Production to start next week on The Woman in the Cage, AKA Mercy, to be directed by Mikkel Nørgaard [pictured] and starring Nikolaj Lie Kaas as Carl Mørck.

Danish deputy detective superintendent Carl Mørck and his Department Q - for “cases of special focus” – are ready for action next week (Oct 5), when Zentropa Entertainments and Danish commercial broadcaster TV2 start principal photography for their $26m (DKK 150m) series of four thrillers for theatrical and television based on Danish best-selling author Jussi Adler-Olsen’s novels.

”For some time we have been looking for a high-quality crime series with a big audience potential, and I am sure Adler-Olsen and Zentropa will deliver,” said TV2 programme director Keld Reinicke about the station’s largest contract with a private production company so far.

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To commence with Adler-Olsen’s The Woman in the Cage, aka Mercy (Kvinden i buret), then The Pheasant Killers (Fasandræberne), Message in a Bottle (Flaskepost) and Journal 64, the first film will be scripted by Nikolaj Arcel (A Royal Affair) and produced by Louise Vest (Melancholia).

Danish director Mikkel Nørgaard, who directed Clown (Klovn – The Movie) which took 855,174 domestic admissions, will direct The Woman in the Cage for a Christmas 2013 premiere, to be followed by a new instalment every year until 2016.

Danish actor Nikolaj Lie Kaas, who earlier this year won the Danish film critics’ Bodil award for the lead in Martin P Zandvliet’s A Funny Man, will lead the investigation as Mørck, and Sonja Richter will be the Danish politician who disappeared five years earlier, presumed dead, but was in fact abducted and has since been incarcecated in an isolated pressure chamber.

The four Adler-Olsen books have six million copies in 32 countries – 1.3m in Denmark alone – and the author is expected to publish No 5 next summer. Zentropa chief Peter Aalbæk Jensen is planning to extend the franchise by an annual addition for “at least the next ten years.”