Honour: The harrowing true story behind new ITV drama starring Keeley Hawes

Two-part drama explores the murder of Banaz Mahmod in 2006, and the police failings that took place before her death

Roisin O'Connor
Monday 28 September 2020 12:24 BST
Honour trailer

A crime drama that explores the real-life, so-called “honour killing” of 20-year-old Banaz Mahmod will begin tonight (Monday 28 September) on ITV.

Honour is a two-part drama that stars Keely Hawes as DCI Caroline Goode, the officer who investigated the disappearance of Mahmod in 2006.

Mahmod, an Iraqi Kurdish woman who lived in London, was murdered on the orders of her family after she left her abusive marriage for another man.

She went to the police seeking help prior to her death, after learning that her uncle planned to have her killed, but was not believed by the officers who interviewed her. One dismissed her as being manipulative and melodramatic.

It wasn’t until Banaz’s boyfriend, Rahmat Sulemani, reported her missing that police began to investigate. Sulemani took his own life in 2016.

Banaz Mahmod was killed in 2006 

Honour will focus on those police failings, and the investigation that was launched after her death.

Hawes, who also produced the series, told Radio Times that she felt a “huge responsibility” to ensure the re-telling was respectful.

“It is a privilege to be working on Honour… in a time when honour killings are still rife, it is critical to shine a light on such an important subject. Banaz Mahmod’s story, and DCI Goode’s subsequent investigation, is certainly one that needs to be told and I am proud to be a part of it,” she said.

Written by Vanity Fair’s Gwyneth Hughes, the series caused some controversy after Mahmod’s sister, Pyazee, said the script focused too much on DCI Goode’s story.

Apple TV+ logo

Watch Apple TV+ free for 7 days

New subscribers only. £8.99/mo. after free trial. Plan auto-renews until cancelled

Try for free
Apple TV+ logo

Watch Apple TV+ free for 7 days

New subscribers only. £8.99/mo. after free trial. Plan auto-renews until cancelled

Try for free

“It doesn’t really sit too well with me that that’s the angle they chose to go with because that’s not Banaz’s story, that’s somebody else’s story,” she told the BBC last year.

“This is about somebody who lost her life very tragically and it’s not about somebody getting to tell their story. I don’t believe that it’s honouring Banaz.”

However, after watching the series, she has told Radio Times that she feels it will help raise awareness around so-called “honour killings”.

A still from new ITV drama, 'Honour'

“I think being the sister of Banaz and feeling, even after 14 years, immense pain for the way my sister’s life ended and how she was let down by the police and so many others, I feel no matter who tells her story or how it’s told, it will always be painful to hear, because in a dream world Banaz would be telling her own story,” she said.

“Because of what I have dedicated my life to, campaigning and raising awareness on these issues, I am not focusing so much on the angle [from which] the story is told; what I can comfortably say is that I am pleased the conversation is being had, and that no matter who speaks about it, for me and those who loved Banaz, this conversation will always hurt.”

An estimated 5,000 “honour killings” happen every year worldwide, according to the UN, with an estimated 12-15 in Britain.

Both Payzee and Banaz were pushed into arranged marriages at the ages of 16 and 17, respectively. Payzee now works as a campaigner against child marriage, while a third sister, Bekhal, remains in hiding after giving evidence against her father at the trial.

Banaz Mahmod will be portrayed by newcomer Buket Komur, while Moe Bar-El will play her lover, Rahmat Sulemani.

Carnival Row star Waj Ali will play one of Mahmod’s killers, Mohamad Marid Hama.

If you are in the UK and are at risk or are concerned for someone that is, you can contact Karma Nirvana confidentially on 0800 5999 247 or go to its website

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in