 2008.

External links[edit]