EXCLUSIVE: Leslie Glass’ popular April Woo series of suspense novels is headed to TV. CBS has bought a drama procedural based on the nine mystery books that hails from Denis Leary and Jim Serpico’s Apostle production banner and CBS TV Studios. Novelist and TV writer Amy Bloom, creator of the Lifetime series State of Mind, will write the script and executive produce the project with Leary and Serpico. Glass’ April Woo mystery series center on the title character, a brilliant young Chinese-American who becomes the first female head of detectives in Coney Island, New York. Raised in the traditions of modesty, good manners and quiet self-effacement, she is hardly a perfect fit to tackle Coney Island’s connected families, drug deals on the Boardwalk, feminist strippers, and corrupt politicians. The project stems from Apostle’s first-look deal with CBS TV Studios for network TV.
Developing a drama series with a female Asian lead is a major step in diversity for the broadcast networks. It follows CBS’ recent casting of black actors as the leads of three high-profile procedurals: LL Cool J on NCIS: LA, Laurence Fishburne on CSI and Forest Whitaker on Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior. It also comes on the heels of CBS’ sister network launching the first major drama series with an Asian actress as the title character, thriller Nikita starring Maggie Q. The April Woo series spans nine novels published over 12 years: Burning Time (1993), Hanging Time (1995), Loving Time (1996), Judging Time (1998), Stealing Time (1999), Tracking Time (2000), The Silent Bride (2002), A Killing Gift (2003), A Clean Kill (2005). Bloom and Apostle are repped by WME.