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Fabricated evidence: Exploring authenticity in a murder mystery’s appropriation of Early Modern drama

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Publication details

JournalJournal of Adaptation in Film and Performance
DatePublished - Mar 2014
Issue number1
Number of pages14
Pages (from-to)83-96
Original languageEnglish


This article considers instances of scriptwriters (and the protagonist they create) playing with notions of authenticity and revenge tragedy through an episode of the popular murder mystery series Lewis (ITV1, 2011). Parallels between, diversions from and references to the characters, plot structure and setting of Early Modern drama are carefully traced through ‘Wild Justice’. The article argues that authenticity is both established and, to some extent, betrayed by the episode. Its scriptwriter, Stephen Churchett, uses and reinforces Early Modern drama’s cultural and literary value, without being constrained by it. Additionally, by exploring the way in which the programme incorporates the literary into the non-literary, the article extends existing arguments for a positive reconsideration of the sometime-maligned detective genre. Specifically, it adds to previous research arguing that the genre can be regarded as a key source, particularly among television broadcasts and popular fiction, evidencing the continuing cultural value of Early Modern drama.

    Research areas

  • Appropriation, Television, Shakespeare, Early Modern, Drama, Renaissance

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