EXCLUSIVE: CBS has bought a drama based on Edgar-winning author Meg Gardiner’s novel UNSUB. The project was picked up by CBS Television Studios earlier this year, ahead of auction. The book was published in June by Dutton. The network has ordered a pilot script to be written by Liz Friedman, who will be executive producer and showrunner, and who co-created ABC’s Conviction and co-wrote the pilot to Orange Is The New Black. Latter got her an Emmy nomination. Friedman was also an executive producer on Marvel’s Jessica Jones, and writer and senior producer for almost the entire run of both House and Elementary.
The project will be developed by Carl Beverly and Sarah Timberman, who’ll serve as executive producers through their studio-based Timberman-Beverly Productions banner, and Shane Salerno through The Story Factory. The author, who has spent years researching celebrated unsub cases, will also serve as a producer. Beverly and Timberman’s CBS/CBS Studios drama Seal Team just got a full-season pickup.
UNSUB follows a female detective on the trail of an infamous serial killer – inspired by the still-unsolved Zodiac case – who breaks his silence and begins killing again. The detective, who grew up watching her father destroy himself and his family as he chased the killer, now finds herself confronting the same monster her father never caught. The series will feature the lead character pursuing other UNSUBs (UNknown SUBjects, a law enforcement term used for suspects in a criminal investigation) as part of the NYPD’s elite homicide division.
The second book in the series, Into The Black Nowhere, is set to publish in early 2018, and was inspired by serial killer Ted Bundy. Dutton/Penguin House bought the first two books in the series just before UNSUB went to auction last year. Foreign rights are now being sold for both books.