Monday means it's time for the latest wrap-up of crime drama news:
The Directors Guild of America handed out its annual awards on Saturday evening. Several crime dramas were among the nominees, but only one ended up winning its category, Steven Zaillian for HBO's The Night Of, which is based on the BBC series Criminal Justice and stars John Turturro and Riz Ahmen in a story about a complex NYC murder case.
Paramount Pictures has acquired the Stephan Talty book The Black Hand as a starring vehicle for Leonardo DiCaprio. The book is based on the real-life story of Joe Petrosino, a courageous NYPD cop who unflinchingly went after a ruthless gang that came out of Italy and into America (whose calling card was a black hand) which kidnapped people and then extorted money from their families. The Black Hand existed in the U.S. in the late 1890s and early 1900s and were considered the precursor of the American mafia.
Lionsgate has picked up international rights for the action thriller Hotel Artemis, starring Jodie Foster. Drew Pearce is making his directorial debut on the future-set project that sees Foster play a nurse who runs an underground hospital for Los Angeles' most sinister criminals and finds that one of her patients is actually there to assassinate another. Pearce, whose previous writing credits include Mission: Impossible, Rogue Nation, and Iron Man 3, is also writing the script for the project.
Colin Farrell is in talks to join Denzel Washington in Dan Gilroy’s legal drama Inner City. Washington plays a liberal lawyer named Roman J. Israel who suddenly takes on the role of the law firm’s frontman when his partner has a heart attack and soon discovers secrets of the law firm. Farrell would play another attorney in the firm.
Viola Davis and Julia Roberts are set to star in a new drama about white supremacists, an adaptation of the book Small Great Things from author Jodi Picoult. Davis, who is also favorite to win the best supporting actress Oscar for her role in Fences, will play a nurse who is told not to touch the newborn baby of a white supremacist couple. But when the baby dies, she is taken to court and accused of murder. It's not known yet which role Roberts will play, but it’s likely to be the public defender who takes on the case.
Zoe Saldana is set to star in the action-thriller Hummingbird as a female black-ops assassin. Described as in the vein of Lucy, the story follows an assassin whose latest mark forces her to confront her true identity.
Gerard Butler has mounted the action film Snow Ponies, the directorial debut from Darrin Prescott. The story follows a crew of men who travel across difficult terrain to deliver a mysterious package, but are forced to choose between survival and honor when they face brutal obstacles and bandits along the way.
Liam Neeson has signed on to star in the revenge thriller Hard Powder. Set in the Rocky Mountains, Neeson will play Nel, an upright snowplow driver who is awarded a Citizen of the Year prize by his glitzy Colorado ski town. His life takes a drastic turn when his son is murdered by a powerful local drug kingpin. Nel’s vengeance causes a relentless battle between Native American mafia boss and the deadly gangster known as a Viking.
Academy Award-nominated Hacksaw Ridge director Mel Gibson is re-teaming with the film’s co-star Vince Vaughn for the upcoming gritty thriller Dragged Across Conrete, written and directed by S. Craig Zahler. This time, Gibson will be in front of the camera playing an old guard policeman to Vaughn's volatile younger partner, Anthony. The duo find themselves suspended when a video of their strong-arming tactics makes its way to mainstream media and soon descend into the criminal underworld to gain their just due.
Antoine Fuqua has decided not to take on director duties for Universal’s Scarface remake, stepping aside to focus on a sequel to 2014’s The Equalizer (Fuqua directed the first Equalizer movie which starred Denzel Washington and spent considerable time developing a follow-up). Universal is still planning on a spring start for Scarface which stars Diego Luna (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), in the tale of the rise and fall of a Latino gangster in Los Angeles. Previous versions of the crime drama include the 1932 original starring Paul Muni and a 1983 remake starring Al Pacino.
The Ocean’s 8 cast is ready to roll in the first official image from the upcoming heist film.
A first look was also released for the adaptation of The Snowman, based on the crime novel by Norweigian author Jo Nesbø. The film stars Michael Fassbender as brilliant but unorthodox Detective Harry Hole, with Rebecca Ferguson also playing his smart rookie partner Katrine Bratt.
Black-ish creator Kenya Barris has been given the greenlight by ABC for the pilot Unit Zero, an action dramedy starring Toni Collette as a brilliant but unassuming CIA engineer and single mom as she leads a team of desk jockeys into the field as secret agents. Overlooked in the workplace, their invisibility makes them perfect for the CIA’s most covert missions. ABC also announced at the same time that the network was picking up the thriller drama Salamander, based on a Belgian format, from writer-producers Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec, Jeff Pinkner and Scott Rosenberg (CBS’ Zoo).
ABC is also moving forward with Las Reinas from executive producer Mark Gordon (Quantico) and writer Dean Georgaris. Las Reinas, originally developed at ABC in October 2014, revolves around Detective Sonya De La Reina, who is forced to confront her past when a case compels her to reconnect with her estranged family, the most powerful criminal outfit in Miami.
CBS has given a pilot order to an untitled drama from House executive producer and Bull co-creator Paul Attanasio and Blue Bloods executive producer Leonard Goldberg, which follows the multi-generational members of a Mexican-American family with deep roots in San Diego that intertwine personally and professionally due to their powerful careers in law enforcement.
CBS also ordered an untitled drama pilot about a team of investigators who specialize in hate crimes, described as "The Good Wife meets Homicide." The project will follow an elite team of investigators for the Northeast Regional U.S. Hate Crimes Unit, who solve a myriad of crimes against humanity as they confront their own biases. Noted journalist Katie Couric, who recently produced the gun control documentary Under the Gun, will serve as an executive producer on the pilot.
Busy CBS has given another pilot order to S.W.A.T., a drama series inspired by the 2003 Sony movie that was in turn based on the 1975 TV series. Written by Sleepy Hollow alum Thomas with Fast & Furious helmer Lin set to direct, S.W.A.T. is described as "an intense, action-packed procedural following a locally born and bred S.W.A.T. lieutenant torn between loyalty to the streets and duty to his fellow officers when he’s tasked to run a highly-trained unit that is the last stop for solving crimes in Los Angeles."
A comedic procedural CBS show is also in the pipeline. Titled Brothered Up, the multi-camera buddy cop comedy centers on an emotionally guarded African-American cop who is partnered with an emotionally available Pakistani cop and they are forced to find a way to connect as they patrol a Detroit neighborhood.
It looks like the reboot of LA Law is becoming a reality. The project, from L.A. Law co-creator Steven Bochco and one of the series’ original writers, Billy Finkelstein, was developed in-house at 20th Century Fox TV and was recently taken out as a spec. The project will target broadcast, cable, and streaming networks. Fox also ordered Sheldon Turner’s Controversy, which follows the junior counsel of a prestigious Illinois university which must deal with an out-of-control scandal when a young co-ed accuses several star football players of sexual assault.
A&E has extended its reality police docuseries Live PD with an order for 13 more episodes, bringing the Season 1 total to 21 episodes. The show also quickly established itself as an awards contender, landing a Directors Guild Award nomination in the Reality Programs category.
A&E also announced the renewal of another reality program, its groundbreaking docuseries 60 Days In, for another two seasons. The upcoming season the show will head to Atlanta where nine average individuals will go undercover as felons in the Fulton County jail, which is regarded as one of America's most dangerous prisons.
The series based on Stephen King's novel Mr. Mercedes has rounded out its list of cast members for the the AT & T Audience Network show that will run for 10 episodes in the fall. Brendan Gleeson (Harry Potter) leads as Detective Bill Hodges, along with Harry Treadaway (Penny Dreadful) as Brady Hartsfield. The show follows a demented killer who taunts retired police detective Hodges with a series of lurid letters and emails, forcing the ex-cop to undertake a private, and potentially felonious, crusade to bring the killer to justice before he is able to strike again.
The Sopranos star Edie Falco has been tapped to play famed defense attorney Leslie Abramson on NBC’s upcoming Law & Order: True Crime — The Menendez Murders. The eight-episode anthology series will focus on Lyle and Erik Menendez, brothers who were convicted in 1996 of murdering their parents. Abramson represented Erik Menendez in both trials and claimed the brothers had suffered a lifetime of abuse from their parents.
A digital adaptation is being developed of the YA drama The Dead Girls Detective Agency based on the HarperCollins book written by Suzy Cox. The project is a who done it, coming-of-age love story about a young Manhattanite who wakes up in a glamorous hotel to discover that she’s dead, apparently in purgatory. Her only hope of passing to the other side may be in solving the mystery of her own murder with the help of others like herself.
It's now official: the female-skewing cable network Oxygen will change its focus and branding next summer as a crime-focused network. In addition to adding a pair of new unscripted shows, the network has picked up a revival of Law & Order mastermind Dick Wolf's Cold Justice, which was quietly dropped at TNT
Hawaii Five-0 is set for a crossover with another CBS drama, the freshman hit MacGyver, on March 10. The crossover will follow MacGyver and his team to Hawaii where they end up partnering with the Five-0 crew to save a group of government scientists who've gotten stuck in a building that's very close to collapsing following an earthquake.
A&E has released the first teaser for the final season of Bates Motel including two images of Rihanna as Marion Crane, the role originally played by Janet Leigh in the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock film Psycho. She joins Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga, who star as Norman Bates and his twisted mother.
The first official picture from BBC One's upcoming thriller McMafia was released. The show stars James Norton as the English-raised son of Russian exiles with a mafia history who's spent his life trying to escape the shadow of that criminal past, building his own legitimate business and forging a life with his girlfriend Rebecca (Juliet Rylance).
The crew behind the popular Serial podcast is launching another new true crime show titled S-Town, which debuts in March. This time, the focus is on an Alabama man asking for a reporter to investigate the son of a wealthy family who had allegedly been bragging that he got away with murder.
The New Hampshire Public Radio Booklist podcast welcomed author Lisa Gardner to talk about her writing and new novel Right Behind You, which features FBI profiler Pierce Quincy
The latest Crime and Science Radio's featured guest was Douglas White, who leads the National Software Reference Library project for the National Institute of Standards and Technology and is an expert on digital forensics.
Debbi Mack's Crime Cafe welcomed Wisconsin crime fiction author Allan Ansorge to talk about his series featuring Chief of Detectives Victor Verie.
Crime fiction author and substance abuse counselor Daniel Vlasaty visited on Noir on the Radio talking about his books Amphetamine Psychosis, Only Bones, and A New and a Different Kind of Pain.
Steve Cavanagh and Luca Veste, hosts of Two Crime Writers and a Microphone, chatted with SJI Holliday about the third novel in her Banktoun trilogy, The Damsel Fly, and Ali Karim also recommended a host of new books.
Calgary's Vertigo Theater continues its Mystery Series with a stage adaptation of Wait Until Dark, based on Frederick Knott’s classic thriller about a blind woman living in New York City’s iconic Greenwich Village who finds herself terrorized by con men until she discovers her blindness might just prove to be her secret weapon. The show runs through February 19.
Chicagoland's Hammond Community Theatre will present Act of the Imagination, the play by Tony-nominated playwright Bernard Slade. The story follows mystery writer Arthur Putnam, who's just penned a new novel about a married man having an affair who's afraid someone is trying to kill him. Putnam has based the character on himself, but denies to his suspicious wife and editor that he's having an affair like his protagonist. But when a woman who claims to be the lover in the story shows up and threatens Putnam with blackmail, the mystery deepens.