HBO is developing a drama series project written and directed by Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney that has Laura Dern attached to star and executive produce.

The untitled drama centers on a court-appointed psychiatrist (Dern) who must determine from her twisted yet humanizing diagnostic exchanges with death row inmates if they are sane enough to be killed by the state. Gibney is executive producing with Dern, while Jayme Lemons (Enlightened) serves as co-executive producer. Robert Kealing, an investigative and criminal justice reporter, is a consultant.

HBO logoThis marks the narrative debut of Gibney, who has emerged as one of the leading documentarians of the past decade with such films as the Oscar-nominated Enron: the Smartest Guys in the Room, Oscar-winning Taxi to the Dark Side and most recently, Steve Jobs: The Man In The Machine.

At HBO, he recently did the Emmy-winning Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief and Emmy-nominated Sinatra: All or Nothing at All. Gibney has tackled the topic of death row inmates in the CNN documentary series Death Row Stories.

“I am thrilled to be embarking on this dramatic journey with Laura and Jayme,” Gibney said. “It’s an opportunity to shine a light on a dark and brutal corner of our justice system with a series of illuminating conversations that explore the best and worst of what it means to be human.”

Dern has a long-standing relationship with HBO, earning Golden Globe awards and Emmy nominations for her roles in the network’s comedy series Enlightened and movie Recount. She next co-stars in HBO’s limited series Big Little Lies.