MIPTV: Original Ukrainian Crime Format 'The Sniffer' Sells to France

The series, about a detective who can literally sniff out evidence, is already a top-rated show in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, the Baltics and Israel.

Ukrainian production and distribution company FILM.UA has sold a successful local crime series to a major French television channel.

The Sniffer (original title: Nyukhach) -- a Russian-language series that features a detective with unique olfactory abilities who uses his sense of smell to track down murderers -- has been a hit in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Israel, the Baltics and Russia, where it aired on state broadcaster Channel One.

The sale Monday, the first day of MIPTV in Cannes, by FILM.UA Distribution, for both ready-made product and format rights, is the first time the show has sold outside Russian-language audience territories.

FILM.UA, one of Ukraine's leading television and film production companies, has made one eight-episode series and is currently in production on a second series, with a regional TV premiere due in the autumn.

Graham Frake, who was director of photography on British television's hit costume drama Downtown Abbey, is lensing the second season, FILM.UA said.

Details of the deal with "a major French TV channel" were being kept under wraps for the time being, a spokeswoman for FILM.UA Distribution told The Hollywood Reporter.

"This is our first sale to western Europe, and we are now looking to develop contacts for cooperation further with European and American colleagues," she added.