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Angus MacFadyen to star in 'The Pinkertons' about the 19th Century detectives

Angus MacFadyen
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Deadline Hollywood reported on Wednesday that Angus MacFadyen, best known for playing the role of Robert the Bruce in Mel Gibson’s “Braveheart,” has be tapped to play Allan Pinkerton in a new series to be called “The Pinkertons.” The series will depict the adventures of Pinkerton, his son William, and Kate Warne, America’s first detective, as they solve crimes in the Wild West of the 1860s. MacFadyen’s role will be recurring because of his commitment to the Revolutionary War spy drama, “Turn.”

Pinkerton started his detective agency in 1850 after discovering a knack for investigative work surrounding a problem concerning his barrel making business. The Pinkertons developed some of the modern detective techniques, including the use of mug shots, surveillance, working undercover. Warne was hired on the idea that a female operative would be able to ferret out information where a male detective would not be able to venture. The first female police detective was not hired until the 1890s.

By the 1860s, the Pinkertons, besides their private detective work, often for large companies like the railroads, were serving the functions of both the modern Secret Service and the CIA. They provided President Lincoln’s protective detail and broke up at least one early plot to assassinate him. They established spy networks throughout the Confederacy.

After the Civil War, Prinkertons were involved in chasing down famous, Wild West outlaws such as Jesse James. Later they were hired by large companies to break up strikes and otherwise undermine the early labor movement. The company went into decline in the 20th Century as police departments adopted modern detective techniques and the FBI was established. Until it was bought by a rival in the early 21st Century, its main business was providing corporate and personal security. It currently operates as Pinkerton Consulting & Investigations, Inc., a subsidiary of a Swedish company, Securitas AB.