Written by ER alum David Zabel, Illusion of Justice is a fictional show reflecting the life of Jerry Buting, one of the lawyers for Steven Avery, who was profiled in the Netflix documentary Making a Murderer. The series is described as equal parts legal procedural and family drama, focusing on a husband and wife who balance raising their children with running a criminal defense firm specializing in underdog clients who face ostensibly insurmountable odds in the judicial system.
Zabel executive produces under his overall deal with Sony TV, along with Primary Wave’s Jeff Gaspin and Tony Sabistina. Buting and his wife/law partner Kathy Stilling are consulting producers.
In a preemptive bid, Primary Wave Entertainment struck a deal to option the television rights to the Buting book. The project was sold to Sony, who brought on Zabel as showrunner and writer and sold the series to ABC.
Illusion of Justice is Buting’s first book and is published by HarperCollins’ Harper imprint. Buting became known to fans of Netflix’s series Making a Murderer as one-half of Steven Avery’s defense team, joined by co-counsel Dean Strang.
This is the second broadcast TV sale for Jeff Gaspin and Primary Wave Entertainment. The company also is producing the Bad Boys spinoff with Gabrielle Union alongside Sony Pictures TV Studios and 2.0 Entertainment.
Harold Brook of The Point Media negotiated the deal on behalf of Primary Wave Entertainment. The book deal for Illusion of Justice was made with Steve Sheppard at CDAS LLP, Sterling Lord Literistic and Hotchkiss & Associates.