Sarah Wayne Callies, Michael Shanks Join Tainted-Blood Scandal Miniseries 'Unspeakable'

Left, Matt Winkelmeyer, right, Sonia Recchia, both Getty Images

The SundanceTV and CBC drama centers on the real-life 1980s scandal where thousands contracted HIV and Hepatitis C from tainted blood.

Unspeakable, the eight-part drama from creator and showrunner Robert C. Cooper, has cast The Walking Dead alum Sarah Wayne Callies and Michael Shanks (Saving Hope) in lead roles.

Shawn Doyle and Camille Sullivan have also joined the CBC and SundanceTV miniseries, set to start shooting in Vancouver in the spring. The drama centers on the real-life 1980s scandal where thousands of Canadians contracted HIV and Hepatitis C from tainted blood.

"First and foremost, the series is about the emotional impact this terrible tragedy had. I couldn’t be more thrilled to have such incredibly talented people committed to bringing our lead characters to life," Cooper, who personally contracted Hepatitis C from tainted blood, said in a statement on Thursday.

Unspeakable is based on the books Bad Blood, by Vic Parsons, and The Gift of Death, by Andre Picard. One of the largest medical disasters in Canadian history, the blood scandal triggered a federal inquiry and precedent-setting lawsuit resulting in billions of dollars in compensation to victims.

Unspeakable is produced by Mezo Entertainment, with Cooper and Meridian Artists' Glenn Cockburn serving as executive producers. The miniseries is written by Cooper, Carl Binder, Adriana Capozzi and Lynn Coady, with Cooper and Callies set to direct episodes.

AMC Studios will manage worldwide distribution outside of Canada.