The ambitious L.A. noir drama developed by The Walking Dead's Frank Darabont has landed a series order at TNT. The cable network has ordered six episodes of the untitled show, which stars Walking Dead alum Jon Bernthal as Joe Teague, an ex-Marine turned LAPD cop during the city's rough-and-tumble 1940s.
Exclusive: Frank Darabont on His New TNT Show and Leaving The Walking Dead
The show is based on the John Buntin book L.A. Noir: The Struggle for the Soul of America's Most Seductive City, which focuses on the battle between gangster Mickey Cohen and legendary L.A. police chief William Parker. Darabont (who mixes fictional and real-life figures from the era) takes a look inside the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles cops and villains in the 1947, the heyday of L.A. noir and scandals (such as the Black Dahlia). Darabont wrote and directed the pilot, which was shot earlier this year.
"I've loved noir my whole life, and I've always wanted to go into that area of storytelling. I'm a huge Raymond Chandler buff, which is actually why I grabbed this book off the shelf at LAX in the bookstore as I was about to get on a flight," Darabont told TV Guide Magazine earlier this year. "It seemed right up my alley. I read it on the flight, and then the following day after I couldn't put the darn thing down."
Former Walking Dead Producer Frank Darabont Develops New TNT Drama
Darabont first came up with the character of Joe Teague — and as soon as Bernthal could sign on, he did. "He's caught in that moral gray zone between the William Parkers of the world and the Mickey Cohens of this world," Darabont said of the character earlier this year. "And what a great, fun gray zone to be in. Caught, as he puts it, between the white hats and the black hats."
Another former Walking Dead castmember, Jeffrey DeMunn, plays Det. Hal Morrison, who heads up the LAPD's new mob squad; Jeremy Strong (Lincoln) is Det. Mike Hendry, Morrison's second in command; Neal McDonough (Desperate Housewives) stars as Capt. William Parker, Teague's boss; and Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes) plays Ned Stax, who fought alongside Teague during World War II but who now works as a lawyer with connections to the mob.
Ron Rifkin (L.A. Confidential) is also on board as Los Angeles Mayor Fletcher Bowron; Pihla Viitala (Tears of April) is Anya, the head bartender at Bunny's on Central Avenue; and Alexa Davalos (Clash of the Titans, The Mist) plays Jasmine, a woman with a mysterious past. Thomas Jane (Hung) guest stars as Bugsy Siegel in the pilot, while Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead) guests as comedian Hecky Nash.
"This series is an intense, exciting drama that takes viewers back to a truly fascinating time in the history of Los Angeles," says Michael Wright, president, head of programming for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies (TCM). "They have woven an engrossing tale of heroism in the face of greed and corruption."
Michael De Luca (The Social Network) and Elliot Webb (Tall Time Tales) executive produce with Darabont. TNT Original Productions is producing the show.
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