Jim Sheridan Teams With Sky Studios for Doc Series 'Murder at the Cottage'

jim sheridan - Getty - H - 2016
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The five-part series will examine the unsolved murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier in West Cork in 1996.

Jim Sheridan, the six-time Oscar nominee known for films including My Left Foot and In the Name of the Father, is set to make his documentary series debut with Murder at the Cottage: The Search for Justice for Sophie, a five-parter examining the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier in West Cork in 1996.

The documentary series is being produced by Hell’s Kitchen in association with Comcast-owned Sky's Sky Studios unit, marking the studio's first in-house documentary series, and features access to those closest to the case, including the victim's family and key suspect Ian Bailey.

In 1996, two days before Christmas, Toscan du Plantier , the wife of French filmmaker Daniel Toscan du Plantier, was brutally murdered at her holiday cottage in Schull, West Cork. The murder rocked the quiet, Irish town and, 24 years later, the case remains a mystery. The key suspect, English journalist Bailey — the first reporter on the scene — was quickly arrested by local police following eye-witness reports, yet was never found guilty in Ireland, owing to a lack of reliable evidence. Despite this, Bailey was found guilty in absentia by the French courts in 2019 and sentenced to 25 years in prison. Having successfully fought repeated extradition requests from the French authorities, Bailey still resides in West Cork and maintains his innocence to this day.

Sheridan, who directs, narrates the documentary and appears on-screen, will take viewers on a journey as he unravels the unsolved case that has haunted West Cork for almost 25 years. The series pieces together original evidence, never-before-seen footage and interviews with those closest to the case as the Irish filmmaker tries to make sense of what happened that night; all set against the rural landscapes and wilderness of his home country.

"This is a story that has fascinated me for over two decades," said Sheridan. "It is a murder that carries implications for the meaning of justice in Ireland, in France and in the U.K. It is a murder that calls into question the meaning of Europe, as the convicted man in France is free in Ireland. It is a story that calls into question the meaning and process of the police and the legal system. It is a story that shines a light on domestic violence. It is a story about primal fear. About a devil in the hills. About the existence of evil among us. I would like to thank all those who have contributed to this series, but in particular to Sophie’s family who are still searching for justice."

Catherine O’Flaherty exec produces Murder at the Cottage for Hell’s Kitchen, with Gary Davey as executive producer for Sky Studios. The series is produced by Sheridan and Donal MacIntyre of Dare Films.

NBCUniversal Global Distribution handles international sales on behalf of Sky Studios. The series is expected to air on Sky Crime in the U.K. and Ireland next year.