Malaysian crime novel 21 Immortals: Inspector Mislan & the Yee Sang Murders has been optioned for a television adaptation by UK production company Envision Entertainment.
The adaptation was confirmed by the company’s Chief Content Officer, Michael Nakan, who expressed full endorsement of the upcoming project. Nakan was quoted by World Screen, saying: “Thanks to the uniquely creative writing of Rozlan Mohd Noor, I am delighted we have the opportunity to bring Inspector Mislan to the television audience.”
Published in 2010 by Malaysia’s Silverfish Books, Rozlan Mohd Noor’s novel revolves around protagonist Inspector Mislan’s discovery of a triple homicide case involving the embalmed corpses of a family of three – a father, mother and their 10-year-old son – being found seated around their dining table, set with a traditional Chinese New Year meal. Inspector Mislan’s investigations then reveal the male victim’s ties to an infamous gang, 21 Immortals, and the corruption which permeates the local policing system.
Envision Entertainment director David Barron was also quoted, saying that reading the novel for himself made him realise Inspector Mislan’s “enormous” on-screen potential, saying, “Optioning the books has been the first step in bringing this gritty Malaysian cop to life on-screen.” On the character, Nakan added: “The Inspector Mislan character is perfect for television; he is a gritty, seemingly incorruptible Malay Muslim street cop who brooks no opposition, from the criminal mafia or his superiors.”
The UK company expressed wishes to assemble a pairing of Malaysian and British writers or filmmakers to bring the project to fruition, in order to create “high-quality, authentic content that works for both local and global audiences”, as Nakan states.
A production schedule or release date has yet to be announced, nor has the show’s cast.
21 Immortals was Rozlan Mohd Noor’s debut English-language novel, and the first in his series of Inspector Mislan books. The series has six books to date, the latest being Philantropists: Inspector Mislan and the Double Sentul Murder, released in 2020. Prior to his writing career, Rozlan served for 11 years as a crime investigator with the Royal Malaysia Police and a court prosecutor.
The joint Malaysian-British television adaptation is the latest announcement of an international on-screen collaboration involving Malaysia. Earlier this month, Malaysian film producers Hundred Years Popcorn Production confirmed that it would be developing a durian-themed action adventure film, The Lord Musang King, with South Korean film director Lee Moon Ho and actors Kim Bo Yeon and Kwak Dong Hyuk.