Following the end of his Showtime dark comedy series Californication, David Duchovny is reuniting with former Showtime topper Bob Greenblatt for Aquarius, a gritty 1960s cop drama at NBC about a cop who goes undercover to track Charles Manson and the Manson Family before their infamous murder spree. The project, envisioned as an event series, has received a 13-episode straight-to-series order. Aquarius was written by John McNamara, creator of the cult Fox series Profit. It will be produced by ITV Studios America and Marty Adelstein Prods in the first collaboration between the companies, which have been in lengthy talks about a joint venture-type of partnership, in which Marty Adelstein Prods would function as a mini studio under the ITV Studios America umbrella following Adelstein’s upcoming exit from his long-time studio home, 20th Century Fox TV. Aquarius marks the return to broadcast TV of Duchovny, who toplined Fox’s hit The X-Files, in which Greenblatt also was involved while at Fox.
Set in the late 1960s, Aquarius stars Duchovny as a Los Angeles police sergeant with a complicated personal life who starts tracking a small-time criminal and budding cult leader seeking out vulnerable women to join his “cause.” The man’s name is Charles Manson. The twists and turns of a complicated undercover operation will lead Duchovny’s character and his young partner to the brink of Manson’s crimes that eventually will lead to the Tate-LaBianca murders in subsequent seasons. “Event series are a big priority for us, and the combination of a show that charts the lead-up to the Manson murders, along with a television star of the magnitude of David Duchovny, is the very definition of an event,” said NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke. Added Greenblatt, “After being involved in the production of both The X-Files and Californication, it gives me great pleasure to work with David Duchovny for the third time on this compelling drama.” Aquarius joins another Charles Manson project, a limited series is in development at Fox with writer Bret Easton Ellis and director Rob Zombie.
McNamara will executive produce Aquarius with Duchovny, Adelstein, Duchovny’s manager Melanie Greene and Adelstein Prods.’ Becky Clements. The project stems from a script McNamara developed for FX a long time ago with Adelstein producing. Adelstein held on to the script, which had been excluded from his 20th TV deal. He recently revisited it, felt it would be perfect for Duchovny — who was becoming available post-Californication — and sent it to him. With Duchovny on board, the project was set up at NBC. Duchovny, who also is repped by Resolution and attorney Peter Nelson, had a recurring role on ABC’s Twin Peaks before starring for nine seasons as Agent Fox Mulder in the iconic series The X-Files. The seventh and final season of Californication premieres next month. Duchovny won Golden Globes for both The X-Files and Californication and has received four Emmy nominations, including two for The X-Files. On the feature side, WME-repped McNamara has Trumbo, about the life of Blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo, which has Jay Roach directing and Bryan Cranston starring.