EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that Julianne Nicholson (Boardwalk Empire, Law & Order: CI) has been cast as the female lead in Sundance Channel’s new drama series The Descendants. The project, which has a straight-to-series six-episode order, is described as a hard-hitting drama that revolves around Harold Jensen, a sheriff struggling to keep his family together while simultaneously policing two clashing communities: the small town where he grew up and the neighboring Ramapo Mountains, home of the Ramapo Mountain Indians. After a terrible tragedy and cover-up occurs involving the sheriff’s wife, Jean (Nicholson), an unholy alliance is forged between the sheriff and a dangerous member of the tribe that will come back to haunt all involved. Jean, an over-controlling and over-bearing recovering alcoholic who seems to suffer from dementia stemming from her alcohol use and the loss of her brother, goes on a rampage when she finds her daughter has run off with her new boyfriend. Nicholson, repped by CAA and Davien Littlefield, is a member of the star-studded cast of the John Wells-directed feature August: Osage County, which opens on Christmas Day. The Descendants is executive produced by writer Aaron Guzikowski, showrunner Bridget Carpenter and Sarah Condon.