CBS is selling its new midseason drama Battle Creek as being the next project from Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan. And while it's not completely untrue, it certainly may give the wrong impression.
Gilligan wrote the script for Battle Creek — which tells the story of Detective Russ Agnew (Dean Winters) and his contentious relationship with FBI AgentMilton Chamberlin (Josh Duhamel) when the duo is forced to work together on a case — and pitched it to CBS 12 years ago. In fact, he admitted during a panel at the Television Critics' Association fall previews that it's been so long since he wrote it that he doesn't even remember how he settled on Battle Creek as the setting and title for the show.
Perhaps part of the optimism will come from the show's sense of humor, which is unusually prevalent in this hourlong drama. "It was a very funny script Vince gave me, and I want to carry that going forward," Shore said. "It's got to be grounded, it's got to be real, it's got to come from the characters. It's not a sitcom in any way, shape or form, but I'll be very proud if it's as funny as I think it is. ... You'll be scared at times, but you will have a stupid little grin on your face."
But that doesn't mean it won't be dark. In fact, Shore says Milton, who seems to have the perfect life, has a "dark inner core." Which is just fine with Duhamel. "The biggest challenge is to make this guy interesting and not so perfect and polished," Duhamel said. "It's harder to play a guy like this [if] he seems to be perfect. Nobody is that perfect. There are cracks in the façade that I saw in the original script. There's a reason why he ended up in Battle Creek."
And perhaps those flaws will be what ultimately keep Milt and Russ together as partners. "Conflict will always be there," Shore said. "There will always be friction. But Russ has to know that he is a better cop and gets better results with Milton by his side."
Will you watch Battle Creek?
(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS.)