Born and raised in Liverpool, La Plante trained for the stage at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). After finishing her studies, she began her career as an actress appearing with the Royal Shakespeare Company in a variety productions, as well as popular television series including Z-Cars, The Sweeney, The Professionals, Bergerac and Rentaghost.
In 1974 La Plante took her first scriptwriting job on the ITV children’s sitcom The Kids from 47A, but her breakthrough came in 1983 when she created and wrote the six-part robbery series Widows for Thames Television.
Following the overwhelming success of Widows, La Plante became a sought-after crime writer and subsequently signed her first book deal with Pan MacMillan. Her debut novel, The Legacy, was published in 1987 and received both critical and best-seller success. Her second, third and fourth novels came soon after – The Talisman (1987), Bella Mafia (1990) and Entwined (1993) – all of which became international best sellers.
In 1990 La Plante started working on her next television project, Prime Suspect, which was released by Granada in 1991. Prime Suspect starred Helen Mirren as DCI Jane Tennison, airing in the UK as well as on PBS in the United States. In 1993 La Plante won an Edgar Allen Poe Writer’s Award for her work on the series.
In 1993 La Plante formed her own television production company, La Plante Productions and through her new company she wrote and produced high-rating series The Governor (ITV), Supply and Demand, Killer Net (Channel 4), Mind Games (ITV) and acclaimed series Trial and Retribution and The Commander (ITV). During this period La Plante also released the Cold series of books; Cold Shoulder, Cold Blood and Cold Heart, followed by Sleeping Cruelty (2000) – adding to her list of best sellers.
In the United States La Plante co-wrote and executive produced The Prosecutors (1996 NBC) with Tom Fontana (starring Stockard Channing), wrote and executive produced Bella Mafia (1998 CBS), starring Vanessa Redgrave, which La Plante adapted from her novel of the same name. She Co-produced The Warden (2001 TNT), starring Ally Sheedy (a changed format of La Plante’s series The Governor) along with her adaptation of UK hit Widows (2002 ABC). La Plante also produced the pilot (based on her Cold series) of Cold Shoulder (2006 New Regency / CBS), starring Kelly McGillis and executive produced Daniel Petrie Jnr’s adaptation of her show Framed (2002 TNT) which starred Sam Neill and Rob Lowe.
In 2002, after completing the novel Royal Flush (2002), La Plante was meet with increased demand for her novels and found a new home with Simon & Schuster UK. Here she began working on her Anna Travis series, which includes Above Suspicion (2004), The Red Dahlia (2005), Clean Cut (2007), Deadly Intent (2008), Silent Scream (2009), Blind Fury (2010) and Blood Line (2011). Her latest novel Backlash was published in 2012 and continues La Plante’s run of internationally acclaimed best sellers. So successful were the books that a UK television series was written and produced by La Plante for ITV starring Kelly Reilly and Ciarán Hinds.