USA Network has given the green light to Prey, a two-hour movie starring Mark Harmon, as the cable network continues to expand its original programming portfolio beyond hourlong scripted series.

The film is based on the best-selling Prey series of novels by John Sandford. Harmon will play the central character in the books, Minneapolis Deputy Police Chief Lucas Davenport. The movie is based on the 10th of the 20 novels in the series, Certain Prey, in which Davenport goes against a lethal hit woman and a ferociously cunning killer determined to hunt him down. Chris Gerolmo (Citizen X) penned the script for the movie, which is slated to begin production in May. Jaffe-Braunstein Films is producing, with Michael Jaffe, Howard Braunstein and Harmon executive producing. “Mark Harmon could read the phone book and we’d probably want to put it on the air!” USA’s president original programming Jeff Wachtel quipped.

While Prey is being done as a one-off, with with 19 other books in the series, it could potentially turn into a movie franchise in the mold of Tom Selleck’s Jesse Stone series of films on CBS. Prey is the second original movie USA has greenlighted in the past six months after largely staying away from the genre for the past five years. The other movie, the  Burn Notice prequel Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe, premieres on April 17. Both Sam Axe and Prey are extension of signature USA franchises: its flagship series, Burn Notice, and its top off-network series, NCIS, which stars Harmon. But the movies are also part of USA’s new strategy of broadening its offerings with reality, half-hour comedy, movies and mini-series.

USA’s last true original movie was the 2005 Three Wise Guys. In 2008, the network ran the pilot To Love and Die as a movie as well as the outside production Bait Shop. And in 2007, USA aired its last mini-series for now, hit The Starter Wife.

Paradigm-repped Harmon recently signed a new two-year deal to continue on the hit CBS drama NCIS. John Sandford is the pseudonym of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and best-selling novelist John Roswell Camp.