With an approaching asteroid on a collision course with Earth, the end of the world is just months away. But as civilisation frays at the edges, police detective Hank Palace is determined to stay on the job and investigate the crimes everyone ignores. A police procedural set on the brink of the apocalypse, The Last Policeman trilogy asks: What really matters when the world is ending?
The first book in the series, the award-winning SF mystery, Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters is now heading to the small screen, in the form of a pilot from the US network Fox, re-titled as The Last Police, written, directed and executive produced by Kyle Killen (Lone Star, Awake). Deadline reports the hour-long pilot forms part of Killen’s direct, exclusive, broadcast-only talent deal that he signed with the network in February 2020.
Responding to the announcement on Twitter, Ben commented, “if by chance you’re looking for encouragement today, let this be it! Keep going, you’re killing it. melt all obstacles with the magical laser brilliance of your inventiveness.”
The Last Police will follow a small-town police detective, who, as an asteroid races toward an apocalyptic collision with Earth, believes she’s been chosen to save humanity, while her cynical partner can’t decide what he’ll enjoy more: her delusional failure, or the end of the world itself.
Fox Entertainment and 20th Television will produce the pilot, with Chapter Eleven’s Scott Pennington, Winters and Anonymous Content executive producing.
The series is based on the book, The Last Policeman, which was first published in 2012 and won the Edgar Award in the category of best original paperback before being followed up by two subsequent books – Countdown City and World of Trouble.
In the first novel, New Hampshire-based Detective Hank Palace, wonders what’s the point in solving murders if we’re all going to die soon, anyway? It’s a question he’s ever since asteroid 2011GV1 hovered into view. There’s no chance left. No hope. Just six precious months until impact.
The novel presents a fascinating portrait of a pre-apocalyptic United States. The economy spirals downward while crops rot in the fields. Churches and synagogues are packed. People all over the world are walking off the job – but not Hank Palace. He’s investigating a death by hanging in a city that sees a dozen suicides every week – except this one feels suspicious, and Palace is the only cop who cares.
The first in a trilogy, as Palace’s investigation plays out under the shadow of 2011GV1, we’re confronted by hard questions way beyond “whodunit.” What basis does civilisation rest upon? What is life worth? What would any of us do, what would we really do, if our days were numbered?
Ben H. Winters, who lives in Los Angeles, is also the author of the recently-released novel The Quiet Boy, published by Mulholland/Little, Brown, Golden State, and the New York Times bestselling Underground Airlines; the horror novel Bedbugs; and several works for young readers. His first novel, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, was also a Times bestseller.
In addition to winning the Edgar Award, he’s also won the Philip K. Dick award in science fiction, the Sidewise Award for alternate history, and France’s Grand Prix de L’Imaginaire. His writing has appeared in Slate and in the New York Times Book Review. He also writes for film and television, and was a producer on the FX show Legion.