Being the author of the best-selling book series in history certainly has its perks, but Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling understandably felt a wee bit of pressure when it came to delivering a worthy second act.
That’s partly why she opted to write the books that followed under a pseudonym, using the moniker Robert Galbraith to secretly pen The Cuckoo’s Calling, the first of three novels (so far) to feature a London private detective named Cormoran Strike.
Since Rowling was revealed as the real author by The Sunday Times, the Cormoran Strike novels – The Cuckoo’s Calling, The Silkworm, and Career of Evil – have become global bestsellers, which made it unsurprising when BBC One announced plans to adapt all three into a 7-episode series.
That series, C.B. Strike, is finally making its way across the pond this summer after its U.K. bow last year, with a June 1 premiere date on Cinemax. EW has an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the series, in which Rowling, who executive-produced, expounds on her motivation for using the Galbraith pseudonym.
“I had thought about writing crime for years before I wrote The Cuckoo’s Calling,” says Rowling. “I just wanted to go back to the beginning – I just wanted it to be about the writing, and I had this dream I might be able to get three books out under the pseudonym before anyone realized it was me. The pseudonym was just a way of disconnecting myself from all of the baggage that comes with being me.”
The video also explores the series’ focus on both Strike (played by Tom Burke), an ex-military private investigator in the old-fashioned gumshoe vein of Columbo, and his new assistant, Robin Ellacott (Holliday Grainger).
“Robin is the most purely lovable character I’ve ever written,” Rowling gushes.
C.B. Strike is unmistakably British in execution, set along the narrow alleyways of Denmark Street and within the commotion of London marketplaces. Rowling ensured the show’s setting was brought to life with as much authenticity as the Harry Potter films’ wondrous wand shops and magicked school corridors.
“I really enjoy the fact that these books are grounded in the real world,” she explains. “And I was sent to an office in Denmark Street years ago, and I was only there a week, and I loosely based Strike’s offices on that place, where I temped.”
For more, watch the sneak peek above and see the exclusive key art above. C.B. Strike premieres Friday, June 1 at 10 p.m. ET on Cinemax.