HBO Developing VA Hospital Limited Series From Eric Roth & Denis Johnson

HBO has in the works Unarmed, a limited drama series from Oscar winner Eric Roth and writer Denis Johnson, set at an Armed Forces medical center. Warner Bros. TV and Timberman/Beverly are producing the project, now in development, which is looking for a director in anticipation of a pilot order.

Unarmed centers on Amos Searl, a civilian psychiatrist new to his practice at an Armed Forces medical center that specializes in treating amputees and burn victims, critically wounded veterans just returned from America’s recent wars. A double amputee from life’s wars himself, Searl — a man who has always questioned authority — tries to make sense and give meaning to our soldiers, the young men and women who are trying, like him, to find their way home.‎

Roth originally sold the project, based on his own idea, to HBO. He then brought in Johnson, who is set to write all episodes if the project goes to series the way Nic Pizzolatto writes every episode of True Detective and Noah Hawley does on Fargo. Roth also reached out to prolific series producers Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly (Masters Of Sex, Elementary) with whom he had discussed collaborating. Since Unarmed is a limited series, the project didn’t interfere with the duo’s duties at CBS TV Studios, and Timberman and Beverly carved it out of their new overall deal there. The two will executive produce Unarmed with Roth and Johnson.

HBO recently picked up Steve McQueen’s limited series Codes Of Conduct after commissioning a pilot. The network’s drama pilot slate also includes Jenji Kohan’s The Devil You Know and Alan Ball’s Virtuoso.

Munich-born Johnson, a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, published his first book of poetry, The Man Among Seals, in 1969 at the age of 19, and his first novel, Angels, in 1983. His 1992 short story collection Jesus’ Son was adapted into the 1999 film of the same name, starring Billy Crudup, and his novel Tree of Smoke won the 2007 National Book Award for fiction.

Writer-producer Roth, whose credits include features Forrest Gump and Munich and series House Of Cards, also executive produces drama Berlin Station, just announced as one of Epix’s first original scripted series.

Johnson is repped by RWSG and Aragi; Roth and Timberman/Beverly are with CAA.

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