Melissa Leo To Headline Fox Pilot ‘Blood Relative’, Lifting the Cast-Contingency

photo: Leslie Hassler

Oscar winner Melissa Leo will play the lead in Fox’s drama pilot Blood Relative, lifting the cast-contingency on the pilot order.

Originally picked up as cast-contingent, Blood Relative is a forensic genealogy-themed crime drama from writer-producer Chris Levinson and producer Liza Chasin, Paramount Television Studios and Anonymous Content, which will co-produce with Fox Entertainment.

Blood Relative is based on James Renner’s 2018 article “Beyond the Jungle of Bad: The True Story of Two Women from California Who Are Solving All the Mysteries,” about Dr. Colleen Fitzpatrick and Dr. Margaret Press, who have combined their genealogy expertise to push the boundaries of forensic science and help law enforcement identify Joe and Jane Does and track down serial killers.

Written by Levinson and Renner and to be directe by Phillip Noyce, Blood Relative centers on genetic genealogy, the best new tool in crime scene forensics, and nobody knows it like Louise Kelly (Leo). Too bad she’s impossible to deal with.


Leo’s Lou Kelly is … difficult. With an IQ in the 190s, Lou wrote the book on genetic genealogy and can trace anyone if she has a viable tissue sample to play with – John and Jane Does, errant husbands, long-lost children, murderers in hiding, anyone with a secret life. But Lou has a habit of burning bridges as she goes. Sarcastic, sardonic, irritable and confrontational, she’s the smartest person in the room with no time to explain her methods to average folks. Except her little brother, John. It’s through working with her brother to solve the toughest of cases that secrets from their past will start to bubble to the surface. Threatening their relationship and their father’s legacy as a respected lieutenant, community leader and all around good guy. And maybe that’s exactly what will set Lou free.

Levinson and Renner executive produce with Noyce and Chasin via her 3 Dot Productions. The project stems from Levinson’s overall deal with Paramount TV, Chasin’s first-look TV deal with Anonymous Content and the first-look Anonymous and Paramount had for the past five years.

2020 Fox Pilots & Series Orders

An Oscar winner for The Fighter, Leo recently starred on the Showtime series I’m Dying Up Here, which ran for two seasons. She co-stars in HBO’s upcoming limited series I Know This Much Is True, headlined by Mark Ruffalo. Leo, who is currently working alongside Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer in the Netflix superhero comedy feature Thunder Force, is repped by Untitled and CAA.

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