'Raffik' to Fox: What a country


It's a police procedural with a "Borat"-flavored twist.

Fox has picked up "Raffik," a character-driven one-hour from British TV writer Anthony Horowitz and producer Darren Star. It centers on an Albanian detective sent to the U.S. whose enthusiasm for everything American inspires and baffles his new Los Angeles police partners.

The project, from Sony Pictures TV, has received a script commitment with penalty from the network.

WMA-repped Horowitz, a detective drama expert who created ITV's "Foyle's War" and the BBC's "Midsomer Murders" and worked on ITV's "Poirot," is writing the "Raffik" under a sizable blind-script deal he inked with SPT in August (HR 8/30). He and Star are executive producing.

Albanians' great affection for the U.S. was showcased during President Bush's June visit to the former communist country, where he received a warm welcome with people lining the streets to greet him. The trip provided fodder for late-night comedians when a video of Bush being mobbed by cheering crowds in a small farming village suggested that in the melee, his expensive watch might have been stolen; the White House later denied that.

Albania, a tiny nation on the edge of the Balkans, is the poorest country in Europe. Its economic woes under communist longtime dictator Enver Hoxha made it a popular object of jokes within the Eastern bloc, like the one about its only government-run TV station opening its only daily newscast with "Good Evening Comrade Hoxha" because he owned the only TV set in the country, or the one about the country's submarines having to zigzag up and down all the time so the sailors can take breaths.