NBC has nabbed a legal drama starring and executive produced by Gotham‘s Morena Baccarin. The project hails from Tony Krantz and his Flame Ventures, ITV Studios America and former Numbers showrunner Ken Sanzel.
Baccarin is doing the project with the blessing of Gotham producer Warner Bros. TV. She will leave the Fox drama as a regular only if her NBC project goes to series, in which case she will continue on Gotham as a recurring.
Written by Sanzel, the untitled NBC drama, which has a script commitment, is described as “The Good Wife meets The Wire.” It tells the story of Morena (Baccarin), a former police officer-turned-high-powered attorney who navigates the ever-changing landscape of New York City politics, law enforcement and the justice system, all while juggling a complicated personal life. Morena works for a law firm that defends New York police officers in a wide range of cases.
The project started with Elliot Halpern of Yap Films, a Canadian production company specializing in documentaries and unscripted TV series. Halpern has a childhood friend — a defense attorney who has been representing cops in internal investigations — and felt that was fertile ground for a scripted TV series. He called another friend, talent manager/producer Sarah Jackson of Seven Summits, and the two reached out to Jackson’s client, Baccarin, who immediately responded to the idea. The project was set up at Krantz’s Flame Ventures, and Krantz and Baccarin brought in Sanzel to write and executive produce. Sanzel is bringing an insider perspective, having worked as a NYC Transit cop and detective for 10 years before segueing to writing.
“I sparked to it given my background as a cop, and the current climate,” Sanzel told Deadline. “It’s an opportunity to look at the hot-button issue of police misconduct from a realistic and less dogmatic POV; examining cops as human beings — sometimes right, sometimes wrong, too often victims of the NYPD’s Byzantine internal politics.”
While the subject matter was intriguing, the biggest draw for Sanzel was “the opportunity to build a complicated lead character for Morena — a lawyer who masters the corridors of power as adeptly as the courtroom, whose central role in controversial cases makes her a burgeoning NYC celebrity, and whose up-from-bootstraps past has her wrestling with her shifting identity,” he said.
Krantz executive produces alongside Baccarin, Sanzel and Halpern. Co-executive producing are Drew Comins of Flame Ventures, Jackson and Yap Films’ Elizabeth Trojian.
Baccarin, repped by UTA, plays Leslie Tompkins on Gotham, where she has been a regular since Season 2 after starting off as a recurring. Prior to that, Baccarin co-starred on Showtime’s Homeland, earning an Emmy nomination. Her series credits also include cult favorite Firefly, V and The Flash. In features, she recently co-starred in blockbuster Deadpool.
This marks producer-director Krantz’s return to NBC where he executive produced the series Dracula. He is repped by CAA. Sanzel, who also did stints on CBS’ New York cop drama Blue Bloods and NBC’s Ironside, is repped by ICM Partners; Yap is with Gersh.