Black Earth Rising

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Black Earth Rising
Also known asThe Forgiving Earth
Written byHugo Blick
Directed byHugo Blick
Theme music composerLeonard Cohen
Opening theme"You Want It Darker"
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series1
No. of episodes8 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
ProducerAbi Bach
CinematographyHubert Taczanowski
EditorJason Krasucki
Running time60 minutes
Production companies
  • Drama Republic
  • Eight Rooks Production
Original release
Release10 September (2018-09-10) –
29 October 2018 (2018-10-29)

Black Earth Rising is a 2018 British psychological thriller television miniseries written and directed by Hugo Blick, about the prosecution of international war criminals. The series is a co-production between BBC Two and Netflix. The show aired on BBC Two in the United Kingdom starting on 10 September 2018;[1][2] Netflix began streaming the show internationally outside the UK on 25 January 2019.[3]


The story centres on Kate Ashby, who works as a legal investigator in the London law chambers of Michael Ennis. When Kate's adoptive mother Eve takes on a case prosecuting a Rwandan militia leader, the story pulls Michael and Kate into a journey that will upend their lives forever.[4]



Series 1 (2018)[edit]

No.Title [7]Directed by [4]Written by [4]Original air date [7]UK viewers
1"In Other News"Hugo BlickHugo Blick10 September 2018 (2018-09-10)[8]2.27[9]
International criminal lawyer Eve Ashby agrees to prosecute Simon Nyamoya (Danny Sapani), a Rwandan general-turned-mercenary who has been extradited to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Her adopted daughter, Kate, is a refugee of the Rwandan genocide, and recognises Nyamoya as an important figure in ending the massacre. She struggles to come to terms with the decision and feels betrayed by her mother, and pleads with her to prosecute people responsible for the genocide instead. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, UN forces try to arrest war criminal Patrice Ganimana (Tyrone Huggins) but mistake another man for him, which results in one of their own men being killed instead.
2"Looking at the Past"Hugo BlickHugo Blick17 September 2018 (2018-09-17)N/A
Nyamoya's trial is brought to an early and bloody conclusion when he and Eve are assassinated. As Kate and Michael grapple with unfolding events, they are asked for help by Rwandan general Alice Munezero (Noma Dumezweni), an old friend who is arrested upon her return to Europe on suspicion of murdering a French priest in Rwanda in 1994. Acting as Alice's legal investigator, Kate heads to France in search of the truth and learns that the man she is accused of murdering may not even be dead.
3"A Ghost in Name"Hugo BlickHugo Blick24 September 2018 (2018-09-24)N/A
Kate continues her search for the truth and tries to flush out Father Patenaude (Pascal Laurent) by informing him of his mother's ill health. Back in London, Michael is about to go under the knife and Kate is unable to reach him for advice when she meets with a shady figure in the Paris catacombs. As Alice's case finally comes before the court, Brigadier General Lesage (Olivier Rabourdin) offers testimony which looks to stop the defence in their tracks – until Kate realises where she's seen him before.
4"A Bowl of Cornflakes"Hugo BlickHugo Blick1 October 2018 (2018-10-01)N/A
Patenaude's return results in the prosecution against Alice being dropped. Michael receives word that Patrice Ganimana is being treated for cancer in London, but soon clashes with an old rival, Blake Gaines (Hugo Blick) who has been assigned to represent him. But before Ganimana can be extradited to the ICC, Capi (Kathryn Hunter) informs Michael that the case is being withdrawn due to twelve key witnesses retracting their statements.
5"The Eyes of the Devil"Hugo BlickHugo Blick8 October 2018 (2018-10-08)N/A
Gaines falls foul of the secret parties funding his legal fees. Angered at Michael's instance of the inability to prosecute Ganimana, Kate offers to help out David Runihura (Lucian Msamati) as the Rwandan court of justice try to extradite him to stand trial in his own country. Kate also tries to locate a file written by her mother in 1997 to work out why Ganimana was not prosecuted at the time.
6"The Game's True Nature"Hugo BlickHugo Blick15 October 2018 (2018-10-15)N/A
7"Double Bogey on the Ninth"Hugo BlickHugo Blick22 October 2018 (2018-10-22)N/A
8"The Forgiving Earth"Hugo BlickHugo Blick29 October 2018 (2018-10-29)N/A


The series was commissioned as Black Earth Rising in 2017.[2] For some time during production it was known as The Forgiving Earth,[10] but it went back to its original title by April 2018.[4]

During a night shoot of a car stunt scene in Ghana, camera operator Mark Milsome was killed.[10]

The production used a private residence in Sevenoaks, Kent for some of the filming; the swimming pool of the residence doubled for a spa hotel in Paris.[11]

Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Steve Martin, George Wendt, Chevy Chase, Jim Belushi and Jason Alexander were all considered for the role of Michael Ennis before John Goodman was cast.


Critics were overwhelmingly positive. The miniseries has a score of 79% positive reviews on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, with the consensus: "Black Earth Rising is an exceptional political thriller, confronting relevant challenges and deep-seated geopolitical problems with storytelling verve and a wise refusal to provide any easy answers."[12]


  1. ^ "Netflix Boards BBC Drama 'Troy' From 'Night Manager' Writer". The Hollywood Reporter. 1 March 2017. Archived from the original on 23 January 2020. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Netflix Invests Nearly $2 Billion in European Productions, Promises More". Variety. 1 March 2017. Archived from the original on 1 March 2017. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  3. ^ Petski, Denise (11 December 2018). "'Black Earth Rising' Drama Series Sets Netflix Premiere Date". Deadline. Archived from the original on 15 December 2018. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s White, Peter (30 April 2018). "John Goodman & Michaela Coel To Star In Netflix & BBC Drama 'Black Earth Rising'". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 3 May 2018. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  5. ^ "Black Earth Rising – Eunice Clayton – BBC Two". BBC Programmes. BBC. Archived from the original on 6 October 2018. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  6. ^ "Black Earth Rising – Patrice Ganimana – BBC Two". BBC Programmes. BBC. 10 September 2018. Archived from the original on 6 October 2018. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Black Earth Rising Episodes Guide and Summaries". Next Episode. Archived from the original on 9 September 2018. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  8. ^ Munn, Patrick (29 August 2018). "BBC Two Sets Premiere Date For 'Black Earth Rising'". TV Wise. Archived from the original on 9 September 2018. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  9. ^ "Four-screen dashboard | BARB". Archived from the original on 2 February 2019. Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  10. ^ a b "UK Camera Operator Dies Filming Stunt Scene for BBC, Netflix Drama". The Hollywood Reporter. 20 November 2017. Archived from the original on 20 November 2017. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  11. ^ "Black Earth Rising". Kent Film Office. 2018. Archived from the original on 18 October 2018. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  12. ^ "Black Earth Rising". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 1 May 2021.

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