Strike: Lethal White – Everything you need to know about the return of Robert Galbraith’s private detective to BBC One

J.K. Rowling’s private investigator Cormoran Strike is back for a fourth outing, investigating a political blackmail scandal while wrestling with his own complicated private life.

Published: 29 August 2020 - 8.50pm
BBC/Bronte Films/Steffan Hill

Detective thriller Strike has made a welcome return to the BBC with a fourth adaptation of one of Robert Galbraith’s best-selling tales.

Here’s all you need to know about when you can see Lethal White, who’s back in the cast, and what we can expect from the latest chapter in the Cormoran Strike story.

When is Strike back on TV?

The new four-part series began on BBC One on Saturday August 30, with the second episode airing on Sunday August 31. The third episode will be broadcast at 9pm on Sunday September 6 before the finale airs at 9pm on Sunday September 13.

Who will star in this series of Strike?

Both the lead characters are back – Tom Burke (War and Peace) returning as private investigator Cormoran Strike, and Holliday Grainger (The Capture) as his assistant Robin Ellacott.

Also returning to the cast are Natasha O’Keeffe (Peaky Blinders) as Strike’s ex Charlotte, and Kerr Logan (Alias Grace) as Robin’s fiancé Matthew.

Robert Glenister (Hustle) joins them as politician Jasper Chiswell, Joseph Quinn (Dickensian) is Billy Knight, and Nick Blood (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) plays his brother Jimmy.

Tom Burke and Robert Glenister in Strike: Lethal White BBC/Bronte Films/Steffan Hill
Tom Burke and Robert Glenister in Strike: Lethal White

Robert Pugh (Game of Thrones, Doctor Foster) and Natalie Gumede (Coronation Street) also appear in the new series.

Lethal White is adapted from the novel by Tom Edge. Edge adapted the second and third Cormoran Strike novels for TV, has written for Netflix’s royal drama The Crown and wrote the screenplay for Oscar-winning movie Judy.

The series is directed by Sue Tully. Tully played teenage mother Michelle Fowler in EastEnders before she stepped behind the camera. As well as Lethal White she has directed episodes of Line of Duty, The A Word, Lark Rise to Candleford and EastEnders itself.

What happens in Strike: Lethal White?

The story – adapted from the book of the same name – centres on Billy Knight, a young man in the grip of psychosis who visits Strike’s office to tell him about a child he saw strangled many years ago.

At the same time, Strike is hired by government minister Jasper Chiswell to investigate Billy’s brother Jimmy, who has been blackmailing him.

The investigation sees Robin take up an undercover job in the House of Commons in the hope of finding out how the two cases could be connected.

Both investigators are also grappling with personal problems, as Robin’s relationship with Matthew is beginning to feel the strain of her commitment to Strike and their work.

Meanwhile, Strike also has a complicated personal life: his girlfriend has declared her love for him while his ex, Charlotte, is back in the picture – and pregnant.

This is the fourth Strike novel to have been adapted for television – the others were The Cuckoo’s Calling, The Silkworm, and Career of Evil. A fifth novel, Troubled Blood, is set to be published on September 15, 2020.

BBC/Bronte Films/Steffan Hill
Holliday Grainger and Tom Burke in Strike: Lethal White

Who is Robert Galbraith?

Best-selling crime author Robert Galbraith is actually a nom de plume of an even bigger name in fiction.

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling published the first Strike novel, The Cuckoo's Calling, under the pen name in 2013 to keep her crime thrillers separate from her enormous success in the children’s genre.

But Rowling’s cover was blown when a woman replied to journalist India Knight’s tweet about the first Galbraith novel being a fantastic debut, saying that it was a pseudonym for Rowling.

It later emerged that the woman who had outed her was the best friend of the wife of a partner in Rowling’s firm of legal representatives, Russells Solicitors.

Russells made a donation to The Soldiers’ Charity on Rowling’s behalf and reimbursed her legal fees as an apology for the privacy breach.

Strike: Lethal White continues on BBC One at 9pm on Sunday. Catch up with episodes 1 and 2 and watch the first three Strike adaptations on BBC iPlayer.