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Culprits: Heist Was Only the Beginning

Now on its way to the small screen as a Disney+UK series

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Four years ago, an email arrived from Richard J Brewer and Gary Phillips, asking me if I would be interested in contributing a short story – of sorts – to a rather unusual anthology they were putting together, entitled CULPRITS: The Heist Was Only The Beginning.

Richard and Gary had come up with the set-up and the opening chapter for a heist story. A crew is brought together to rob a rich Texas cattleman, he told me. They do the job, get the money, and then – as the subtitle suggests – things start to get interesting.

And this is where the contributors came in.

We were to choose one of the characters and let our imaginations run riot with what happens to them after the heist. Do they get away? Do they get caught? Do they keep the money? Or lose it along with their lives?

It was a fascinating idea with a great cast and opening – and an even better line-up of contributors.

How could I resist?

In fact, the exact words I used in response to Richard’s invitation were, ‘I don’t need to think over your proposition. It’s a terrific idea and I’m in. Hell yes.’

The jacket copy for CULPRITS runs:

Culprits: the Heist Was Only the BeginningSome stories are all about the crime. These stories are about the maelstrom of what happens after

 A hard-bitten crew of professional thieves pull off the score of their lives, coming away with seven million in cash. Like any heist there are some unforeseen complications, and unfortunately they don’t get away without a few bodies dropping. But despite this, they get away with the swag. Seven million. Enough to change their lives, make new identities, start fresh. But that’s when the real trouble begins

In this unique, riveting, linked anthology, we follow each member of the crew of culprits as they go their separate ways after the heist, and watch as this perfect score ends up a perfect nightmare. Featuring stories penned by acclaimed writers Brett BattlesGar Anthony HaywoodZoë SharpManuel RamosJessica KayeJoe Clifford, and David Corbett, CULPRITS examines what happens next to these criminals once they take their cut and go their separate ways, only to find that the end of the heist was the beginning of their troubles.

The anthology came out from Polis Books in February of 2018 and picked up some great reviews.

As it turns out, that wasn’t all it picked up.

Yesterday, I got another of those out-of-the-blue emails that put a different perspective on your whole day. Richard wrote to us all to point us in the direction of an announcement in Variety, and The Hollywood Reporter that CULPRITS is on its way to the small screen as a series for Disney+UK.

“BAFTA-winning writer Sally Wainwright (‘Happy Valley’, ‘Gentleman Jack’), ‘Killing Eve’ producer Sally Woodward Gentle and producers Faith Penhale (‘Les Miserables’) and Stephen Garrett (‘The Night Manager’) are among the creatives behind Disney Plus’ first scripted slate out of the U.K.”

“Star Original ‘Culprits’ is a dark comedy heist series from filmmaker J Blakeson (‘I Care A Lot’, ‘The Disappearance of Alice Creed’). The show follows what happens after a heist, when the crew have gone their separate ways, but are being targeted by a killer one-by-one. Created and directed by Blakeson, the series is executive produced by Garrett and produced by Morenike Williams (‘Killing Eve’). Culprits is a Character 7 production.”

Noting that work began on ‘Culprits’ a couple of years ago, Garrett said, “We are immensely proud that Disney Plus have decided to make it one of their platform-defining shows. The additional thrill for me is that I’m working with a writer-director at the very top of his game.”
The Heist, it seems, really was only the beginning. I’ll be watching with interest to see what they make of our efforts.


This week’s Word of the Week is scurryfunge, meaning to hastily rush round tidying the house because company is on the way over.