Cop's memoir about nearly botched Pickton case to become TV series
Kim Bolan
July 9, 2019
July 9, 2019 11:59 PM EDT
Lorimer Shenher’s 2015 book That Lonely Section of Hell will soon be making its way to the small screen as a limited series.
A memoir by a former Vancouver police detective who worked on the investigation into serial killer Robert Pickton is being turned into a TV show by Sarah Jessica Parker’s Pretty Matches production company.
Deadline.com broke the news last week that Lorimer Shenher’s 2015 book That Lonely Section of Hell would soon be making its way to the small screen as a limited series, co-produced by Toronto’s Conquering Lion Pictures.
Deadline quoted Parker’s long-time producing partner Alison Benson as saying that while the show falls into the “traditional true crime” genre, “it really is about the sex workers, and it’s anchored in the perspective of a transgendered detective who’s leading the investigation.”
Shenher told Postmedia on Tuesday that he is excited about the possibility of exploring some of the issues that arose during the flawed investigation into the disappearance of dozens of marginalized women from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
His 2015 book detailed the many police missteps in the investigation, including ignoring information about Pickton early on, resulting in more victims falling prey to the killer. And Shenher described his own battle with post-traumatic stress disorder from working on the troubling case.
He said the TV series would be fictionalized and that he doesn’t want a project that would re-traumatize victims’ families in any way.
Det. Lorimer Shenher in Burnaby, BC, July 9, 2019. Arlen Redekop / PNG
“There are definitely things about this story that need to continue to be told so that we can learn from it,” Shenher said. “But I felt like the details and the nitty-gritty horrors, and even speaking that man’s name anymore, I just wasn’t interested in giving that any juice.”
Pickton is serving a life sentence after being convicted in 2007 of killing six women who vanished from Vancouver streets. He is suspected of killing up to 43 others, many of whom were Indigenous women who were addicted and working in the sex trade.
Shenher said that while most Canadians are familiar with Pickton’s story, the series would look at some of the “greater issues around that world that we learned about from that story.”
“There are so many threads in this story that can be pulled and so many paths we could go down, and as a writer I was always continually struggling to keep myself on the path of telling the story in a way that would be logical and make sense to people. But I was very aware that there were so many fascinating avenues that I could have gone down or so many fascinating characters that I could have explored more in-depth, but the story wasn’t about any of those things,” Shenher said.
He expects those other avenues to be pursued in the new series, which will be written by producer and writer Jen Richards.
Shenher said the limited series format allows for better character development and more complex stories to be told.
Conquering Lion Pictures first optioned Shenher’s book four years ago, with Parker’s company coming on board about a year later.
He said the series would also draw on his second book: This One Looks Like a Boy, about his gender journey to life as a man.
The project is still in the early stages and Shenher said he doesn’t yet know when it would be ready to air.
But he does hope to remain closely involved as a consultant throughout.
“With the calibre of people involved, I feel like it is in very good hands and I feel quite confident that the story and subject and the missing women’s piece of it is going to be handled very respectfully and realistically. That was the most important thing to me.”
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