The First Trailer for 'Passenger' is a Headscratcher

Rowan Robinson as Katie Wells just before she disappears in 'Passenger'

Rowan Robinson as Katie Wells in 'Passenger'


It's been a while since American viewers heard anything about ITVX's Passenger (not to be confused with the Channel 4 series Passengers, which ended in the mid-aughts), confirmed in August 2023 to be debuting stateside on BritBox. ITVX included it in the end-of-year look ahead for 2024, confirming the series' debut was coming in the first half of the year. However, other than that, news has been pretty silent on the subject, almost as silent as the forest featured in the first trailer for the series, which is heavy on the dark thriller and light on the comedy. 

The horror vibe of the trailer is actually more in keeping with the show's original 2022 announcement when ITV revealed it had picked up the series from its debut script by actor-turned-screenwriter Andrew Buchan, best known in the U.S. for his turn in Broadchurch. Passengers' synopsis feels a bit Broadchurch-esque: small, close-knit town, lots of secrets, former London Met cop looking for redemption in solving a crime. However, when BritBox confirmed the series would stream stateside, with Wunmi Mosaku (Luther) as the series lead, retired detective Riya Ajunwa, and Rowan Robinson (So Awkward) as victim Katie Wells, the press release played up the "dark comedy" aspect of the show.

The trailer definitely has the dark part of that down. (Like so many prestige shows, there are times when you just want to yell at someone to turn on the lights so you can see what's happening on screen, for god's sake.) But other than maybe offering the passenger off the title a biscuit, there's not much funny happening here... unless by "funny," you mean "scary as all get out."

Here’s the series synopsis:

Set in the fictional small Northern town of Chadder Vale, Former Met Police Detective Riya Ajunwa investigates a series of strange and inexplicable crimes that have the townsfolk spinning on an axis. Riya arrived in decaying Chadder Vale five years ago when one night, local girl Katie Wells mysteriously disappears. The town barely has time to register her absence before she reappears the next day, apparently safe and sound. The townsfolk ask few questions, and normal life resumes. But for Riya, a relative outsider to the Chadder Vale way of life, none of this sits right. As a series of strange happenings and increasingly shocking crimes start unfolding within the town, the residents resort to short-sighted theories and blame outside influences such as the fracking site and its manager Jim Bracknell. As things become stranger, so the people push back on Riya’s absurd notion that something is not right with this town. But what are they so afraid of? 

Mosaku and Robinson will co-star with David Threlfall (Dodger), Jo Hartley (After Life), Sean Gilder (The Gold), and Debbie Rush (Brassic), Daniel Ryan (The Bay), Barry Sloane (Litvinenko), Natalie Gavin (Gentleman Jack), Nico Mirallegro (We Hunt Together), Hubert Hanowicz (This Is Going To Hurt), Jack James Ryan (Vera), Shervin Alenabi (Gangs of London), Ella Bruccoleri (Call The Midwife), Arian Nik (Van der Valk), and Matilda Freeman (Alma’s Not Normal).

Buchan penned all six episodes of Passenger with directors Lee Haven-Jones (The Long Call) and Nicole Charles (The Following Events are Based on a Pack of Lies) splitting helming duties. Buchan is also an associate producer via Northern Sister, part of Sister group, with executive producers Lucy Dyke and Simon Maloney for Northern Sister, Jane Featherstone for SISTER, and Reemah Sakaan and Stephen Nye for BritBox International.

Passenger will debut on ITVX in early 2024 and then follow on BritBox in the U.S.


Ani Bundel has been blogging professionally since 2010. A DC native, Hufflepuff, and Keyboard Khaleesi, she spends all her non-writing time taking pictures of her cats. Regular bylines also found on MSNBC, Paste, Primetimer, and others. 

A Woman's Place Is In Your Face. Cat Approved. Find her on BlueSky and other social media of your choice:

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