ABC Developing Legal Thriller From Marcia Clark & Mandeville TV

Coral von Zumwalt

ABC has put in development a drama from former O.J. Simpson prosecutor Marcia Clark, writer-producers Elizabeth Craft & Sara Fain (The 100), ABC Studios and studio-based Mandeville TV.

Penned by Clark, Craft and Fain, the untitled project is described as “part legal thriller, part confessional, part revenge fantasy.” It centers on a female prosecutor who loses the trial of the century and is shredded by the media in the process. The drama chronicles what happens when 8 years later the murderer who got off strikes again.

Clark, Craft & Fain executive produce with Mandeville’s David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Laurie Zaks.


The drama is fictional —  it’s a whodunit soapy, twisty thriller in the vein of Presumed Innocent and The Staircase that examines a fictional case from all sides of the law, going home with the characters and exploring how the case is affecting their lives. Still, its starting point draws parallels to Clark’s real-life story of a prosecutor who presided over “the trial of the century”, finding herself in the eye of a media storm when O.J. Simpson was found not guilty of murder.

Following his 1995 acquittal, Simpson in 2008 was convicted for a 2007 kidnapping and robbery and sentenced to 33 years in prison. He was recently paroled and is slated for release in the fall.

The ABC project reunites the creative team behind a legal drama procedural based on Clark’s novel Blood Defense. The project, also from Clark, Craft, Fain, Mandeville and ABC Studios, landed at NBC with a put pilot commitment last season. Mandeville TV also previously worked with Craft and Fain on the company’s ABC/ABC series The Family starring Joan Allen, on which they served as consulting producers under their overall deal at ABC Studios.

Clark served as a lead prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson trial, which was revisited last year by both Emmy-winning FX’s People vs. O.J. Simpson, where Clark was played by Sarah Paulson, who won an Emmy for her portrayal, and ESPN’s Oscar-winning documentary OJ: Made in America. She transitioned from a law to a writing career with a series of bestselling legal thriller novels featuring prosecutor Rachel Knight: The CompetitionKiller AmbitionGuilt by Degrees, and Guilt by Association

Fain and Craft are repped by WME. Clark and Mandeville TV are with UTA.

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