TNT has given a series order to Frank Darabont‘s period drama pilot L.A. Noir, which has been picked up for six episodes. Based on the book L.A. Noir: The Struggle For The Soul Of America’s Most Seductive City by John Buntin, the project chronicles the battle between Los Angeles Police Chief William Parker and mobster Mickey Cohen, a one-time boxer who rose to the top of LA.s criminal world. The series is a fast-paced crime drama set in Los Angeles during the 1940s and ’50s. It’s a world of glamorous movie stars, powerful studio heads, returning war heroes, a powerful and corrupt police force and an even more dangerous criminal network determined to make LA its West Coast base.
Darabont, who wrote and directed the pilot, is executive producing with Michael De Luca and Elliot Webb for in-house TNT Originals. Alissa Phillips of Michael De Luca Prods co-executive produces. “This series is an intense, exciting drama that takes viewers back to a truly fascinating time in the history of Los Angeles,” said TNT’s head of programming Michael Wright. “Frank Darabont, Michael De Luca and Elliott Webb have delivered an outstanding opening episode that evokes the time and place in stunning detail.”
LA Noir stars Jon Bernthal as Joe Teague, an ex-Marine now working as an LAPD cop in an era rampant with police corruption. Jeffrey DeMunn plays Detective Hal Morrison, who heads the LAPD’s new mob squad, with Jeremy Strong as Detective Mike Hendry, Morrison’s second in command. Neal McDonough is Capt. William Parker, Teague’s boss who is determined to weed out corruption and bring down Cohen. And Milo Ventimiglia plays Ned Stax, who fought alongside Teague during World War II but who now works as a lawyer with connections to the mob. The project also co-stars Ron Rifkin playing Los Angeles Mayor Fletcher Bowron, who makes it his mission to clean up corruption in city government; Pihla Viitala as Anya, the head bartender at Bunny’s on Central Avenue, the West Coast center of the black jazz scene; and Alexa Davalos as Jasmine, a beautiful woman whose past has come back to haunt her.
The series pickup for L.A. Noir comes more than 10 months after the network greenlighted the pilot as Darabont took a long time to complete the final cut. His approach to his series as auteur-driven projects may explain the shorter-then-usual six-episode order. Before L.A. Noir, Darabont developed, wrote, directed and ran the first season of AMC’s blockbuster zombie drama The Walking Dead, before exiting early into production on Season 2. The L.A. Noir order falls into TNT’s strategy to expand to year-round original programming. It joins another new series picked up this year, medical drama Monday Mornings, from David E. Kelley and Dr. Sanjay Gupta.