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Masterpiece Mystery! Zen: Vendetta

Airs Sunday, July 17, 2011 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Rufus Sewell as Aurelio Zen

What does an honest cop do when his bosses are on the side of the lawbreakers? Outwitting prosecutors, politicians, mobsters, and run-of-the-mill kidnappers and killers, Detective Aurelio Zen brings justice to modern-day Italy, whether the authorities want it or not, on "Zen," a trio of spellbinding cases based on the bestselling novels by Michael Dibdin.

Rufus Sewell as detective Aurelio Zen as seen in the episode "Zen: Vendetta."
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Above: Rufus Sewell as detective Aurelio Zen as seen in the episode "Zen: Vendetta."

Caterina Murino as Tania Moretti, and Rufus Sewell as detective Aurelio Zen in "Masterpiece Mystery! Zen"
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Above: Caterina Murino as Tania Moretti, and Rufus Sewell as detective Aurelio Zen in "Masterpiece Mystery! Zen"

Rufus Sewell ("Middlemarch") stars as Zen, a Roman police detective hailing from Venice, where "Zen" is a local shortening of the name Zeno. Separated from his wife and living with his mother, he is too frazzled by his job to think about romance. That is, until he meets Tania Moretti (Caterina Murino), his chief's new secretary.

Three new episodes airing in 2011, "Vendetta" (July 17), "Cabal" (July 24) and "Ratking" (July 31), showcase an international cast including Ed Stoppard ("Upstairs Downstairs"), Ben Miles ("The Forsyte Saga"), Stanley Townsend ("Sherlock") and Greg Wise ("Return to Cranford").

"Vendetta" - A killer is on a vendetta-fuelled rampage against those who wrongly imprisoned him, including a cop who had almost nothing to do with it: Zen.

But Zen is too busy dealing with another crime—a politically-charged murder—to notice that he’s on the psychopath’s hit list. Ordered by his boss to nail the chief suspect in the murder case whether he is guilty or not and by a justice official to get the guy off, Zen is in a no-win situation—although he has won the heart of his officemate Tania Moretti. With so many distractions, can Zen solve the murder while keeping his job, staying alive, and getting to know Tania better?

Episodes of "Zen" will be available for online viewing beginning July 18, 2011.

Video

Series Preview: Masterpiece Mystery! Zen

Watch the full episode. See more Masterpiece.

Above: What does an honest cop do when his bosses are on the side of the lawbreakers? Outwitting prosecutors, politicians, mobsters, and run-of-the-mill kidnappers and killers, Detective Aurelio Zen brings justice to modern-day Italy, whether the authorities want it or not, on "Zen," a trio of spellbinding cases based on the bestselling novels by Michael Dibdin.

Video

Preview: Masterpiece Mystery! Zen: Vendetta

Watch the full episode. See more Masterpiece.

Video

Behind The Scenes: Masterpiece Mystery! Zen

Watch the full episode. See more Masterpiece.

Above: Take the multilayered, bestselling Aurelio Zen novels of Michael Dibdin, add in actor Rufus Sewell as a character he seems born to play, film it all in the dazzling streets of Rome, and there is no denying an extraordinary new series has been born. The stars and producers of "Zen" talk casting, chemistry and scripts in this behind-the-scenes video.

Video

Video Q&A: Sewell and Stoppard

Watch the full episode. See more Masterpiece.

Above: "Zen" stars Rufus Sewell and Ed Stoppard on the cool and complex character of Zen, life on the laid-back set and the chic style of the series.