ABC has given a formal pilot order to New York Undercover, a contemporary reboot of Dick Wolf’s 1990s series, from Wolf and Hand of God creator Ben Watkins. Anthony Hemingway (Underground, American Crime Story) has come on board to direct the pilot, produced by Wolf Films, Universal TV where the company is based, and ABC Studios.
New York Undercover, which had a pilot production commitment, joins another ABC pilot that reboots a 1990s New York cop drama in present day, NYPD Blue. Also like NYPD Blue, which is bringing back original cast members Kim Delaney and Bill Brochtrup, the new New York Undercover too is expected to feature cast members from the original series reprising their roles.
Written by Watkins based on a story by Wolf and him, New York Undercover picks up 20 years after the end of the original series that changed the face of TV cop dramas. It will follow detectives Nat Gilmore and Melissa Ortiz as they investigate the city’s most dangerous criminals from Harlem to Battery Park. Some cast members from the original series are expected to reprise their roles.
Wolf, Watkins and Hemingway executive produce with Wolf Films’ Arthur Forney and Peter Jankowski. The pilot will begin filming in early March in New York.
Created by Wolf and Kevin Arkadie, New York Undercover aired on Fox for four seasons, between 1994-1998. It starred Malik Yoba and Michael DeLorenzo as two undercover detectives in New York City’s Fourth Precinct. It was the first police drama on American television to feature two people of color in starring roles.
As a procedural, New York Undercover lends itself to being reinvented with new characters. Even the original series rebooted itself in the fourth and final season with a largely new cast joining Yoba and Season 2 addition Lauren Velez as the other series regulars exited.
Wolf already has a series order from NBC for a new Law & Order series, Law & Order: Hate Crimes, to launch next season, as well as a planted FBI spinoff pilot at CBS. He currently has veteran Law & Order: SVU and the three Chicago dramas on NBC and freshman FBI on CBS. This would be his first series on ABC since the 2003 Dragnet reboot, which aired for one season. He is repped by WME.
Watkins created and served as showrunner of Hand of God, which ran for two seasons on Amazon. He also executive produces Apple’s upcoming series Are You Sleeping. Previously, Watkins rose from staff writer to executive producer over the seven-season run of USA’s Burn Notice. He is repped by WME and Hirsch Wallerstein.
Prolific TV director and producer Hemingway last fall signed a first-look deal with Sony Pictures TV for his newly launched production company, Anthony Hemingway Productions. He most recently served as director and executive producer on USA’s The Purge and Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G.. Hemingway is repped by WME and attorney Tom Hoberman.